What’s coming to a hot spot in Manatee? Homes, fast food, road projects. What to know

A 2,575-square-foot Wendy’s is coming to Moccasin Wallow Road, the first fast-food burger joint planned for a stretch of quiet county road that’s turning into a traffic and growth hot spot.

The Wendy’s is planned in the vicinity of Seaire, a master-planned community of more than 3,000 homes now under development.

Seaire is being built around a man-made 4.5-acre lagoon on the south side of Moccasin Wallow Road between Carter Road and Sea Chase Avenue.

It’s also near another planned development, The Floridian Club, and Del Webb’s BayView community, which is kitty corner on the north side of the road.

Wendy’s, which recently showed up on Manatee County’s development services website, is so new that an opening date is most likely at least a year away.

It’s also a dot on the map where traffic engineers struggle to serve all that growth.

As big as Seaire might be, it’s not the biggest development on Moccasin Wallow Road. That distinction goes to North River Ranch, planned for 6,000 homes and a new hospital.

3/9/2020--Moccasin Wallow Road is a two-lane road, bounded by massive development between Parrish and U.S. 41.
3/9/2020--Moccasin Wallow Road is a two-lane road, bounded by massive development between Parrish and U.S. 41.

Moccasin Wallow Road is at the center of 25,000 homes planned for the Parrish-North River area, and is also one of the largest road-building projects in Manatee County.

North River Ranch developer John Neal said a fine dining Italian restaurant, an ice cream shop, a coffee shop and a breakfast cafe are coming, along with a Publix, which opens March 21. But no fast-food restaurants.

“Our focus is on high quality food items and sit down restaurants,” Neal said. “We’re focused on lifestyle, rather than fast food.”

06/28/21-In the foreground, the entrance to Del Webb Bay View, off to the left in the distance the McClure land is the latest proposed development off Moccasin Wallow Road.
06/28/21-In the foreground, the entrance to Del Webb Bay View, off to the left in the distance the McClure land is the latest proposed development off Moccasin Wallow Road.

Catch-up road building

Manatee County is in the midst of a $178 million project to four-lane Moccasin Wallow Road from U.S. 301 in the east to U.S. 41 in the west.

“We are trying to meet the demands of growth in this area,” county engineer Scott May said. “It’s an extremely fast growing area. We’ve seen 3.5% annual growth in recent years.”

The four-phase project, which includes a four-lane roundabout at U.S. 301 and Moccasin Wallow Road, is projected to be completed in late 2026, with some segments being completed earlier than others.

In addition to helping handle all the growth coming to the Parrish-North River area, the 6.5-mile Moccasin Wallow Road project connects SeaPort Manatee to the state roadway network.

“The improvement project will widen the existing two-lane roadway to four-lanes, and plans include the addition of bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and a shared-use path. The current project will be designed to expand travel lanes in the future, eventually making Moccasin Wallow Road a six-lane divided urban roadway,” according to the project web page.

Moccasin Wallow Road, shown 2/27/2024, represents a $178 million widening project through some of fastest developing real  estate in Manatee County.
Moccasin Wallow Road, shown 2/27/2024, represents a $178 million widening project through some of fastest developing real estate in Manatee County.

Here’s what to know

Segment I: Stretches slightly more than a mile from U.S. 301 to 115th Avenue East, near Harvey Elementary School and the entrance to the Copperstone neighborhood. Projected for completion in 2025. Contractor is Gator Grading & Paving.

Segment II: Extends from 115th Avenue East to the vicinity of Bayside Community Church, 9505 Moccasin Wallow Road. Manatee County government is preparing to go to bid for this segment. Estimated completion date: late 2025 or early 2026.

Segment III: Extends from the vicinity of Bayside Community Church to Buffalo Road, which serves Gateway Commons shopping center at the intersection of I-75 and Moccasin Wallow Road. Estimated completion: late 2026. Contractor still to be determined.

Seaire, a  master-planned community of more than 3,000 homes, and possibly a hotel, built around a man-made 4.5-acre lagoon is coming to Parrish. Construction scene from 6/28/2023.
Seaire, a master-planned community of more than 3,000 homes, and possibly a hotel, built around a man-made 4.5-acre lagoon is coming to Parrish. Construction scene from 6/28/2023.

Segment IV: Extends from I-75 to U.S. 41. Estimated completion date: late 2024 or early 2025. Contractor is Prince Contracting, LLC. This is the most expensive segment with costs estimated at $49.5 million.

The proposed speed limit once the project is complete will be 45 mph throughout most of the Moccasin Wallow Road corridor. The first quarter mile from U.S. 41 east will be posted at 40 mph.

More information

For more information about the Moccasin Wallow Road improvement project, visit https://moccasinwallowroad.com/.

Manatee County graphic shows the four segments of the Moccasin Wallow Road improvement projects with an estimated cost of $178 million.
Manatee County graphic shows the four segments of the Moccasin Wallow Road improvement projects with an estimated cost of $178 million.