Lee Wetherington, a luxury home builder based in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, is celebrating 40 years of building in southwest Florida, this June. Founder Lee Wetherington built his first home in Sarasota in 1974.
“Lee came to Sarasota on vacations in the early 70’s; at the time he ran a successful drywall company in Jacksonville,” said Cecelia Davie, the first employee at Lee Wetherington Homes, who still works for the company.
“He came here, saw the potential to build houses, and was not afraid to shut down his drywall business and try something new. He got his contractor’s license, built his first house in the Gulf Gate area and did a lot of work himself – from hanging drywall, to landscaping, to sitting in the home to sell it—Lee did it all,” she said.
Because of the quality, business increased steadily each year. Lee Wetherington Homes quickly became well known for its unique floorplans, high level of features, and superior quality. The business spent no money on advertising for the first 20 years, sales came completely from referrals.
Wetherington was one of the first home builders in Lakewood Ranch, and continues to build in the master planned community today.
“Lee was always planning five, ten, twenty years ahead. When a small company, he knew he wanted to be in Lakewood Ranch so he kept reinvesting into the company to be able to afford to take down lots in the community,” said Davie. “He designed all his models, drawing them from scratch, sometimes years ahead of the lot availability.”
Today, Davie is the Executive Vice President of Finance at Lee Wetherington Homes. She is one of several high level executives at the company who became part owners in the firm when Lee wanted to semi-retire a few years ago. This year, Lee Wetherington Homes is also commemorating the milestone of more than 4,000 homes built with a sales volume that has doubled over the past two years.
“Our team is smart, competent and bold,” said Wetherington. “I am confident in their experience and ability to take the company to the next level, grow the brand, and hold our key philosophies of quality and design strongly in place for years to come. One thing I am very proud of, is the people we have in place who do a phenomenal job day in and day out,” said Wetherington.
Besides still being involved in the home building company, Lee Wetherington continues to support the community with his philanthropic efforts. Last year, The Lee Wetherington Foundation – a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County –surpassed the $1 million mark for grants to local nonprofits. Established on December 30, 2002, the Wetherington Foundation has supported causes ranging from helping at-risk children, education and the arts to community planning, the environment and social services. Nearly half of the funds granted by the Wetherington Foundation have been to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and Manatee counties and the Boys & Girls Club on Fruitville Road in Sarasota bears Lee Wetherington’s name. Numerous other organizations in Sarasota and Manatee have also received significant financial support through the Lee Wetherington Foundation.
With 40 years of home building experience and community engagement, Lee Wetherington Homes has built more than 4,000 homes in the most prestigious and sought after communities in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Known for exceptional quality and unsurpassed customer satisfaction, Lee Wetherington Homes and LeeSure Water Pools have been recognized with both local and national awards from industry peers and homeowners alike, including Best Builder from the readers of The Sarasota Herald Tribune for eight consecutive years and America’s Best Builder from the National Association of Home Builders and Builder Magazine.
Lee Wetherington Homes is a locally owned and operated company based in Lakewood Ranch. Lee Wetherington Homes, named America’s Best Builder by the National Association of Home Builders and Builder Magazine, has been designing and building high-quality single-family homes and custom homes since 1974. The mission at Lee Wetherington Homes is to provide customers with the best experience in home building delivering exceptional home designs, features, and value in a caring and professional manner throughout the entire construction process.