Frontier Building has completed the new Circle K, at 7767 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., in Land O’ Lakes. The project includes a convenience store, fueling stations and carwash, according to a news release. Frontier Building is a design-build contractor.
Total Wine & More kicked off its grand opening at Cypress Creek Town Center in celebratory fashion — with giveaways, a live band and a festive atmosphere.
The wine and beer emporium is the newest retail at the expanding town center, off the Interstate 75 interchange at the State Road 54/State 56 corridor.
The commercially vibrant corridor is a magnet for economic development in the heart of Wesley Chapel and Land O’Lakes, stretching over through Odessa to Trinity.
Retail and restaurants are chasing the booming rooftop construction — with residential growth in Pasco County breaking records.
As the pandemic recedes, established residents and newcomers alike are eager to be out and about.
And, they’re finding plenty to do.
Plus, more options are on the way.
County permits, signs planted on the roadside and company websites provide a snapshot of what’s under construction and what’s on the future horizon.
An ale house, a fitness studio; fast-food and dine-in restaurants; a Krispy Kreme; and two specialty car washes are among the new and coming attractions.
Established shopping meccas such as the Tampa Premium Outlets, The Shops at Wiregrass, and Cypress Creek Town Center are expanding their store directories, as new tenants take up residence.
Total Wine & More slipped into a spot at Cypress Creek Town Center that was once occupied by the specialty grocer Earth Fare.
Troy Rice, chief operating officer for Total Wine & More, said the former grocery store space was a good fit for his company.
The plumbing and electrical work had been done, and Total Wine knew it had a gap in its coverage area, Rice said.
An appreciative crowd of wine and beer aficionados packed the store’s grand-opening festivities.
Other new developments coming to Cypress Creek Town Center include Carrabba’s Italian Grill, and new apartments that will be built near the Hyatt Place hotel.
A Harley-Davidson dealership is coming to the area, too. It will be on Wesley Chapel Boulevard, across from the town center’s entrance at Pondside Drive.
Meanwhile, there’s new activity at the Tampa Premium Outlets.
Miller’s Ale House is coming to an outparcel along the Wesley Chapel Boulevard entrance into the mall. And Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers & Buffalo Wings, and Chicken Salad Chick will settle into parcels bordered by Wesley Chapel Boulevard and Sun Vista Drive.
The Shops at Wiregrass, near the intersection of State Road 56 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, has recent new tenants that include Sephora, Optimal Wellness, Perfume Palace and Gold Mine jewelers.
The mall’s coming-soon list includes JABZ, a boxing gym; Sky Jewels; Spirit, a Halloween costume store; and Fresh Produce Market, a produce stand in the parking lot of Dillard’s.
A shopping center next to Florida Avenue Brewing — at State Road 56 and Arrowgrass Drive — has attracted Green Market Café; Fyzical Therapy & Balance Center; and Lufka, an environmentally friendly health and beauty shop.
New development is coming to Land O’ Lakes, too.
Grand openings aren’t planned yet for the Shoppes at Cypress Creek, but construction is underway on State Road 54 next to the Circle K convenience store, west of the town center and outlet mall.
Signs tout Fazoli’s Italian Restaurant and Woodie’s Wash Shack at 24749 State Road 54. Additional tenants are anticipated.
Woodie’s car wash promises a “fun and funkie” experience, according to a marketing video. The beach-themed car wash acquired 11 sites in the Tampa Bay area, with expectations of turning on all its washing spigots by the end of 2021.
Beach vibes, coconut smells and a light show inside the car wash add up to family fun, with a final touch of vacuuming and sweeping out car trash at “Muscle Beach.”
Heading west along State Road 54, Krispy Kreme has planted a sign in a vacant parcel, just west of Camp Indianhead Crossings shopping center. So far, though, no permits have been filed.
The Shoppes at Ballantrae — west of State Road 54 and U.S. 41 — is expanding its commercial offerings, with a Valvoline shop on Aprile Drive, and another Woodie’s Wash Shack at 17322 State Road 54.
On a vacant parcel opposite from the Shoppes at Ballantrae, there’s an Aldi sign staked in the ground.
Matt Thon, Haines City division vice president for Aldi, didn’t provide details on the chain’s plans in Land O’ Lakes.
However, in a written statement, he reported that Aldi has “secured property in Pasco County with hopes to service more customers in the area.”
First Watch, Starbucks and AutoZone are settling in, near the intersection of State Road 54 and Sunlake Boulevard.
Starkey Ranch Business Park, which opened last year with fare such as The Wicked Pour, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, and Encore Nail Salon, is adding Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop and Butcher’s Mark Fresh Meat & Marinades, at State Road 54 and Heart Pine Avenue.
The sandwich chain’s website currently shows no restaurants in Florida.
The Preserve Marketplace at South Branch and State Road 54 will add Chipotle Mexican Grill and Lin China restaurant. The shopping center is anchored by Publix GreenWise, and last year opened with tenants that included CVS Pharmacy and Panera Bread.
Suncoast Crossings, which lost an anchor store when the Super Target closed more than four years ago, is undergoing a revival.
The approximately 115,000-square-foot building is being remodeled for two tenants – Santander Consumer USA and Rasmussen University.
Santander anticipates adding about 875 jobs. Rasmussen will bring in hundreds of students.
Shoppes at Crossings Boulevard is a new strip mall built on outparcels of Suncoast Crossings shopping complex.
Tenants will include Touch Nail Spa; Beyond 2020 Vision Specialists; PT Solutions, a physical therapy clinic; Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shop; Smoothie King; and Hot Worx, an infrared/sauna fitness studio.
Hot Worx, set to open July 15, is a new venture for Debbie Upright, a former pharmaceutical representative and her husband, Scott, a retired dentist.
The infrared-heated fitness studio will be open 24/7. Memberships and walk-ins are welcome for a variety of isometric workouts, yoga, Pilates and spinning.
Upright said she and her husband considered various sites, but said the area’s robust activity was a key consideration, in selecting where to set up shop.
“This is a prime location,” she said.
By Kathy Steele
Published July 21, 2021
The signs sprouting along U.S. 41 — which is also known as Land O’ Lakes Boulevard — are an indication that new development is beginning to take root, on the main artery through Land O’ Lakes and Lutz.
New restaurants, a car wash and gas stations are coming. A new coffeehouse and meat shop have opened. A medical center and other developments, are planned, too.
None of this is on the same grand scale of the Tampa Premium Outlets or the Cypress Creek Town Center along State Road 56, but something is happening along Land O’ Lakes Boulevard that hasn’t happened in years.
New businesses are taking a chance on a long overlooked, heavily traveled highway.
“This is great,” said Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore, whose district includes Land O’ Lakes. “As they have begun filling up along State Road 54/56, you’re seeing more happening along U.S. 41.”
Much of the new activity on Land O’ Lakes Boulevard extends from Bell Lake Road north toward State Road 52 and a nearly $50 million highway project that passes through Gowers Corner at U.S. 41.
For sale signs are plentiful, sites have been cleared and construction is underway — conveying a sense that new commercial projects are on the way, or could be coming soon.
A new Circle K gas station and convenience store is in the works at 7767 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., according to county records.
The project is being built by Frontier Building, according to a news release from that company, and the Circle K is expected to open in July.
Redstone Commercial is marketing more open land next to the Circle K.
Zaxby’s and Vortex carwash are planned for a location at U.S. 41 and Wilderness Lake Boulevard, according to posted signs and county records.
A 7-Eleven is anticipated at Bell Lake Road, along with another 7-Eleven at 9077 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., near the Tierra Del Sol subdivision, county records show.
Ps & Qs will be fluffing and styling pets from a new doggie day and boarding facility planned for 7495 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., near the community of Connerton.
Heights Meat Market, a longtime presence in the Tampa neighborhood of Seminole Heights, is operating at a small plaza at 5132 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. It opened in early 2020.
Aroma Joe’s coffeehouse is serving java, breakfast and sandwiches in a shop by the Preserve at Lake Wilderness.
A new restaurant is expected to open at 4422 Land O’ Lakes Blvd, the site previously occupied briefly by Mosquito Bar & Grill and before that by Rapscallions, a popular meeting place.
No details are yet available regarding what the new restaurant will look like, or the type of cuisine it will serve.
The old restaurant structure has fallen into disrepair, after its closure in 2013.
Longtime Land O’ Lakes resident Sandy Graves remembers how popular Rapscallions was, especially among nearby Bell Lake residents.
Graves is pleased to see some new development and redevelopment along Land O’ Lakes Boulevard.
“It’s nice to see any kind of progress,” Graves said. “I’d love to see more. It’s nice to see a new restaurant.”
There’s definitely room for improvement, she added, noting there’s still a lot of Land O’ Lakes that looks “stuck in the ’60s.”
Graves looks forward to bicycle trails being built in the future that follow along the old railroad tracks. And the completion of the Ridge Road extension, which will emerge at U.S. 41 across from Connerton, also could help, she said.
“It will be a lot easier going east and west in the county. I think things are looking up for Land O’ Lakes, which extends to the outlet mall.”
Graves sees positive changes along the northern corridor at the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
County officials and officials from Pasco County Economic Development Council Inc., previously have touted potential economic investment in the area that is likely to result from the development of the K9 Tactical Center/Florida’s Forensic Institute for Research, Security, and Tactics, or F.I.R.S.T., and the Adam Kennedy Memorial Forensics Fields, also known as the body farm.
These facilities are expected to attract forensics-related businesses and organizations, as well as national and international visitors to forensics conferences.
Road improvements on a northern segment of U.S. 41, plus substantial improvements along State Road 52, also are expected to support new development efforts.
And, the development of the Angeline community — along with a planned Pasco County campus of Moffitt Research Center — are expected to have a significant economic impact in Land O’ Lakes.
County records show developers are getting ready for what comes once the roadwork is finished.
Five years ago, the Tibbetts family rezoned its property at the southwest corner of Gowers Corner for residential and commercial development. No projects are announced as yet.
On property adjacent to the Tibbetts’ parcels, county records show Sandridge Commercial LLC applied for a “mass grading” permit to level and prep a large swath of land for an unidentified project.
Gowers Corner and U.S. 41 are on the development radar.
Meanwhile, the signs of new development on U.S. 41 are much less obvious south of Bell Lake.
O’Reilly Auto Parts has opened a store at 3600 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., and the Walmart Supercenter, at 1575 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., is opening a fueling station.
Businesses along the southern end of Land O’ Lakes struggle to redevelop properties after a road widening years ago that chopped off frontage, Graves said.
The county may need to consider overlay districts at locations along U.S. 41, to foster redevelopment efforts, she said.
By Kathy Steele
Published March 10, 2021
Taco Bell is the newest tenant at the Shoppes of Ballantrae Village.
The Mexican fast-food restaurant joins DQ Grill & Chill and Circle K in a retail shopping plaza that is almost fully constructed, off State Road 54 in Land O’ Lakes.
Within 30 days, Dunkin’ Donuts is expected to open in a spot between Taco Bell and DQ Grill & Chill.
In March, more shops, a spa, a dental office and a Japanese restaurant will open, said David McComas, chief executive officer of European Equities Corporation. His firm is handling tenant negotiations for the plaza.
The list of tenants includes Domino’s Pizza, T-Mobile and Hungry Greek.
Dentist Lisa Brooks also will occupy one suite, and Casablanca Spa will be in another.
“It will be nice. It will create some balance,” McComas said. “I think it will have a lot of curb appeal. Everything is coming out tastefully.”
The current list of shops and restaurants aren’t all that will open.
Three additional parcels are currently under negotiations, McComas said. And, another outparcel on the opposite side of Aprile Drive, across from Taco Bell, likely will have a day care center, he said.
One access point into the plaza is at Aprile Drive, a new road that intersects with State Road 54, by the Taco Bell on the eastern boundary. Entry also onto Aprile Drive and the plaza can be made at the entrance into Ballantrae subdivision, farther west at Ballantrae Boulevard, by Circle K.
The area is bustling with new development, spurred in part by about 50,000 vehicles that drive along the state road daily. And, new residential is bringing more customers to the area.
The Ballantrae community is built on about 436 acres, has six villages and about 970 homes.
To the south of Ballantrae, Long Lake Ranch homes are under construction. Northward, Bexley Ranch and Asturia are adding new subdivisions, with single family homes and apartments.
And, Mystic Pointe is a new apartment complex under construction at Meadowbrook Drive.
Published January 10, 2018
DQ Grill & Chill is nearly ready for its debut at Ballantrae Village Shoppes. By mid-March, franchise owner Carlos Saenz plans to host a grand opening.
Meanwhile, Saenz has had to watch hopeful customers slowly steer their vehicles into the drive-through lane on a daily basis.
It’s disappointing not to at least have a Blizzard or an ice cream cone to hand out, said Saenz.
But, he isn’t surprised at the response from people eager to try a new restaurant.
DQ Grill & Chill is located at 17826 Aprile Drive, off Ballantrae Boulevard and State Road 54.
More than 50,000 vehicles travel up and down the state road. Ballantrae Village Shoppes sits at the entrance to the master-planned community of Ballantrae, north of U.S. 41.
Further north, Bexley Ranch and Asturia are among new subdivisions populating the state highway. To the south, Long Lake Ranch homes are for sale. More retail and commercial are popping up where cows once grazed.
At Ballantrae Village, Circle K is nearly built. In addition to Dairy Queen, the approximately 17,000-square-foot shopping plaza will have T-Mobile, Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts. Other parcels are available.
The activity up and down State Road 54 is a prime reason that Saenz, and his wife Pam, took a deep dive into a new venture – as fast-food restaurant owners.
“We think we’re in a great spot,” said Saenz. “Three years ago, this area was probably a five or six (on a scale of 10). I think we’re at a nine or 10, with the amount of homes and traffic.”
The Saenz’s live in the Oakstead subdivision with their 14-year-old daughter, Madison. Pam Saenz is a Pasco County teacher.
Carlos Saenz is stepping away from a long career in the insurance industry to open his first Dairy Queen. A second franchise in Hudson is possible.
When Saenz researched restaurant franchises, he zeroed in on Dairy Queen for a personal reason. He grew up in Puerto Rico, but as a middle school student moved to Kissimmee, Florida.
His first fast-food meal was at a Dairy Queen on U.S. 192. “It’s still there,” Saenz said.
He feels many others also feel nostalgic about a restaurant that began in 1940. Back then, it sold burgers, hot dogs, fries, Peanut Buster parfaits, Dilly bars and ice cream cones.
Dairy Queen celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2015. The company boasts of more than 1,560 DQ Grill & Chill restaurants in 46 states.
Saenz said Dairy Queen, in recent years, has kept its traditional menu items, but also modernized to keep up with the times. The DQ Grill & Chill concept started nearly two decades ago.
The old favorites are still there, but chicken strip baskets and sandwiches and honey-flavored barbecue have been added. DQ rotates some items in and out, including a recent Kansas-style pork sandwich on pretzel bread and a Philly cheesesteak.
Customers are now described as “fans.”
Dairy Queen supports community-based charitable events. Saenz said the company supports a national campaign to collect donations for the Miracle Children’s Network. However, money collected locally stays in the community, he said.
He anticipates sponsoring special “spirit night” events for area schools, with a portion of proceeds benefiting each school.
A grassy area near the outdoor patio could be gated off as a kind of dog park. Saenz said he expects foot traffic from nearby Ballantrae homes, and people will want to bring their pets.
“We’re going to be partners with the community and engaging with schools,” Saenz said.
Published March 1, 2017
When people talk about the global economy, they’re not just talking about deals that take place overseas.
Florida already plays a sizable role in international trade, and Pasco County companies are showing an increasing interest in attracting global customers.
About 100 people turned out to learn more at “Growing Global,” a half-day international exporting conference hosted by the Pasco Economic Development Council on Feb. 10.
The conference, held at the Residence Inn in Land O’ Lakes, featured speakers from international countries and business experts who provided information aimed at helping companies understand the markets, and also to help smooth the way for those interested in exporting goods and services.
Pasco County is increasingly part of the global market, said Bill Cronin, president and CEO of the Pasco EDC. “It (international trade) is not reserved to those big cities, like Orlando and Miami.”
The conference attracted business owners, Pasco County officials and representatives of the Small Business Development Center at the University of South Florida, Enterprise Florida, Tampa Bay Export Assistance Center and Pinellas County Economic Development.
Representatives from Canada, France, Germany and Mexico were there, too. They made sales pitches extolling reasons to do business with their respective countries.
They also shared data on imports and exports that already generate billions of dollars in global trade.
Louise Leger, acting consul general of Canada, reported that total trade between Canada and Florida is about $8 billion annually.
Canada is the No. 1 source of tourism to Florida, Leger said.
About one in nine Canadians visit annually and spend a total of about $4 billion.
Canada employs about 27,000 Floridians in 300 companies located in the state, including Circle K and TD Bank.
With the exchange rate currently favoring the stronger U.S. dollar, Leger said now is a good time to invest in Canada. “We are there to help you be successful, whether it is here or in Canada,” Leger said. The consulate is located in Miami.
Max Stewart, regional manager of Enterprise Florida, touted the state agency’s upcoming trade missions to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico City.
“This is the time to be thinking internationally,” he said. “The U.S. is really, really strong in this market.”
Trade missions can open doors to foreign markets more quickly, Cronin said. “It allows our companies to get a lot more exposure than they would otherwise get,” he said.
While the focus often is on products, Cronin added that services also are a growing segment of global trade.
Not everything sold overseas has to be something that gets “thrown in a box. A lot of people don’t recognize that,” Cronin said.
A brief panel discussion highlighted some challenges of doing business overseas including paperwork, obtaining work permits and cultural sensitivities.
The panel showcased local businesses: Earthworks Environmental, in Safety Harbor; York Bridge Concepts, in Lutz; and TwinStar Optics, in Port Richey.
“You need to have a strategy,” said Jonathan Brewer, owner of Earthworks Environmental, which specializes in soil cleanups. “It’s not going to happen overnight.”
Peter Thomas of TwinOptics makes opticals for laser-based weapons that require government approvals. “We worry about it being a weapon against the United States. A lot of time, we wait on (federal) government to get back to us.”
James York, of York Bridge Concepts, said companies that want to trade globally should “bring something unique to the table and, at some point, they (trade partners) are going to say ‘Hey, we need that’.”
York Bridge Concepts specializes in timber-built bridges for golf courses, trails and residential developments. The company began more than 30 years ago in Tampa, but moved to Lutz in 2008.
“We work in a global environment,” said Gil York, the company’s director of international development and public relations. “It’s irrelevant where you are located. It’s how you market your business.”
Published February 17, 2016
New retail is headed to State Road 54 in Land O’ Lakes, as Dunphy Properties prepares to start construction on the first shops at Ballantrae Village.
A groundbreaking is expected in January for a Circle K, a Dairy Queen, a Dunkin’ Donuts and a Taco Bell on outparcels on the northeast corner of State Road 54 and Ballantrae Boulevard, according to a news release from Dunphy Properties.
An additional four parcels are on the market, and a 13,200-square-foot building also is planned. Tenants have not been signed as yet.
New access is planned to get into and out of the shopping plaza.
Plans for retail at the master-planned community of Ballantrae Village has been slow in developing largely due to the economic downturn in 2007 and a slow recovery. But growth is gathering steam, especially along State Road 54.
“Retail development follows residential growth,” Jim Dunphy said in an email to The Laker/Lutz News. “The economy has picked up enough that we’re seeing explosive residential growth in the (State Road) 54 corridor. In addition, the long awaited widening of (State Road) 54 is underway further fueling interest in the area.”
Dunphy Properties is developing the commercial plaza on about 17 acres owned by the Aprile brothers. The plaza will be on the north side of State Road 54 and east of Ballantrae Boulevard.
The Circle K will be on the west end of the site, with Dairy Queen on the east end.
Bexley Ranch property is under construction to the north of Ballantrae Village.
According to the Ballantrae website, the community has more than 960 homes and more than 3,000 residents.
“Ballantine Village Shoppes is in the center of the growth,” Dunphy states in his email. “Many of the existing residents have done without retail, restaurant and service amenities for a long time. We are now positioned, with the additional residents and promised growth, to provide these shops and services. We are excited to be bringing this project together.”
Published October 28, 2015
When he was running for office, Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore heard a recurring theme: Do something about the blight.
The county, like many other Tampa Bay communities, suffered from the recession, and voters told Moore they wanted something done about neglected buildings.
But a proposed ordinance that would set minimum standards for maintaining commercial buildings is stirring controversy in at least one community – Land O’ Lakes.
About 50 Land O’ Lakes’ business owners and residents met on Aug. 19 with Moore and Assistant County Attorney Kristi Sims to air out their concerns about what they see as government overreach.
“This just feels like more cotton-pickin government, and I’m tired of that,” said Russell Adams, owner of Russell Adams Realty Inc.
The ordinance came up during a recent workshop where Pasco County commissioners met publicly to discuss the 2016 fiscal year budget. A public hearing and a vote by commissioners on the ordinance will be scheduled in the future.
The ordinance is similar to one adopted in Hillsborough County nearly six years ago, and mirrors codes currently applied to residences. It also reflects the best-practice standards recommended by the International Property Maintenance Code.
County code currently defines a blighted structure and criteria for ordering an owner to tear it down unless repairs are done. Or, the county can tear down structures and place liens on properties.
What’s new about the proposed ordinance is that it introduces citations and fines for failure to maintain commercial structures to public safety standards. Examples include weather-tight windows and exterior doors, properly anchored awnings, and peeling or flaking paint. After 30 days, buildings with boarded up windows or doors must be repaired, or fines will be levied.
“Ninety percent of the proposed ordinance is safety-related,” said Sims. “Ten percent is aesthetics-related.”
Current code allows a maximum of $500 per violation plus costs. Jail time, not to exceed 60 days, also can be imposed, or both a fine and jail can be levied.
The process can be lengthy and includes warning notices prior to issuing citations. There also is an appeals process.
According to Moore, the ordinance is intended to fill in gaps in the county’s code enforcement toolbox.
Moore is pushing for additional money in the 2016 budget to hire more code enforcement officers. An initial suggestion of four new hires is now down to two, but an expanded staff would begin to address code enforcement issues along major corridors such as U.S. 41, U.S. 19 and possibly U.S. 301.
Fines imposed on property owners on these state-maintained roadways, however, would go to the state, not the county.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, who came to the meeting to give a crime update, said the ordinance could be an additional tool for his deputies in clearing abandoned buildings, which attract criminal activity. He cited U.S. 19 as an example.
“We’re constantly going back,” he said. “You arrest them, and somebody takes their spot. We need this tool to get the blighted areas in U.S. 19. It’s not a (U.S.) 41 issue. It’s a county ordinance.”
Moore also reassured those at the meeting that the measure would be countywide and not solely focused on Land O’ Lakes.
“Everybody’s business looks great to me,” he said.
Moore said area Realtors were among those who asked for assistance in ridding blight on the county’s major corridors including U.S. 41.
“I have people in the real estate business who have trouble selling their properties,” he said. “They think this (ordinance) will help.”
He also cited a petition maintained by the Land O’ Lakes Beautification Effort, which on Facebook gathered nearly 600 signatures. The petition, addressed to Moore and Pasco County Code Enforcement, seeks tree plantings and a cleanup of blight from the intersection of U.S. 41 and State Road 54 up to the community of Connerton.
The list on the group’s Facebook page includes Land O’ Lakes’ residents as well as a few from Lutz. Some on the list are “anonymous.”
The petition rankled many at the meeting. They said it was not representative of Land O’ Lakes residents or business owners. When asked, no one at the meeting raised a hand to show they had signed the petition.
People at the meeting were local residents and many were long-time business owners, said Casie Holloway of the family-owned Holloway’s Farm Supply. She organized the meeting.
“We are a tight community,” she said. “Many of us have been here forever. This road is steeped in history.”
Preserving history, and also holding on to their businesses, was a major concern. Many expressed fear that if a fire or hurricane destroyed their businesses, the county would hinder rebuilding, and impose current building codes.
That would either be too costly or impossible to meet, they said.
Maryann Bishop of Bishop Construction said she dealt with rebuilding issues after a fire “and went through this with the county for three years.”
Others also expressed dismay with similar county experiences.
Sims and Moore explained that those were building code issues unrelated to the proposed new code enforcement rules. But no one seemed swayed.
Some said they saw signs of rebirth along U.S. 41, citing the recent purchase of Land O’ Lakes Plaza by Circle K. The fuel and convenience store chain plans to build a new store.
“Land O’ Lakes Boulevard is coming back,” said Harry Wright, owner of Hungry Harry’s Family Bar-B-Que. The meeting took place under a tent on his property.
He said other developers in coming months could begin buying up vacant properties for redevelopment.
“Ya’ll (should) maybe look at taking it a little slower…I think we could naturally work out of it,” Wright said.
Published August 26, 2015
Circle K is the new owner of the Land O’ Lakes Plaza, a nearly 50-year-old shopping center along the busy commercial corridor of U.S. 41, at Hale Road.
The plaza, built in 1966, is considered to be Land O’ Lakes’ first shopping center. Today, the approximately 2.4-acre plaza is occupied mostly by mom-and-pop enterprises including a barbershop, a liquor store, a café, a nail salon and an antique shop.
The $1.55 million sale between the plaza’s owner, A & M Somerset Inc., and Circle K closed about two weeks ago, according to Georgia Watson, a broker with Grimaldi Commercial Realty Corp. She represented A & M Somerset in the transaction.
“It was purchased as an investment,” Watson said. “It was purchased strictly to redo the property. The whole shopping center will be demolished.”
Circle K has filed a conceptual plan with Pasco County’s planning department for a 5,000-square-foot Circle K store with gasoline pumps and a car wash. Currently there is an older Circle K and Shell gas station at U.S. 41 and Hale, immediately north of the plaza.
County records show Circle K General Inc., bought that adjacent corner site in 1987. The property was sold in 2004 to RI CS2 LLC, but continued to operate as a Circle K store and gas station. Development plans filed with the county do not show what will happen to the existing Circle K.
Circle K representatives could not be reached for comment.
The trend in recent years is for brands, such as WaWa, Thorntons and Circle K, to build modern, more trendy gas and convenience stores, Watson said.
WaWa representatives had looked at the site, she said, but didn’t pursue a contract. “This (Circle K) seems to be the best fit.”
The new development is a welcome addition, Watson said.
“Land O’ Lakes has kind of been behind Wesley Chapel, Lutz and Odessa. They are growing much faster than we are,” she said. “It’s nice to see some good activity going on.”
Published May 20, 2015
Drivers on State Road 54 going by 7-Eleven on Livingston Road may have noticed the 7-Eleven signs are gone.
The corporate parent of the convenience store chain, 7-Eleven Inc. — through its Southland Corp. affiliate — sold the 27-year-old store late last month to Sailfish Real Estate LLC of Brandon. The owner of that company, William McKnight, owns several convenience stores around the region, primarily using Circle K branding.
McKnight owns the much larger Automated Petroleum and Energy Co., which purchases and leases convenience store locations all over the state. The company requires entrepreneurs looking to lease to attend a mandatory 12-day training class, according to the company’s website.
It’s not clear how McKnight will handle the new location, except that it will no longer be a 7-Eleven. McKnight has yet to return a request for comment from late Wednesday morning.
The sale by 7-Eleven was part of a national effort to cut ties with 75 7-Eleven stores.
“There are many nice sites in this package that simply do not fit 7-Eleven’s current business model,” company vice president Robbie Radant said in a release last May. “All of these stores have solid merchandise sales, and should provide good opportunities for the right buyers.”
The store and land sold for $750,000, compared to the $225,000 Southland paid for vacant land back in 1986. Back then, State Road 54 was just two lanes, and far less competition was nearby. Now, however, a RaceTrac is located on just the other side of Livingston.