Pace picks up for construction in southern Pasco

Commercial and residential developments are popping up at the Suncoast Parkway interchange and along State Road 54/State Road 56 corridor at an ever-quickening pace.

There’s so much happening that it’s difficult to keep up with what’s under construction, what’s on the drawing board and what’s moving toward final sale.

To help sort things out, the Pasco Economic Development Council Inc., brought developers and brokers together for a meet-and-greet session on Feb. 19 at the Residence Inn at NorthPointe.

“We see the dirt flying,” said John Hagen, president and CEO of the Pasco EDC. “It struck us there’s really a lot of people who don’t know what’s going on here.”

So, in 10-minute bursts of information, representatives for the various developments presented highlights of a half-dozen mixed-use, master-planned and commercial communities.

Wiregrass Ranch, on the eastern end of the State Road 54/State Road 56 corridor is the most advanced of the developments.

But there’s still much more to come, said J.D. Porter, whose family owns Wiregrass Ranch.

The long-delayed Raymond James Financial Campus, off State Road 56, is approaching the permitting stage, Porter said.

About 600,000 square feet of office space is planned with opportunities to expand to 1 million square feet, he said.

“There’s no exact start date, but we feel very comfortable,” Porter said. “It’s a no-brainer. It’s going to get done.”

The first phase probably is about $18 million in roads and utilities, he added.

Future projects include a new park, a charter school, and a convention and performing arts center.

“We’re starting to take our business to the next level,” Porter said.

Meanwhile, close to the Suncoast Parkway, construction has begun on Bexley Boulevard, the entrance to Bexley Ranch, a 5,000-acre master-planned community. That development will be at the northeast quadrant of State Road 54 and the Suncoast Parkway.

About 1,700 acres will be developed in the development’s first phase, including about 93,000 square feet of retail and 563,00 square feet of offices, said Tom Panaseny, vice president of California-based Newland Communities.

Newland Communities is the same company that developed Fishhawk Ranch and Westchase in Hillsborough County.

The future Tower Road, which will link to Ballantrae subdivision, will be a four-lane divided roadway with a flyover across Suncoast, Panaseny said.

Thousands of homes, a town center, specialty shops, hotel, medical uses and office space are part of the mix, he said. More than 12 miles of internal trails will link with existing trails in the community.

“Everything we do, we try to connect to trail systems,” Panaseny said.

Another development — NorthPointe at Suncoast Crossings at the southeast quadrant of State Road 54 and Suncoast Parkway — is planned to have a mixture of uses, with up to 1 million square feet of offices, research and development, and hospitality.

Two parcels are potential locations for hotel, office or retail, said Steve Oakes, vice president of development for The Hogan Group, based in Lutz.

Developers are keeping options open for how NorthPointe moves forward, said Paul Michael, vice president of Atlanta-based TPA Group. “We’re all in this together…to create a sustainable live, work, play environment which we hope to be a success in Pasco County.”

Asturia, another master-planned community, is off State Road 54, west of the Suncoast Parkway. The 500-acre development has approval for up to 300,000 square feet of commercial, 530,000 square feet of office or light industrial, 550 single-family homes, 200 town homes and 440 apartments.

“You can see piles of dirt and a lot of construction,” said Lane Gardner, managing director for Houston-based-Hines. A groundbreaking was held in December with completion of the first construction phase scheduled for May 2015.

Starkey Ranch is a 2,400-acre master-planned community off State Road 54 with approval for 206,500 square feet of Class A offices, 43,500 medical offices, 300,000 square feet of light industrial, 100,000 square feet of support retail, 220 hotel rooms and small commercial infill parcels.

More than 2,000 residential units are planned including homes in an “adult lifestyle” subdivision near Huckleberry Pond. It will, however, not be age-restricted.

“We are focusing on creating community,” said Matt Call, project director for Wheelock Communities. “We don’t want to be another subdivision. We want a true community.”

A town center with a grocery store as the anchor is planned at Gunn Highway and State Road 54. Other amenities include a business center, light industrial, a hotel, medical office, shops, day care center, coffee shop, church and more than 20 miles of trails.

A welcome center and model homes from Ryland and M/I are nearing completion. A groundbreaking is expected later this year for the Starkey Ranch District Park.

The park is not a tourism destination, Call said. “It’s really for local residents.”

Mitchell West 54, at Little Road and State Road 54, will feature a neighborhood shopping center with a movie theater amid its proposed 800 residential units.

“We think this is an infill location,” said Gary Nelson, senior vice president of Kitson & Partners based in Palm Beach Gardens.

Groundbreaking on the 330-acre site is planned for early 2016 with an opening day expected in 2017. There will be about 980,000 square feet of retail, medical and offices. A hotel and senior living component are possible.

The first development in the project will be the neighborhood center with grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants and some high-end retail, said Matt Buehler, retail specialist director for Kitson & Partners.

Published February 25, 2015

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