Located about four miles east of Interstate 75 on State Road 64, Mill Creek is a thriving countryside neighborhood in East Manatee County. Named after the rivulet that runs through it north to the Manatee River, the community consists of large, single-family residences on generous lots – a half-acre to 1 acre in size. Some of the houses have white picket fences surrounding them, adding to the rustic charm.
There are two entrances, the main one on State Road 64, and the other on Upper Manatee River Road, which marks the northern boundary. The interior streets of the neighborhood gently curve and meander through the neighborhood.
Homes face scenic retention ponds or lush, densely wooded green belts. Mature oaks, palm trees and pines provide shade, and there are deer, bobcat and a variety of birds. The general feeling is one of spaciousness, ease and tranquility.
“I love that it’s so open — houses are spread far apart,” says Lynda Melnick, a Realtor with Wagner Realty. “You feel like you’re in the country, but you have city conveniences.”
Melnick has sold a number of properties in Mill Creek since it was developed and loves the neighborhood. “Everywhere you look, there are incredible settings, lake or nature preserve views.”
Mill River was created three decades ago by Manatee Joint Ventures’ Larry D’Urso; he also developed Braden Woods and Twin Rivers in Bradenton, and River Wilderness Golf and Country Club in Palmetto.
His company purchased the sprawling, 900-acre property in 1986 with the notion of creating a community with country ambience, larger-than-average home sites, and a quiet, easygoing Florida lifestyle.
Home sales commenced in January 1987 with 90 lots and quickly attracted buyers. This led to further development, ultimately in seven phases. Some of the area’s finest builders participated.
As a result, there is considerable architectural variety. You can find ranch houses, Florida contemporary structures, Colonial homes with front porches, traditional two-story country-style swellings, and a smattering of Mediterranean Revival residences. Exteriors are varied, too, ranging from stucco to stone to wooden siding.
Melnick’s listing at 907 East Mill Run, for example, is a two-story, five-bedroom, four-bath country-style home with an attractive front porch. It has 3,019 square feet under air and has been renovated and updated in the past two years with a new roof, new kitchen appliances and new flooring throughout. Beautifully situated between two lakes, it has a $439,000 price tag.
“It’s in an idyllic setting,” says Melnick. “When you’re in the backyard, you think you’re at Selby Gardens.”
Today, Mill Creek is essentially built out with about 1,000 homes, although there are still a few vacant lots available.
Residents are mostly year-round — an eclectic mix of retirees, working professionals, families with children, and some snowbirds. The district schools are Gene Witt Elementary, Carlos E. Haile Middle, and Lakewood Ranch High.
Homeowners’ association dues are only $330 a year, and there are no Community Development District (CDD) fees.
While Mill Creek may have been literally in the country when it was started, residential development has caught up with it, bringing amenities closer. A Publix grocery store in a small shopping center is just down State Road 64. Lakewood Ranch’s hospital, Main Street and other restaurant and shopping opportunities are a 10-minute drive to the south.
Easy access to I-75 makes the Ellenton Outlet Mall and University Town Center mall a quick drive, and commuting for work to St. Pete or Sarasota is convenient. Downtown Bradenton is only 15 minutes away.
Currently, Mill Creek has 18 homes on the market, ranging in price from $300,000 to $600,000. There are also 13 vacant properties available, from $88,500 to $149,900.
“I love it there,” says Melnick. “The more I go into Mill Creek, the more I think, ‘Why don’t I live here?’ ”