Zephyrhills is hitting its stride as growth and development gain momentum along the traffic corridors of what is now Pasco County’s largest city.
The signs of new growth are everywhere along Zephyrhills’ major corridors including U.S. 301/Gall Boulevard, and State Road 56.
Construction is changing the city’s landscape.
New developments include The District at Abbott Square, a master-planned community behind the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Center, and Abbott Park, a residential community off Dean Dairy Road.
The Zephyrhills Municipal Airport is expanding and there’s new retail at Zephyr Commons shopping complex.
These signal the city’s increasing population.
It grew from more than 13,000 residents in 2010 to more than 17,000 residents in 2020, according to data from the 2020 U.S. Census.
In addition to Abbott Square and Abbott Park, Hidden River and the Links at Calusa Springs also are adding rooftops to Zephyrhills.
“The fact is that the need for housing is just exploding statewide. Tampa is running out of space,” said Todd Vande Berg, Zephyrhills’ planning director. “We were the next logical location.”
The widening of State Road 56 to four lanes opened Zephyrhills to more development, Vande Berg said.
He also noted that city officials have worked to ensure that residential projects were not “cookie-cutter.”
Abbott Square, as an example, will offer one-story villas, two-story townhouses, and will feature three different lot sizes.
“I think people appreciate that. Not all residential is on 40-foot-wide lots like every other development,” he said.
Preserving trees, installing sidewalks and adding trails are highlights of new residential development.
Zephyrhills is building on Pasco’s countywide efforts to attract tourism through an emphasis on sports facilities such as the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis Center.
In coming months, Vande Berg said the tennis center will add dormitories to accommodate increasing interest in tournaments and training opportunities.
The facility also is attracting new residential including the Abbott Square project. The Lennar Homes development, on Simons Road behind the tennis center, will build about 700 residential units of single-family houses, townhouses, and apartments.
Abbott Park, off Kossik Road near Zephyr Commons, is a new residential community by Metro Places.
Summerstone is a new single-family and townhome development, off State Road 56, west of Morris Bridge Road. It is located in Wesley Chapel, just a short distance west of Zephyrhills.
Chipotle’s restaurant recently opened at Zephyr Commons. Planet Fitness had a recent ribbon-cutting. Chick-Fil-A opened, too, on an outparcel of the shopping center on the northeast corner with Pretty Pond Road.
More retail is anticipated. And plans for the site include about 400 residential units.
The Pretty Pond intersection is becoming a hub for Zephyrhills shoppers, who are adding Zephyr Commons to their destinations along with established plazas along Gall Boulevard (U.S. 301), including Merchants Square, Towne View Square Shopping Center, and North Town Center.
On the west side of Gall Boulevard, at Pretty Pond, the former site of Rainbow Court and Brightside Manor mobile home park, is being prepped for new commercial development. A sign planted at the site advertises a coming Radiant gas station and convenience store. A car wash also is anticipated at the site.
Zephyrhills’ downtown, on Fifth Avenue, is enjoying its own commercial revival.
The opening of Zephyrhills Brewing Company in 2016 set the stage for renewed interest in downtown, said Melonie Monson, president, and chief executive officer of The Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce.
“It has been an economic driver,” she said. “It’s brought traffic in on weekends.”
New shops opening within the past year include Vintage Chix, a boutique clothing store; A.O.K., a sports bar featuring axe throwing; and Your Turn, a board game café that serves coffee, sandwiches, pastries, and a choice of hundreds of board games to play.
Tina & Joe’s Café opened recently in the historic Jeffries House, built in 1910 for Zephyrhills’s founder Captain A. B. Jeffries. The café serves salads, sandwiches, lobster rolls and desserts.
Also, Planet Jupiter, a hookah lounge, is “coming soon” to a storefront on Fifth Avenue.
“Our downtown is really growing,” said Monson.
On Gall Boulevard, near downtown, Jerry’s Crystal Bar reopened after being ravaged by fire in 2020.
Checkers on Gall and Culver’s on Eiland Boulevard are new additions to the quick service food options.
The chamber recently hosted a ribbon-cutting for Hoops Heaven, on Chancey Road along the city’s industrial corridor. The indoor training facility offers basketball training for youth in the Zephyrhills and Wesley Chapel area.
Hoops Heaven adds to both Zephyrhills’ and Pasco County’s goal of advocating for sports and ecotourism to build economic growth and bring jobs, Vande Berg said.
“Someone came from out of town and saw a need for youth basketball,” the planning director said.
By Kathy Steele
Published January 05, 2022