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Land O' Lakes : Development News

8 Land O' Lakes Articles | Page:

Tampa's East Hillsborough Avenue Attracts Investors, New Shops

East Hillsborough Avenue is attracting new investments -- a women's clothing shop and an as-yet-unannounced regional chain store. 
 
For Ron Harjani, owner of GQ Fashions at 3010 E. Hillsborough, the previous announcement that a Walmart Super Center will open a few blocks away next year is good news. It spurred him to build a 10,000-square-foot building next to GQ to house Fashion Essence, a family-operated women's clothing store. He also will have additional space available for lease.
 
Walmart, however, wasn't a major factor for another development plan.
 
ROI, a commercial property brokerage firm, is working with Florida Design Consultants and JVB Architect on developing a 25,000-square-foot building at the corner of Hillsborough and 32nd Street, next to Harjani's new building.
 
 ROI broker Eric Odum says a regional chain store, in the fashion and beauty market, will be the anchor tenant and occupy about 15,000 square feet.  Another 10,000 square feet is available for leasing.
 
Planning for the project began before Walmart's announced arrival, Odum says. But he says, "The visibility of our location is going to be phenomenal."
 
Design plans are undergoing revisions, Odum says, but construction is expected to begin this summer and take about six months. Funding for the project is from Platinum Bank.
 
Harjani expects to open Fashion Essence within the next month. His contractor is Final Touch Wall Systems with offices in Land O' Lakes and Valrico.
 
The location on Hillsborough is a prime spot, says Harjani. He also is encouraged by the redevelopment he sees in Tampa overall in recent years.
 
Walmart Super Center is scheduled to open, possibly as early as mid-2015, on East Hillsborough on about 12 acres stretching almost from 15th Street, next to VetCare Harris Animal Hospital, to 19th Street, across from McDonald's restaurant. The site was formerly home to Abraham Chevrolet automobile dealership but has been vacant for many years.
 
"Walmart is coming,"  Harjani says. "Hillsborough Avenue is parallel to Interstate 4 and a major thoroughfare going east to west. I personally think it's got a lot of potential."
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Eric Odum, ROI; Ron Harjani, GQ Fashions

Urban Land Institute Visit Examines Pasco County's Growth

Pasco County should redouble efforts to encourage development along north-south U.S. Highway 19 in West Pasco and abandon the idea of building an elevated tollway along the east-west State Road 54/56 corridor, according to preliminary recommendations by a panel of urban experts visiting under the auspices of the Urban Land Institute. 

ULI experts were in Pasco from Oct 7 to Oct 11. The panel was invited by the County to help evaluate its planning efforts since 2008, ULI's last visit.

Much of the ULI panel's visit to Pasco, the county immediately north of more urban Pinellas (Clearwater-St. Pete) and Hillsborough (Tampa) counties was dedicated to private interviews and discussions with the local community, business leaders, county staff and other stakeholders.

The ULI Panel acknowledged that the County has made significant strides since 2008 with the adoption of the Market Areas, Urban Services Areas, the County's Strategic Plan and other improvements. Although the ULI Panel applauded the County's recent planning efforts, it also cautioned Pasco County on several aspects of development.

"Pasco County has approved over 300,000 units for construction, adequate to meet the supply for next 75 years,'' says ULI Panelist Dan Conway. Because approved growth far exceeds market demand, the County should guide new development into designated Urban Service Areas on highways 19 and 54.

Redevelopment efforts along the U.S. 19 corridor should focus on creating Business Improvement Districts, providing redevelopment incentives and seek public-private partnerships to establish a "Corridor Lifestyle'' characterized by high-density mixed-use development within walkable distances from transit stops.

Panelist April Anderson Lamoureux recommends growing the health care sector and small business expansion. The County also should "embrace Eco-Tourism as one of its key development opportunity,'' adds Anderson-Lamoureux.

The ULI Panel recommended against plans to build an elevated tollway on the State Roads 54/56 corridor, connecting U.S. 19 to East Pasco.

"All around the Country there are at least 12 efforts to take down elevated highway structures since the community said they don't want them,'' says Pat Hawley, one of the ULI Panelists, referring to notable projects in cities that are turning highways into vibrant parks.

"You might have the potential to build the tollway but it would in fact impede the County's efforts of creating place making,'' concludes Hawley.

ULI Panelist Dan Slone suggested the County look at the "Highways to Boulevards'' initiative by the Congress for New Urbanism.
 
Lastly, the Panel asked Pasco County to embrace its diversity and cautioned against applying the same design standards throughout the county. The Panel is expected to give a full report within the next 90 days.
 
"ULI's recommendations validate our efforts to make Pasco a premier county,'' says John Hagen, President of Pasco Economic Development Council.
"The Panel may have just pointed us to the true North. I think we need to re-examine the elevated tollway.''

Headquartered in Washington D.C., the Urban Land Institute, is a nonprofit global education and research institute, which provides Advisory Services to communities for solving planning and policy issues.

The panel included economic development, real estate and urban planning experts, both from public and private sectors. On the final day of their visit, panel members presented their initial findings and recommendations at the West Pasco Government Center to a large gathering of nearly 100 people.
   
Writer: Vinod Kadu
Sources: John Hagen, Pasco Economic Development Council

Tampa Spay/Neuter Clinic Moves, Increases Services

If you visit the Animal Coalition of Tampa Spay/Neuter Clinic on Lemon Street on a typical day, you'll see clients braving the summer heat and storms under tents pitched in the parking lot.

Affectionately called the "waiting room,'' the tents are a temporary solution to space issues experienced by the clinic. With an average of 20,000 animals served per year, the clinic has outgrown its 3,000-square-feet space and plans to move to a new building on Gilchrist Avenue on October 9.
 
"We needed so much to come together for the building to be right,'' says Linda Hamilton, the clinic's founder and executive director.

The new building, located four blocks from the current one, was chosen because of its proximity to the existing space (to keep their dedicated staff and clients), large parking area, reasonable rent, ideal size and layout.
 
With the mission of ending unnecessary euthanasia of dogs and cats in Hillsborough County, the Spay/Neuter Clinic first opened in 2006 to provide low cost, high quality spay/neuter services to low-income residents. Since then, services have been expanded to include vaccine packages and even life-saving surgeries.

"It's because of the community's reactions to our services that moving became such a critical need,'' says Hamilton. "People bring in a pet they have saved from the street or a shelter, and they are able to give it a home because of our affordable prices.''
 
The new building will allow ACT to offer pet care classes for the public on topics such as managing feral cats and grieving the loss of a pet. They also plan to utilize more volunteers and loan space to local rescue groups for meetings.

"We want our clients to know that someone is there for them, to help them keep their animals in the home rather than surrendering them to a shelter. The building is in honor of the community, who cares and wants to see unnecessary euthanasia finally come to an end,'' says Hamilton.
 
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Linda Hamilton, ACT Spay/Neuter Clinic

Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel Opens To Patients

After hosting a community grand opening to approximately 8,000 people, Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel opened to patients on October 1st at 7 a.m.

Featuring an 18-bed emergency room with a streamlined emergency room process, dedicated imaging equipment and nurses and board-certified emergency room physicians on-site 24 hours a day, the 200,000-square-foot hospital took 22 months to build.

The hospital was fully staffed with with 175 expert physicians upon opening, practicing in the Emergency Department, Vascular Surgery, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Cardiac Care, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Radiology Services and Imaging Diagnostics, Women's Mammography and Diagnostics, General Surgery, Gastroenterology, Urology and Pulmonary.

In addition, Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel is expected to open a $25 million, 100,000-square-foot, three-story Wellness Center by January 2013.

“This is part of the continuum of care for the Wesley Chapel community,” says Donna Jarmusz, senior VP of business development for Alter+Care, who is overseeing the construction of the Wellness Plaza project. “The hospital will be treating people who need inpatient care for more serious illness while the Wellness Center is part of the hospital's mission and philosophy to help people improve and maintain their health.”

According to hospital spokeswoman Tracy Clouser, the hospital will continue to fill a number of nursing and various staff positions. To apply, visit the hospital's website.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Sources: Donna Jarmusz, Alter+Care & Tracy Clouser, Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel

Land O' Lakes Office Building Adds Executive Suites, Business Club

Copperstone, a professional landmark located in Land O' Lakes, recently made a nearly 4,000-square-foot addition to their facility.

Offering office space in an attempt to help foster small business growth in the Tampa Bay region, Copperstone, located at 3632 Land O' Lakes Blvd. Suite 100, added executive and virtual offices, a business club and an additional conference room to their already 16,000-square-foot facility.

Built in 2005, Copperstone began leasing office space along with a meeting room, reception and common area, full-service kitchen, coffee shop and conference rooms to local businesses. Free parking and a security system are among Copperstone's many high-quality amenities. The facility is now home to 50 businesses.

“This is the sort of concept that the Pasco area really needs as the days of brick and mortar offices are starting to fade away,” says Copperstone VP of Operations Mary Lynn Gorsline. “We offer a high-end, yet affordable alternative to the expensive, traditional office complex."

Located between Wesley Chapel and Trinity, Copperstone's facility offers quick and easy access to major highways and is currently the only office location in Pasco County offering both a full-service business center and executive suites.

Upscale urban architecture featuring wood floors and contemporary lighting welcome clients to the executive suites. Currently, 17 new suites are available for immediate lease or may be rented by the day or hour; small businesses taking advantage of Copperstone's new virtual offices may also rent the executive space.

“We love that the 'big guys' are working right alongside small businesses and pride ourselves in providing professional resources to a variety of businesses right here in Pasco County,” Gorsline says.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Mary Lynn Gorsline, Copperstone

Pasco County Adopts New Mobility Fee, Florida

By a vote of 5-0, Pasco County's Board of County Commissioners recently voted to replace the county's current transportation impact fee with a new mobility fee, covering costs of transportation infrastructure in the area.

"The old system doesn't work well anymore because margins are thinner, it's tougher to get financing, and, really, it just became a huge cost," says John Hagen, president and CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council (PEDC). "The commissioners have been thinking about this in context of what we're trying to do here in Pasco, in general, which is to get more competitive. The whole point of the new fee is to do two things: create jobs and redirect growth in a way that's healthier for the county."

Under Florida state law, Pasco is the first county in Florida to adopt a mobility fee to replace its current impact fee. In addition to funding roadways, the fee extends itself to mass transit, sidewalks and trails while directing growth away from the undeveloped areas of the county and toward planned urban service areas.

"We [the county and the PEDC] have been working on this since 2008, trying to lower fees, streamline the county's regulations and make permitting easier," says Hagen. "We're really trying to make more of a business-friendly atmosphere here in Pasco and it's starting to pay off."

Unlike other local governments in Florida, the development of Pasco County's unique approach allows the mobility fee to be used as an economic development tool: concentrating the fees of office, industrial and hotel development.

"The idea is to keep the growth in the urban areas, keeping the rural areas rural. If we try to move people in a specific direction, it helps preserve green areas while concentrating growth so cheaper public services can be offered-- residents are getting a twofold benefit," says Hagen. "By putting an incentive on certain types of development, we're really upping the ante and I think it's going to make Pasco terrifically competitive in the Tampa Bay area, as well as the southeastern United States."

Along with PEDC, Pasco County's new mobility fee has been endorsed by the Tampa Bay Builders Association (TBBA), the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA), the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: John Hagen, Pasco Economic Development Council


Adventist Takes Over UCH Health Group, Tampa

Hospitals formerly under the University Community Hospital (UCH) umbrella came under new management in September, when the UCH network joined the Christian-based Adventist Health System (AHS).

Adventist Health System committed $125 million in capital investments, $10 million to the UCH foundation and took on UCH's outstanding debts and liabilities. John Harding, former head of ACH's Florida Hospital Heartland, was appointed UCH's new CEO.

"The merger is only a few months old, so it's business as usual as far as everyday hospital activity at our campuses for employees, patients and visitors,'' says UCH spokesperson Will Darnall. "It's been a seamless transition and benefits both entities with UCH being part of a national organization (Adventist) now with 48 hospitals."

Adventist and UCH formed a joint venture in 2007 to build the Wesley Chapel Medical Center on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. They broke ground on the site in December 2010. The medical center is projected to open in 2012. The new 200,000-square-foot facility will have 80 beds to accommodate patients in need of inpatient care.

Other hospitals in the former UCH network include Tampa's University Community Hospital, Pepin Heart Hospital and The Women's Center on East Fletcher Avenue, University Community Hospital, Carrollwood on Dale Mabry Highway, Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital in Tarpon Springs and the Long Term Acute Care Hospital in Land O' Lakes.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Will Darnall, University Community Hospital


One Bay, One Vision: Mega-Meeting To Connect Tampa Bay Leaders

On April 16, leaders from across Tampa Bay will meet to discuss sustainable growth. One Bay, the group hosting the meeting, has deemed the event the Congress of Regional Leaders.

The One Bay Liveable Communities Initiative is a "regional visional process" that grew from the Tampa Bay Partnership Regional Research and Education Foundation. It is committed to long-term thinking and planning to make the seven counties that comprise the Tampa Bay region a thriving and sustainable mega region by the year 2050. The counties included in the initiative are Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota.

The April 16 meeting is a culmination of polls, surveys and workshops that resulted from the Reality Check of 2007. The data collected indicates a need and desire for a more proactive and deliberate approach to planning.

"When we looked at the data, it was interesting because there were common guiding principles across transit, water and environmental areas," explains Betty Carlin, a spokesperson for the Tampa Bay Partnership. "It's telling us these are the things that people think are important. People really don't want to see growth happen as it has in the past. We want to do it differently. So now we have to put community leaders together to share the vision and make it happen."

Dan Mahurin, chairman of SunTrust Bank and chair of One Bay, sees the meeting as a celebrated outcome as well as an exciting launch.

"This event is a celebration of several years of great input and hard work from across the community to develop a shared vision for Tampa Bay. It is also a turning point for us to bring leaders back together to begin planning how we can implement this vision."

The meeting will take place at the Tampa Convention Center from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Betty Carlin, Tampa Bay Partnership; Dan Mahurin, SunTrust
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