With building construction going vertical throughout the Center Point Development just to the east of the intersection of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and University Parkway in Lakewood Ranch, developer CASTO Southeast said it will be a major hub of activity by late in 2023.
Restaurants Lake Park Diner, The Toasted Yolk Cafe, The Thrivery and Crisp & Green were announced this month, joining previously announced Owen’s Fish Camp and Ruth’s Chris Steak House in the 250,000-square-foot project.
Although Olivia, a fine-dining Italian restaurant based in Tampa, is reconsidering its previously announced intention to open in Center Point, CASTO Southeast President Brett Hutchens said he is thrilled with the response from businesses seeking to lease within the development.
Hutchens said the theme of the project continues to be health and wellness with businesses including Yoga Six, Club Pilates, Chamberlin’s Natural Foods grocery store, Crisp & Green, Lake Park Diner and a 73,500-square-foot medical building that already is built and leased out.
“That was one of the things that we tried to stay true to, and I think we’ve been successful,” Hutchens said.
But Center Point Development also gives a nod to convenience with a McDonald’s, a 7-Eleven and a Woodie’s Wash Shack.
According to Massimo Rastrelli, a project manager for the development, the full shopping center is expected to be open by the third or fourth quarter of 2023.
He said some tenant names remain to be released and noted that all of the spaces in the center are leased out with the exception of one, and perhaps a couple of spaces that might open if signed tenants decide not to come.
Lake Park Diner
Lake Park Diner is named after the neighborhood in Naples where it originated, but according to Colleen Dunavan, the president of Paul Fleming Restaurants, it has found a similar home in Lakewood Ranch.
Dunavan said that when they researched the Center Point location, they found a site that not only could attract out-of-towners and commuters but also would receive great support from the local community because of its neighborhood feel.
“Lakewood Ranch was a no-brainer for us,” she said.
Lake Park Diner opened its second location in Bonita Springs, and its third location will be Lakewood Ranch.
The diner bills itself as “the future of casual dining” and advertises its absence of steroids, antibiotics, hormones or GMOs in its food, as well as sustainable sourcing.
Dunavan said the diner’s menu, which offers a mixture of items that range from salad bowls to hamburgers and fries, is designed for a wide appeal.
“We tried to figure out how to create a menu that’s appealing to a lot of different people and, and still be great.”
She said the diner sources high-quality and local ingredients where possible and that Sarasota was an excellent location for sustainable sourcing with an increasing number of small farms and artisanal ice cream makers and bakeries.
Dunavan called the menu’s rotisserie chicken “craveable” and said the diner’s cauliflower wings, which are oven roasted, are “nice and light and spicy and balanced.”
She also highlighted Smith’s Fish & Chips, stating the meal is named after the company’s British founder, Adam Smith, who died last year from cancer. She said $1 from each sale will go to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where he was treated.
Lake Park Diner plans a light and bright space with vibrant music.
It will offer both indoor and outdoor seating.
The opening is planned late in 2023.
Anna Mignery, who co-owns The Thrivery with husband Andy Mignery, said the company’s cold-pressed juices and its foods will fill a demand for natural, healthy offerings.
Anna said the couple developed a passion for juicing after Andy was diagnosed with lung cancer 2017 and achieved success in combatting the disease after changing his diet.
Andy began following an alkaline diet, eating far more vegetable content and far fewer refined sugars and ultimately consuming many more of the phytonutrients found in plant foods. He said the benefits included a healthier weight, better sleep, more energy and greater mental clarity.
“Through that healing process, we found the power of cold-pressed juice and superfood eating,” Anna said. “We found the incredible impact they had on our health and the way we felt.”
The couple opened its first location of The Thrivery in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2018. However, they decided to move to the Country Club in Lakewood Ranch and relocate the business to Center Point.
“We didn’t have food service backgrounds,” Anna said. “But it was just something we became very passionate about.”
She said the juices are created on site and do not have to be pasteurized as per FDA regulations.
Andy said the smoothies are absent of fillers like ice.
“What you have is your meal-replacement smoothie with organic fruits and vegetables and the natural flavor of all the ingredients, which are dairy free,” he said.
Anna said the store’s top selling smoothie is its Sweet Green, which combines spinach, kale, carrot, apple, orange and lemon.
The store also offers food items, such as energy bites and homemade jams.
Andy said that in Michigan, The Thrivery has partnerships with hospitals and health care organizations to vend items there, and he hopes to create similar partnerships in the Lakewood Ranch area.
“There are a lot of companies that would like to be literally at the center of Lakewood Ranch, and for CASTO to have the confidence in us as local business owners is exciting,” Andy said.
The location is expected to open in June 2023.
Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming Lakewood Ranch
Lauren Redington, the owner of Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming Lakewood Ranch, which has been located in Town Center for 12 years, said the new location will offer expanded services in addition to the dog grooming and essential items for dogs and cats it already provides.
“When we saw there was a shopping center going in there, we were ecstatic,” Redington said.
She said the new location will be 1,700 square feet of space, whereas the current location has 1,100. Redington said no decision has been made whether to keep the current location open once the Center Point location opens.
One advantage of the increased space, she said, will be a quiet room for dogs that require closer attention due to age or behavioral concerns and might not be comfortable in the regular grooming area.
Also available in the room will be massage therapy to provide greater relaxation to dogs who might be anxious before or after grooming or to provide pain relief to dogs who struggle with arthritis and joint issues.
She said the regular grooming stations for dogs will also be further individualized.
Redington said the new location will include a “boutique vibe” for pet lovers.
“We’re excited for the amount of potential new customers that this shopping center will attract,” Redington said.
Redington also is considering another location at Center Gate in Sarasota.
The Lakewood Ranch location is expected to open in June or July 2023.
Also on the way
Hutchens said Crisp & Green will be an interesting option for dining.
Although restaurant management declined an interview, citing the move to the location still being in progress, Hutchens said it is another quality healthy alternative.
At its other locations throughout the eastern U.S., the quick-service restaurant’s menu consists almost entirely of bowls, such as a Greek bowl with roasted chicken, spinach, feta, olives, hummus and pita, and a Seoul bowl with tofu, roasted mushrooms, cucumber, daikon and more.
The Toasted Yolk Cafe advertises that it will change the way customers think about breakfast and lunch. Promotional images show a vibrant atmosphere that differentiates it from that of a typical breakfast restaurant, with locations including bar counters and the menu including beers, wines, and mimosas.
Additional newly announced businesses include Quelliv, a laser cosmetics and pain relief service, and hair cutting services Salon Lofts and Sport Clips.