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Market Snapshot: In turning rural Parrish to Silverleaf, developer kept trees in mind

Sarasota Herald-Tribune logo Sarasota Herald-Tribune 7/1/2022 Chris Angermann

Four miles east of I-75 and north of the Manatee River in Parrish, Silverleaf is an eye-catching community with large green preserves and dozens of lakes and retention ponds. The three entrances – south on U.S. 301, north on Old Tampa Road and west on Chin Road – all feature attractive landscaping around the signage walls and on the medians of the divided roadways leading to the entry gates.

Neal Communities, the prolific local new home company, which developed made sure to preserve as much of the natural environment as possible. Its president, Pat Neal, himself walked around the 263-acre property and identified the trees that would be saved.

As a result, Silverleaf has tall, majestic oak hammocks in several sections of the community with walking trails for residents to enjoy. Palm trees and abundant greenery grow throughout the community.

“We had a huge commitment to save trees,” Neal explained. “Silverleaf still has that beautiful North Manatee County feel.”

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In 2004, when Neal bought the former pasturelands, he may have had a hunch that Parrish would undergo rapid expansion at some point. Until then, the area had mostly equestrian neighborhoods and a sprinkling of secluded, gated communities. But he didn’t imagine that Silverleaf would mark a sea change in his building practices.

Homeowners association dues in Silverleaf range from $105 to $121 per month, depending on the home frontage. © THOMAS BENDER/HERALD-TRIBUNE Homeowners association dues in Silverleaf range from $105 to $121 per month, depending on the home frontage.

Getting approval for the platting of 700 or so lots took until 2010. By then, the real estate bubble had burst and the ensuing economic downturn hit new community development hard. Neal decided to change direction and offer an alternative to large-scale mansions – small, two-story cottages, ranging in size from 1,200 to 1,420 square feet of living space.

Silverleaf’s early homes were two-story cottages, priced at $138,000. That was 10 years ago. New homes in the community today start at $433,000. © THOMAS BENDER/HERALD-TRIBUNE Silverleaf’s early homes were two-story cottages, priced at $138,000. That was 10 years ago. New homes in the community today start at $433,000.

The idea was to appeal to families, retirees, and empty nesters whose children and grandchildren would visit. “We wanted an adult and kid friendly community,” Neal said, “so we set aside eight acres for recreation.”

In addition to a beautiful clubhouse with a workout room and resort-style swimming pool and spa, Silverleaf has a children’s playground, basketball courts, gazebos, picnic areas for outdoor grilling, a soccer field and two dog parks.

As of this writing, there were four resales on the market in Silverleaf, ranging in price from $391,000 to $589,000. © THOMAS BENDER/HERALD-TRIBUNE As of this writing, there were four resales on the market in Silverleaf, ranging in price from $391,000 to $589,000.

When Neal started construction in 2012, the cottages sold for $138,000 and were immediately popular, selling quickly. The company followed up by building paired villas and island-style inspired single-family homes.

“People got some really great deals at the beginning,” Neal remembered. “It was affordable housing until 2017. Then everything went up.”

Now, the company sells two- to four-bedroom homes ranging in size from 1,531 to 3,019 square feet under air, with base prices starting from $433,990 to $708,990.

“Silverleaf is vibrant and active,” said Carlos Puente, Vice President of Marketing at Neal Communities. “Anytime I go through the community – mornings or afternoons – I always see people walking around on the trails and sidewalks.”

A new home under construction in Silverleaf. The Neal Communities development in Parrish is just a short drive over the Fort Hamer Bridge from the northern reaches of Lakewood Ranch, and the Ellenton Premium Outlet Mall is minutes away. © THOMAS BENDER/HERALD-TRIBUNE A new home under construction in Silverleaf. The Neal Communities development in Parrish is just a short drive over the Fort Hamer Bridge from the northern reaches of Lakewood Ranch, and the Ellenton Premium Outlet Mall is minutes away.

Parents with children appreciate the close proximity of the district schools. Annie Lucy Williams Elementary, Buffalo Creek Middle, and Parrish Community High all lie within a 2.5-mile radius.

Nearby amenities include a Publix supermarket, banks and eateries at The Shops at Silver Leaf, located at the northeast corner of the community. The Ellenton Premium Outlet Mall is just five minutes away. UTC is only a 15-minute drive south on I-75.

Silverleaf, like many communities in East Manatee, occupies what until recently was pastureland. © THOMAS BENDER/HERALD-TRIBUNE Silverleaf, like many communities in East Manatee, occupies what until recently was pastureland.

It’s easy to get to Tampa and St. Petersburg, and south to Bradenton and Sarasota via the interstate highway. With the opening of the Fort Hamer bridge in 2017, access south to Lakewood Ranch has become convenient, too.

Homeowners association dues range from $105 to $121 per month, depending on the home frontage (33 feet and 40 feet). The villas, which are maintenance assisted, have dues of around $150 per month. In addition, there is a monthly CDD fee of around $100.

Construction continues in Silverleaf, but just 29 lots are still available for new construction. © THOMAS BENDER/HERALD-TRIBUNE Construction continues in Silverleaf, but just 29 lots are still available for new construction.

As of this writing, there were four resales on the market in Silverleaf, ranging in price from $391,000 to $589,000. Neal Communities is selling brand-new, quick move-in homes as well and continues to offer a wide variety of models for the empty homesites.

“We have only 29 lots left,” said Puente. “We’re in sellout mode now.”

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Market Snapshot: In turning rural Parrish to Silverleaf, developer kept trees in mind

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