By Sarah Whitman
When potential home buyers bought into the Connerton dream six years ago, they were promised a community like no other in Land O’ Lakes. Then, the economy changed and so did the real estate business. Home sales plummeted and plans for Connerton came to a screeching halt.
Homes stopped being built. A proposed apartment complex was nowhere in sight. The neighborhood’s welcome center closed its doors and residents wondered if what they were promised would ever become a reality.
According to Connerton’s new owners, Dallas-based CoastOak Group, the dream is not dead.
“Our vision is similar to the original vision,” said Stewart Gibbons, president of the Southeast US Region for CoastOak. “We are in the process of speaking with builders now and should have models open by the end of the year.”
CoastOak purchased the 5,000-acre community from former owner Terrabrook for $5.6 million and intends to finish what was started in 2004. There are plans to complete the planned 8,500 homes, new businesses and a hospital. A new elementary school will open at Connerton in the fall and three more schools are planned for the area.
The plans are in sync with the original idea to make Connerton its own little community where people live, work, shop and eat. The neighborhood offers several amenities including parks, walking trails, conservation areas and Club Connerton, a community club with a café’, swimming pool, exercise room and tennis courts.
Gibbons, who also lives in Connerton and was formerly employed by Terrabrook, said the future of Connerton is looking up. The empty promises and possibilities left on the community’s website are in play once again.
“We should have new family homes in the community by spring of next year,” he said.
John Hagan of the Pasco Economic Development council said he is happy about Connerton’s new ownership.
“We’ve always thought the new urban vision Connerton represents is a really great concept,” Hagan said. “We’re excited the neighborhood is back on track and we hope to see more communities spring up with the live, work and play vision.”