109 FALL 2017 • ideal-LIVING
and were best known for co-founding the Jos. Schlitz
Brewing Company, the property evolved from timber
farming to other agricultural businesses. For decades, that
meant cattle ranching and citrus and vegetable farming.
In the late 1970s, the Uihlein family added aggregate
mining and other industrial and agricultural uses to the
It wasn’t until 1991, when the 600-acre Sarasota Polo
Club opened as one of America’s largest clubs, that SMR
leadership realized the coveted ranchland could start
taking on another sense of life.
Today, SMR which still has approvals for another
17,000 homes spanning prime Manatee and Sarasota
counties, has taken on an entirely new meaning of sustainability. Indeed, the SMR property, once known for
ranching, is now all about roo;ops and real estate. Rest
assured, however, SMR’s metamorphosis is far from the
ubiquitous roo;ops and real estate development that
seemingly dot Florida’s landscape from coast to coast.
Thoughtful Planning & Sustainability
Clearly, when SMR leadership ;rst envisioned Lakewood Ranch, the land’s 50-square-mile footprint could
accommodate nearly anything desired. But the family
leadership and landowner’s vision ensured the next chapter of the working ranch’s life cycle would be sustainable
for decades to come.
And the key to that success was the masterful residential development planning that started in 1983. ;e
thoughtful planning to be precise, like building all of the
infrastructure ;rst and planning for schools, medical
facilities, and recreation long before the population push
would make it look haphazard.
But what did this early master-planning really mean?
According to the Lakewood Ranch visionaries responsible for its development, it centered on three themes. First,
Lakewood Ranch’s ;rst models opened in February
1995 at Summer;eld Village, a neighborhood where
houses started at $89,000 for families interested in living at one of the area’s ;rst “a;ordable” master-planned
communities while commuting to nearby Bradenton.