Home building is coming back into fashion as the economy shows signs of improving and people are again thinking about the long-range value of owning a home.
recently broke ground on 39 for-sale town homes in North Hyde Park in Tampa and held an open house for Cypress Creek, a subdivision of single-family homes in Ruskin off U.S. Hwy. 19 in the South Shore area.
Homes at Cypress Creek
will start in the mid-$100,00 and will feature energy efficient appliances, low maintenance flooring and maple wood cabinets.
Nearby a new hospital is under construction. And, a planned Amazon distribution center is expected to bring about 1,000 jobs to the area, making Ruskin one of the fastest growing communities in Hillsborough County. According to a recent Gallup poll, many residents want to leave the state where they live but in Florida far fewer say they look for greener pastures elsewhere.
"We know that people love Tampa Bay like we do, and we're committed to making this the ideal place to call home," says Francine Miller, Lennar's director of sales operations.
In North Hyde Park, Lennar's town home development, in partnership with SoHo Capital
, is the first large project in the neighborhood in recent years to specifically target home buyers.
Ranging from about 2,000 to 2,400 square feet, the town homes are expected to be particularly attractive to young professionals, starter families and people looking to down-size from surrounding neighborhoods such as Hyde Park.
Starting prices are anticipated to be about $200,000 to $250,000. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
"We're hoping this will spur even more development in West Tampa and beyond," says Mark Metheny, division president of Lennar Homes.
The town homes are located at West Lemon Street and North Oregon Avenue, next to apartment complexes, NoHo Flats and Vintage Lofts.
The North Hyde Park neighborhood is a critical piece of Mayor Bob Buckhorn's vision for re-inventing Tampa's urban core.
"You're going to see a transformative movement in this city but it starts with projects like this," says Buckhorn. 'We're not going to miss this window. This is going to be a great city."
The mayor envisions a "work, live and play environment" that includes Kennedy Boulevard anchored by the University of Tampa and Tampa General Hospital
. Both are engaged in major expansion projects including TGH's proposal to build a rehabilitation hospital on the long-vacant Ferman autodealership property fronting Kennedy.
But the city's boundaries also will sweep in the proposed Jewish Community Center that will open in a remodeled Fort Homer Hesterly Armory on Howard Avenue, and nearly 150 acres in West Tampa bordering the Hillsborough River.
The redevelopment of Water Works Park and the opening of the Ulele Restaurant in Tampa Heights also are part of the city's transformative master plan. In the same area SoHo Capital owns about 37 acres that is slated for residential and commercial development.
"All of it will complement each other," says Buckhorn. "This (town homes) is part of the mosaic."
Adam Harden, one of the principals in SoHo Capital, agrees.
"I think it's a harbinger that the sale's component's time has really come," he says.
Projects such as the town homes and the developments in Tampa Heights will bring jobs and services to the area. "It also brings the density needed to cascade into surrounding neighborhoods, re-creating a sense of place," Harden says.
Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Francine Miller and Mark Metheny, Lennar Homes; Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn; Adam Harden, SoHo Capital