Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Extension of Kinnan Road in Hillsborough Co. to Mansfield Blvd. in Pasco County

Out of curiosity today I stopped to snap a picture of the Kinnan Rd. extension that was intended to connect to Mansfield Blvd. in Pasco County. I took the picture standing on Kinnan Road in Hillsborough County facing Mansfield Blvd. in Pasco County
The difference between the barriers of the two roads is 22 paces.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Wesley Chapel District Park

The new Wesley Chapel park that is under construction is supposed to open in May, 2007. Driving by the park today (Boyette Road, Wesley Chapel), I snapped a couple of photos. They have started laying the sod.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Groundbreaking for Wesley Chapel Mall Announced for March 8th

Developers for The Grove have announced a March 8, 2007 groundbreaking, putting them in the lead of the Wesley Chapel mall race. With 800,000 square feet, this open air mall is reported to include a sixteen screen movie theater, Best Buy, and a Petsmart.

Wiregrass Mall and the mega-mall Cypress Creek Towne Center have yet to announce a date for their groundbreakings.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Spices of India Grocery in New Tampa

This week I stopped by the Spices of India Grocery in New Tampa. Located in Tampa Palms at 15343 Amberly Drive, this Indian specialty store seems to have it all : fresh produce, frozen foods, canned goods, teas, and spices, etc.

Perhaps the best feature of this store is the owner--Hinal Shingala. What a wonderful lady! Hinal could obviously tell that I was a bit out of my element as I wandered through the store looking at all the different types of foods. In between taking care of a stream of customers, she very nicely introduced herself and explained a lot of the different foods to me.

If you haven't had an opportunity to visit this store, it's worth a visit and I am sure Hinal will be glad to offer her knowledge and assistance.

Hinal Shingala

Spices of India Grocery is located in the same shopping center as Lifestyles.

Store hours are Mon-Sat from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sun-Noon to 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

New Restaurants in New Tampa!

Shane’s Rib Shack Opens in New Tampa:

Located at 17501 Preserve Walk Lane in New Tampa, this 80 seat restaurant features pork sandwiches, barbecued chicken, pulled pork in addition to the ribs. You have your choice of 10 sauces. Shane’s Rib shack has the same three owners as the very popular Moe’s, in New Tampa!

New Restaurant wants your opinion:

Another restaurant to be located in New Tampa is seeking your opinions about what type of restaurant you want it to be! The restaurant will be on Commerce Park Boulevard across from the New Tampa Community Church with plans for an opening in 2008.

To participate in their online survey, go to:

Friday, February 16, 2007

East - West Connector in New Tampa

Presentations by the two bidders for the East - West Connector in New Tampa were met with disappointment by the Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority. The authority was seeking reasonable tolls without subsidies. Instead they received:

1. A proposal by one company seeking "subsidies" from the authority of about sixty five cents to $1.80 per toll.
2. A proposal from the other company calling for a $2.75 toll the first year; yearly increases of $.25 and no subsidies.

The Tampa Tribune further reports that once approved, construction on the East - West Connector could begin in two years and would take two years to build.

For now, it seems that the authority is willing to consider extending the length of the contract for toll collection in order to lower the toll to what they deem to be a more reasonable rate between $1.00 and $1.50 per trip.

Pasco National Tennis Center in Wesley Chapel

The proposed Tennis Center in Wesley Chapel is up for another vote by Pasco County Commissioners on March 13th. Previously the commission gave their nod in a tight 3-2 vote. We now have a different make up of commissioners and it will be interesting to see how things shake out on this $8 million or so center which is to be funded by tourist tax revenues.

The Pasco Tourist Development Council just voted 5-0 in favor of the center. The 5,000 seat stadium, with 15 tennis courts will be located on 24 acres south of Saddlebrook on Wiregrass property. The intent is to draw more tourists to Pasco, yet concerns expressed in the past included a lack of sufficient nearby hotel rooms.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Permit for Extension of S.R. 56 Approved!

SWIFTMUD approved the extension of S.R. 56 from Bruce B. Downs into Wiregrass. The New Tampa Neighborhood News reports that work on the the 3.5 mile extension could begin as soon at late this month or March.

Previous plans that would not have connected the road to Meadow Pointe Boulevard presented problems because the State refused to take over the road unless the connection was made.

A New Wesley Chapel Hospital?

Previous applications by three hospitals with the state for building a hospital in the Wesley Chapel area were denied their CON's. (Certificates of Need) At that time all three indicated that they would be submitting requests again to the state this year.

In an interesting twist, two of the three hospitals have decided to team up with a joint venture to build one hospital. University Community Hospital and Adventist Health System are proposing a 100 bed hospital in Wesley Chapel, although the specific site has not yet been announced.*

*Tampa Tribune

Elementary School Boundaries for Meadow Pointe

The Pasco County School Board, faced with opposition from some Meadow Pointe residents over proposed new elementary school boundaries for next year will meet again on February 20th at the school district offices in Land O Lakes at 6:00 p.m.

Parents may want to consider submitting an application for school choice which must be made before March 1, 2007.

The new Double Branch Elementary school, located on Meadow Pointe Boulevard is scheduled to open in August.

Meeting with Chuin-Wei Yap of the St. Pete Times

For a while now, Chuin-Wei Yap, a staff writer for the St. Petersburg Times and I have been trying to get together. Yap, covers Pasco County development for the Times. I was familiar with Chuin-Wei from his articles in the Times and he was familiar with me from this blog.

We met at the "new" Beef O’ Brady’s in Wesley Chapel at the Shoppes of New Tampa and talked about Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills, Land 'O Lakes, and San Antonio for almost two hours. It was great to talk with someone who also had good knowledge of the areas and exchange thoughts and ideas on the massive growth we are experiencing. It turns out that we have some of the same contacts with Pasco County government for our information.

We covered a lot of topics, including the four planned area malls, Connerton, Watergrass, Wiregrass, Wilderness Lake Preserve, road plans, neighborhood issues, the confusion over S.R. 54, C.R. 54, & S.R. 56, as well as builder incentives on new homes, and home resale values.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Thrift Store Proposed for C.R. 54 across from Lexington Oaks in Wesley Chapel

Many Lexington Oaks residents are unhappy over the likelihood that a Salvation Army Thrift store is planned to be built next to the Hyundai dealership and across from this upscale golf course community in Wesley Chapel. Located on a 3 acre parcel that cost $2.1 million, the proposed 22,000 square foot retail center is up for review by the Development Review Committee on February 22, 2007.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New Tampa & Wesley Chapel

When I created this blog over a year ago, I never realized how active I would be in posting information that I thought of value to the residents and future residents of New Tampa and Wesley Chapel.

Since the creation of the blog I have become a lot more involved in making posts. While a lot of the information is provided by Kevin Wiatrowski of the Tampa Tribune (We must be second cousins), additional information is provided by the St. Pete Times (Chuin-Wei Yap, Phuong Nguyen, & Emily Nipps.), the wonderful Neighborhood News, and the Laker, as well as my contacts with county employees, builders, and developers.

Sure, it is clear that I provide this info with the hopes that anyone interested in buying a home or selling a home will contact me. Additionally, it provides me the opportunity to communicate with other members of the community who view this blog and seek my input.

Previously, I had a post about meeting with the reporters from the St. Pete Times. Lately I have had phone conversations with a firm seeking new business in the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel area and inquiring about my knowledge and contacts for new commercial/retail development. Today, I also had a conversation with an owner of several retail stores in the Tampa Bay area regarding the best timing of the opening of a new store in the Wesley Chapel area. In all these cases, these individuals located me from this blog and contacted me indicating who they were an what their intentions were. Great!

The interaction with the community is always interesting to me, even though it may not have anything to do with the sale of a home. I gladly have provided my professional insight to their questions based on my assessment of the area as long as I am not dealing with an anonymous individual.

On rare occasions, I have received requests for information via e-mail from anonymous individuals that would require extensive analysis and research on my part. I will not respond to anonymous inquiries. I don't know anyone who wants to work for free for an anonymous person. I certainly don't.

While the information provided on this blog is free to all, when I am required to do additional research, I can't accomodate such requests with anonymous e-mail inquiries. Please have the courtesy of telling me who you are and why you are making the inquiry. I think that's fair.

So, keep up to date with New Tampa & Wesley Chapel, by visiting this blog, and reading my posts with the news about New Tampa & Wesley Chapel, and understand that the information I post is to the best of my knowledge at that point in time, and certainly subject to revision!

Monday, February 05, 2007

RattleFish Reef

The number of new restaurants in Wesley Chapel seems to increase almost daily. RattleFish Reef, located on S.R. 54 between Bruce B. Downs and I-75 in Wesley Chapel has opened at the former Cap's Tiki Hut. Specialties include bouillabaisse, mussels, scallops, & shrimp.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

New Tampa's East-West Connector--New Tampa's Yellow Brick Road.

20 years in the making, and under the control of the embattled Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority, will the East-West connector ever be built? The Authority has seen its controversial director resign, a less than glowing state audit, and has repeated calls from state lawmakers to be disbanded.

This 3.1 mile "yellow brick road" is supposed to shave 12 minutes off of a commute from New Tampa to downtown Tampa. It was previously "abandoned" by the Florida Turnpike folks because it would be the most expensive toll road per mile in the entire State. Now it has been "farmed out to bid" with private investors and as I recall the initial bids that came back weren't quite what the Authority was expecting

Today I read in the St. Pete Times that there is a new glitch to this yellow brick road project. It seems that a "tiny" portion of the land necessary to build this thing is under the control of a homebuilder who is developing part of the K-Bar ranch and it seems that we are at a "Mexican standoff". Apparently, the developer is "owed" flood mitigation credits and is in negotiations with Tampa. This road has a projected opening of 2009.

If only we had the Wizard of Oz to help us out!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Cypress Creek Town Center

The proposed major mall on S.R. 56/54 has received approval from SWIFTMUD this past week. The has been a major "cloud" over this massive project. Previously the developers indicated a planned opening for this 1.3 million square foot complex in fall of 2008. I would think that timetable is in doubt. Nevertheless, in my opinion it now seems likely that we will see this mall built!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

New Tampa & Pasco County Real Estate Market Conditions

GTAR has released the information on homes sold in December 2006 for New Tampa & Pasco County as reported in our MLS.

New Tampa had 48 homes sold with an average sold price of $475,339. and Pasco County had 188 homes sold with an average sales price of $273,598.

Note: These figures do not include private home sales and many new homes sold in December.

Overall, sales for the entire Greater Tampa Area in 2006 were down 25% from 2005.