Downtown Wellen construction on schedule for business openings by end of year

New dining, shopping, entertainment and event hub in Wellen Park is 100% leased

VENICE, Fla. (July 7, 2022) – All buildings are under roof, the 80-acre recreational Grand Lake is complete, and outdoor parks and recreational areas are beginning to take shape as construction of Downtown Wellen’s first phase progresses on schedule. The entirety of downtown’s 55,000 square feet of retail and office space is leased with several businesses expected to open as soon as December.

Construction of the pedestrian-friendly mixed-use Downtown Wellen, located off U.S. 41/Tamiami Trail just west of South River Road, began in August 2021 with Willis Smith Construction as the general contractor. As the vibrant central hub and gathering place for residents of Wellen Park and the region, Downtown Wellen is bringing restaurants, boutiques, professional and beauty services, medical offices, entertainment and events to a corner of Southwest Florida with currently limited options.

“The local community is so excited about Downtown Wellen,” said Rick Severance, president of Wellen Park. “They have shared with us that they feel like someone has listened to them and are really looking forward to having a variety of dining options, shopping, entertainment and engagement in their own backyard.”

Downtown Wellen is a win-win for residents and businesses, many of them locally owned and operated by well-established Southwest Florida entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, and medical professionals. In addition to the growing number of neighborhoods at Wellen Park, a 285-unit rental apartment community and an independent, assisted living and memory care community are currently under construction within Downtown. A boutique hotel is also planned.

“Based on anticipated demand, we made a commitment to start construction on Downtown Wellen last August ahead of any formal leases being signed,” says Severance. “It speaks volumes about Wellen Park as the developer and the trust our leadership, and this region, have placed in us to continue to deliver quality offerings for the community as a whole.”

Wellen Park enlisted four architectural firms to create downtown’s five distinct buildings, topped by mansard, sloping and cantilevered roofs and blending indoor and outdoor spaces with sidewalk and rooftop dining patios optimizing sunrise and sunset views.

“Once you’re in the space, it’s beautiful and feels so intimate,” said Severance. “It fits exactly our vision and feels like it was meant to be together. Downtown Wellen is pedestrian-friendly, easily walkable and safe.”

The two largest buildings, accented by 40-foot belltowers and connected by a glass corridor, offer retail stores on the ground floor and second-floor offices with open-air terraces overlooking the lake and downtown and sun-filled conference rooms in the two turrets. Solis Hall, the community space and event venue for weddings, private parties and celebrations, features a stage overlooking the Great Lawn and a large lakefront patio in the back flowing to Canopy Green, an intimate al fresco space for smaller gatherings. All parking is in place for Downtown’s first and subsequent phases.

Outdoor amenities and destinations will be completed in late 2022 and available for public use. Soft openings for some businesses in December are anticipated, with a grand celebration being planned in the first quarter of 2023, after most of the businesses are open.

“We’ve created a safe environment for everyone to come and enjoy,” said Christine Masney, vice president of marketing. “We’re really starting to look at programming and will have events later this year. 2023 will be phenomenal. We plan to host food and culinary events, wine festivals, an organic farmer’s market, adventure triathlons, activities on the water and layer in experiences that the area has never had before.”

Restaurants include The Banyan House, the flagship dining destination and exclusive caterer for events at neighboring Solis Hall, as well as Mirabella’s Italian Coastal Cuisine, Oak & Stone Craft Beer & Artisan Pizza, Villani & Co. Steak Seafood Raw Bar and Bright Ice. Plans are also being finalized for The Yard, offering ultra-casual food and beverages served counter style from retrofitted shipping containers, an outdoor seating area and activity center. The Yard will feature ballpark favorites from Atlanta Braves-affiliated Pop Dawgs, Greek specialties at Agapi and New England-style seafood at Claw & Co.

Breakwater Home Fashions, Paint Nail Bar, Naples Soap Company, Capstan Financial Consulting Group, Florida Lakes Vein Center, Florida Lakes Spa, and Dr. Jeffrey Seymour Smiles Orthodontics have also committed to Downtown Wellen.

Kind Vibes Outfitters, in a landmark building accented with shipping containers, offers paddleboard, single and tandem kayak rentals launched from a floating dock for exploring Grand Lake’s coves and wetlands. The outfitter also offers e-bikes and manual bikes, for use on Wellen Park’s multimodal trails, including the 2.8-mile pathway meandering around the lake.

Grand Lake, 32 feet at its deepest, will soon be stocked with the first of 168,000 fish and shrimp, including largemouth bass or channel catfish for recreational fishing.

The connection to the lake, outdoor recreation and nature informed Downtown Wellen’s design. Throughout the 120-plus-acre first phase, waterfront promenades, parks, an events lawn, play areas, a splashpad and fountain offer intimate and grand spaces for people to gather, play and relax, many of them shaded by the canopies of 26 live oaks trees relocated from elsewhere in the community. Downtown offers an outdoor living room and lounge nestled under a nearly century-old live oak overlooking the lake, a waterfront playground blending into the natural surroundings and the Great Lawn for movie nights, community festivals, markets, concerts and picnics.

Consistently ranked among the U.S.’s top five fastest-selling master planned communities annually by prominent real estate consulting firm RCLCO, Wellen Park offers a mix of residential, commercial and recreational options. The community currently has approximately 9,500 residents, and at full build-out will have more than 50,000 residents and 22,500 homes within its three distinct districts: West Villages, Downtown Wellen and Playmore.

Wellen Park’s expanding residential choices include single-family homes in picturesque neighborhoods, a bundled golf and country club community, paired villas, coach homes and condominiums, one- to three-bedroom apartments and rental homes, a rental apartment community for active adults 55 and older, and world-class independent, assisted living and memory care.

Wellen Park is close to top-ranked beaches and the area’s many attractions.

To learn more about living at Wellen Park, call 941-960-7805, go to or visit the Welcome Center at 12275 Mercado Drive in Venice, Fla. The Welcome Center is open Monday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.



Jennifer Hamilton, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and PR, 239-275-5758, [email protected]

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