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Developer Says Lakewood Ranch Was 30 Years In The Making

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Lakewood Ranch 30 years in the making - townmapsUSA.com

It started 30 years ago. That's when Rex Jensen first got a call to check out some land owned by the Uihlein family just off I-75 near Sarasota.  That is all Jensen needed to see and he knew this land was going to be a success.

"One day he received a call from his predecessor John Clark, telling him they were getting ready to start thinking about developing this property," Jensen said.

"And just took one look at the property you could see signs on their tree farm that said 'Clean Air Begins Here,' I mean, there were things like that just spoke to the ethics of the company. The approach that they took, to a long-term view of things and it really appealed to me.

"You can’t look at a map and find a better piece of property from that standpoint."

Some have questioned Jensen on the location of Lakewood Ranch. 

"But stop and think about a road that goes from Miami to Canada and if that is not an economic opportunity -- four interchanges on that road … I don’t know what is," Jensen said. "On its face at the time if you were a resident of that area, people uniformly thought we were insane."

You can find the full episode of on our website, wusfnews.org, and click the Florida Matters tab.

Listen to the show on WUSF 89.7 Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 a.m.  It's also on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9 on Mondays at 10 p.m.

Christy Oshana is the Producer for Florida Matters, WUSF Public Media’s public affairs show.
Robin is Senior Editor at WUSF, spearheading the station's podcasting initiatives and helping to guide the vision for special reporting projects and creative storytelling. She created The Zest, the station's podcast that's all about food, which she continues to host and serve as senior producer.