The Hyatt Place Lakewood Ranch could be welcoming guests as early as January 2017.
Developers broke ground Wednesday on the five-floor, 122-room hotel at 6021 Exchange Way that will overlook Interstate 75 near the intersection of University Parkway. The Hyatt Place Lakewood Ranch is expected to attract a crowd of business and sports-related travelers with its location near Nathan Benderson Park, the Sarasota Polo Club and the corporate hubs in the area, said Steve Mullen, vice president of Floridays Development Co., the developer for the project.
Tourism officials also expect the 75,000-square-foot hotel to ease a room shortage in the Sarasota-Bradenton area.
“The changes that we’ve seen over the past 10 years are just phenomenal,” Mullen said. “It’s like the world has woken up and realized that Sarasota is a great place to be.”
The hotel will feature a restaurant and bar as well as an outdoor pool area with a bar, cabanas and fire pits, said Angus Rogers, president of Floridays Development Co. The Hyatt Place Lakewood Ranch is designed to give guests the feeling that they’re at a miniature resort, but will be priced competitively with the other hotels in the area, the developers said.
The property sits just north of a Fairfield Inn & Suites and not far from a Holiday Inn and a Hampton Inn & Suites. A Hilton Homewood Suites also is under construction near the Mall at University Town Center.
“This area, Lakewood Ranch, with all the growth that it’s experienced with the sports venues and the polo fields, it just makes sense for us that the number (of rooms) that we’re delivering is not too many for the market,” Rogers said.
Manatee County’s 6,200 hotel and motel rooms and Sarasota County’s 5,027 have an average occupancy rate of 95 percent during the tourism season. Sarasota County gained 139 rooms last month when Aloft, a Starwood property, opened in downtown Sarasota.
Sarasota County could add as many as 730 hotel rooms before the end of 2017. Manatee County tourism officials forecast 600 to 1,000 new hotel rooms there within the next three to five years. Pairing a hotel with the Bradenton Area Convention Center is high on the county’s wish list.
Floridays Development Co. plans to break ground this month on a Hilton Home2 Suites at U.S. 41 and Albee Road, about a mile from Nokomis Beach. That hotel could open its doors before the end of the year, Rogers said.
Meanwhile, Floridays has construction underway downtown on Hotel Sarasota. Rogers said the boutique-style hotel, which is near the Palm Avenue Garage, could be welcoming guests this time next year.
“It’s been under-served, but we’ve also been strategic about how we’ve located them around the county,” Rogers said. “As developers you pick the right brand for the right place at the right time.”