Some sizable projects are heading to Pasco County.
One of the developments — known as Abbey Crossings — is a master-planned unit development (MPUD) that includes 800,000 square feet of light industrial, 400,000 square feet of office, 400,000 square feet of commercial and 1,000 multi-family dwellings.
The Pasco County Commission cleared the way for the project by approving a rezoning request on 245.24 acres on the south side of County Road 52, intersecting with McKendree Road.
The land had been zoned for agricultural and commercial uses, until the county board changed the designation during its Oct. 10 meeting.
The project is within the boundaries of Connected City, specifically within its business core.
The Connected City corridor consists of about 7,800 acres in a state-approved development district meant to foster residential communities and employment centers that are the wave of the future. Its borders are roughly Interstate 75, State Road 52 and Curley and Overpass roads.
The area is meant to feature cutting-edge technology, including gigabit Internet speeds and innovation, and it is supposed to be easy to get around for pedestrians, cyclists, golf carts and vehicles.
The county board’s Abbey Crossings vote came just days after some commissioners joined in a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 5, hosted by Columnar Land to celebrate the beginning of DoubleBranch, on a site formerly known as Pasco Town Center.
Columnar has invested more than $60 million to date and is providing another $75 million in Phase I infrastructure, according to a news release issued by the Pasco Economic Development, Inc. (Pasco EDC).
“DoubleBranch has been anticipated in Pasco County for nearly two decades,” Daniel Traylor, managing principal of Columnar/DoubleBranch, said in the news release. “Today marks the beginning of the first phase of development for a project that will have a tremendous impact on generations of Pasco County residents.”
The project will feature 4 million square feet of industrial development, 725,000 square feet of offices, 400,000 square feet of retail, 3,500 housing units and 300 hotel beds on a 965-acre parcel at the southeast corner of Interstate 75 and State Road 52, the release says.
At its completion, DoubleBranch is expected to have more than $600 million in long-term economic impact on an estimated $2 billion buildout for the surrounding area. Over time, the development is anticipated to be home to 6,000 jobs including many in the logistics, life sciences and healthcare target industry sectors, the release adds.
“Our team is proud and excited to get this project started,” Mike Wolf, senior vice president of Columnar/DoubleBranch, said in the release.
“Since purchasing the land in 2021, we set out to intentionally create a desirable town center development where Pasco gathers to work, live and entertain while creating jobs and economic development for the county,” Wolf added.
Bill Cronin, president/CEO of Pasco EDC, also weighed in.
“Pasco County leadership is very cognizant of creating opportunities for smart, strategic development,” Cronin said, in the release. “This is one of the largest master planned development projects we have had here, and it has taken tremendous effort by Columnar, county officials, and stakeholders alike to make sure it is done right. I was honored to be a part of the celebration yesterday.”
David Engel, economic growth director for Pasco County, provided additional perspective on the project’s importance and impacts.
“The DoubleBranch project is an excellent example of the benefits of a public-private partnership,” Engel said, in the release. “The developer is installing over $70 million in on- and off-site primary roads and utility connections to complete core infrastructure for the entire Connected City Employment Center area. Pasco is providing an Ad Valorem Equivalency Grant to fund a portion of the infrastructure cost, and when this project is complete, over $9.5 million in ad valorem taxes will come into the county each year.”