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Project manager Tom Charles admits to feeling good about the progress of the $32.69 million bridge project that will link Lakewood Ranch and Parrish, giving Manatee County another much needed north-south corridor.

The Fort Hamer Bridge is about one-fifth completed with 400 feet of two-lane concrete decking and sidewalks poured from the north terminus to pier 16. The bridge now arches toward an island in midstream, where it will eventually touch down before curving toward Upper Manatee River Road on the south shore. Despite the recent heavy rain challenges, the project should be completed by early 2017.

When completed, the bridge will have 19 piers. So far, four piers are completed with the fifth to be poured by month’s end when the contractor, Johnson Brothers Corp. of Hillsborough County, pauses for the holidays and returns January 4th. Before long, construction workers will be able to drive on the portion of road deck that has been completed, which will assist with the project.

For residents of The Islands, located immediately adjacent to the new Ft. Hamer Bridge along the Manatee River, the new bridge is life changing. This previously secluded paradise is one of the only places in Florida where you can still live in a gated community, on a half-acre+ homesite with a private boat dock in our backyard, priced from the $700s. The Ft. Hamer Bridge now opens the door to the surrounding area, eliminating 20 minutes of extra travel time to this pristine paradise.

The Islands is now ideally located within 5 minutes of Lakewood Ranch and a short driving distance to the coastal cities of Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

To preview the location of The Islands and learn more, click here.

Original Article

Backyard living doesn’t just mean swimming pools and patios anymore. With the growing focus on health and wellness, today’s homebuyers are demanding access to health/wellness and nature-based amenities.

As the largest generation to retire in five decades, the spending trends of Boomers continue to drive the economy. They have spent much of their lives in cars and offices and now want fresh air and walkable neighborhoods within easy reach of parks, beaches, shopping, dining, entertainment and culture.  New home communities like The Islands on the Manatee River on Florida’s Gulf Coast are just minutes from beaches, waterways, sporting facilities and other preferred outdoor adventures.

“Our community is surrounded by peaceful waters and nature preserves,” says Roy Premer, CFO at The Islands Development Group. “The residents love being able to boat, fish, and bird watch whenever they want.”

Research shows that group-oriented outdoor exercise improves social skills and confidence, while even increasing mobility and dexterity. Outdoor activities can also be an effective way to exercise and get your daily dose of vitamin D.  It’s no secret that nature reduces stress and increases relaxation. Positive mood, better concentration and more creativity are also added benefits.

Buying a home in a waterfront community can provide a relaxing sanctuary for the mind, body and spirit. At the Islands, private boat docks behind every home afford homebuyers the luxury to easily spend more time on the water, launch a kayak or simply witness a colorful sunset.

Even more intriguing for the real estate industry is that 41 percent of leading-edge boomers – a group with over $500 billion in spending power*, they will definitely purchase another home. What’s at the top of their list? You guessed it. Nature- based amenities.

To find out more about The Islands on Manatee River in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, click here.

* Brent Green, author of “Marketing to Leading Edge Baby Boomers”