Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Slide Show of New Tampa and Wesley Chapel in 2007

There's been a lot going on in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel in 2007. I have compiled a slide show for 2007.

Click on the photo below. (Music is provided.)

Monday, December 24, 2007

New Tampa and Wesley Chapel -- 2007 A Year in Review


Probably the biggest news this past year was the groundbreaking of three major malls in Wesley Chapel; the Grove, Cypress Creek Town Center, and Shops at Wiregrass. Part of Phase I of the Grove has opened, the Shops at Wiregrass has plenty of steel up, and Cypress Creek Town Center trails the three in construction, with earth movement still underway. With the opening of these three malls in 2008, we will see around 3 million square feet of retail space in our part of town, including two movie theaters.

Ground was broken in 2007 for smaller strip malls along Bruce B. Downs in Wesley Chapel, including the Shoppes of Wesley Chapel (BBD) and the Shoppes at Meadow Pointe—future home of Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

The July approval of the 5,000 acre residential community of Wiregrass at S.R. 56 and BBD made big news too; however since the approval there seems to be little physical evidence of the project moving forward so far.

Additionally, partial approval by Pasco County was granted for the 1,700 plus acre, Epperson Ranch project, and then Lennar sold it!

The widening of CR 54 in Wesley Chapel is well underway and long overdue. The improvements at the intersection of County Line Road and Bruce B. Downs are expected to be completed in January. The new flyover ramp for I-75 at BBD began and we now see the placement of huge beams over Bruce B. Downs.

The widening of Bruce B. Downs (Pasco Co.) from County Line Road to 54 was delayed and now is supposed to start in January 2008; additionally, the extension of S.R. 56 from Bruce B. Downs to Meadow Pointe Blvd. should begin soon too. The intersection of Bruce B. Downs and S.R. 56 will become the largest in Pasco County when completed.

Threats by Hillsborough County Commissioners to place a toll booth on Bruce B. Downs at the county line with Pasco County appear to have gone nowhere. It seems that commissioners of Hillsborough County felt that they should get some funds from Pasco Co. for the Hillsborough County widening of Bruce B. Downs from Pebble Creek to County Line Road. So far, not a dime has been reported as a contribution by Pasco County for Hillsborough County’s road widening of BBD.

The widening of a large portion of Cross Creek Blvd. in New Tampa was completed and additional traffic lights installed. The road to nowhere (Kinnan Rd.) in New Tampa was built and never connected to Mansfield Blvd., in Wesley Chapel (Pasco Co.).

East - West Connector in New Tampa: This proposed 3.1 mile toll road is supposed to connect Bruce B. Downs to I-275 if it ever gets built. The Florida Turnpike Authority wanted nothing to do with it saying it would be the most expensive toll road in the entire state of Florida. Private companies offered to build it, but wanted to charge a starting toll up to $2.75 in its first year with increases thereafter. Last heard, the Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority was trying to reduce the amount of the toll by narrowing the proposed road in order to lower the construction cost. That road narrowing would require lowering the speed limit to 55 mph.

The I-75, Bruce B. Downs Flyover ramp construction began and we now see huge girders in place over BBD. I hope they used good superglue!

The 80 bed UCH/Adventist Health Systems hospital is proposed to be built on Wiregrass Ranch. Its approval by the state is being contested by competing hospitals that were denied their Certificates of Need. Once construction starts, it is estimated that it will take three years to complete.

Construction of an over 19,000 square ft. community center and a Skate Park in Tampa Palms began and the community center should open in January 2008.

The $7.7 million, 5,000 seat Pasco National Tennis Center to be built in Wesley Chapel, got the green light from county commissioners.

The first phase of the 143 acre Wesley Chapel District Park opened in July and Wesley Chapel celebrated its first annual “holiday tree” lighting. A New 232 acre New Tampa Nature Park at Dona Michelle Dr. was also announced.

The Hampton Inn, announced this past March for Wesley Chapel at S.R. 56 & I-75 is slated to open in February, 2008.


Lifepoint Church in New Tampa purchased the former Winn Dixie on Bruce B. Downs and converted the building to its church, and Cypress Point Community Church built its new church on Morris Bridge Road in New Tampa.

TV’s Supernanny filmed in Wesley Chapel this summer. In September, sextuplets were born to the Bylers who reside in Wesley Chapel. The Byler sextuplets were the first sextuplets born in Florida.

Inventories of homes for sales remained high in the area much like most of the rest of the country. Sellers needed to accept that the peak home values of 2004 and 2005 were something of the past and had to adjust their list prices accordingly if they wanted to sell.

Cafe Fresco and Bakery Opens in Wesley Chapel

Cafe Fresco and Bakery opened today. This is a family owned restaurant, and while there I spoke with James Foggett who owns the new restaurant along with his son Chris. The restaurant and bakery serves breakfast until 11:00 a.m. and also offers a lunch menu with soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and pizzas. The restaurant and bakery has fresh baked goods and also plans to offer a brunch. The family lives in Wesley Chapel and Land O Lakes, so stop by and support our neighbors! Location: Cypress View Square at 27209 S.R. 56, in Wesley Chapel, FL. Phone (813) 333-1200 Website:

Note: Closed Christmas day.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wesley Chapel Hampton Inn and Suites to Open

Wesley Chapel's newest hotel, the Hampton Inn and Suites is scheduled to open in February, 2008. Located on S.R. 56 @ I-75, the hotel is located next to a nature preserve and will have a heated pool. Rooms will have free high speed wireless internet access, and flat screen LCD high definition TV's.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

New Exit Ramps at Tampa International Airport

If you are picking up friends or family from Tampa International airport, be advised that they have opened up two new exit ramps at the airport today. Pay close attention to the signs when exiting.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Principal named for Veterans Elementary School in Wesley Chapel

Donna Busby has been named as the principal for Veterans Elementary School in Wesley Chapel. Busby has been principal at Moon Lake Elementary School since 2002. Currently under construction, the new Wesley Chapel elementary school will open in August of 2008.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Buffet at Saddlebrook in Wesley Chapel

Tropics Restaurant at Saddlebrook Resort will be offering a Christmas Buffet from Noon to 8:00 p.m. The buffet will have a carving station---Steamship of Beef with a Cypress Salt Crust, Cedar Plank Seabass, Sweet Chile Glaze; Sushi, Shrimp, and Ravioli Stations, along with much more. $42.95/Adult, Children ages 5-12 $18.95. Reservations required: (813) 907-4441.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I 75 Lane Closures in New Tampa

The left lane will be closed on both northbound and southbound I-75 from the Hillsborough River (north of Fletcher Avenue, Exit 266) to just north of the Bruce B. Downs Boulevard (County Road 581, Exit 270) interchange from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Friday (December 16-21) nights.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New River Elementary School

The New River Elementary School plans to move into the new building in February. Currently the school is in temporary housing at Sand Pine in Meadow Pointe, and I am sure that residents of New River Township and the surrounding area will be happy when the new building opens after Presidents Day in February, 2008.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cory Lake Isles CDD Meeting

The "Reserve Committee" of the Cory Lake Isles CDD will hold a meeting on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 at 9:30 a.m. at the Beach Club. The public is welcome.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Lutz Celebrates Christmas in the Park

On Tuesday, December 11, 2007, neighboring Lutz will celebrate Christmas In The Park. It will be held at the Bullard Train Depot Park (US 41 & Lutz Lake Fern Rd.) from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The festivities will include a tree lighting, holiday music, free refreshments and of course Santa!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Night Closings of Bruce B. Downs under I 75 and Detour Have Ended

The night closings of Bruce B. Downs under I - 75 and detour have ended. Only the right lane will be closed on Bruce B. Downs Wednesday from 8:30 p.m. to Thursday 5:00 a.m. and traffic will not be detoured.

Epperson Ranch Planned Development SOLD and other Projects Quiet!

At a time when builders all across the country are experiencing significant losses, I guess it isn't surprising that Lennar has sold all its interests in the Epperson Ranch project. The Tampa Tribune reports the 1,742 acres and the 3,905 homesites that Lennar recently secured with Pasco County and regional planners have been sold to Metro Development Group.

The project commitments for the realignment of Curley road and the Town Center pass on to Metro.

Additionally, the "silence has been deafening" on the residential portion of the approved massive 5,000 acre Wiregrass Ranch project in Wesley Chapel. The commercial development of the Shops at Wiregrass is progressing and I am usually very surprised at the progress when I stop by.

It also has been a while since I have heard anything regarding the 2,000 acre residential development of Bella Verde in nearby San Antonio, FL.

Lastly, Coldwell Banker recently quietly closed its Tampa Palms office.

I guess all signs of the times!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tampa Palms Market Analysis

Tampa Palms, considered by many to be New Tampa's most prestigious community, currently has 88 single family homes listed for sale in our local MLS. List prices range from $222,000. for a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home with 1,883 square feet to $2,990,000 for a 6,790 sq. ft (heated & cooled) pool home with six bedrooms, six full bathrooms and 2 half baths which was built in 2004.

Tampa Palms is about to undertake an upgrade to some of the common areas and will likely convert its famous blue tiled and gold entryway signs to black granite with gold lettering.

Below is a chart depicting the sales in Tampa Palms for single family homes for November, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Wesley Chapel's First Annual Tree Lighting

Controversy over whether to call the celebration a Christmas tree celebration or a Holiday tree celebration in Wesley Chapel is not unique to the community. It is an issue faced by many communities and organizations. The Wall Street Journal has a VIDEO regarding the issue. Click on this link for for the VIDEO.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Round Two in Cory Lake Isles Homeowners v. Cory Lake Isles Property Owners Association

Today, the Tampa Tribune reports that the attorney for the Cory Lake Isles Property Owner’s Association denied points made in a suit filed by some Cory Lake Isles homeowners, seeking financial documents relating to maintenance and operating expenses. The Tribune added that the association did not file a motion to dismiss the suit. Link

Stay tuned for round three in this match! "Ladies and gentlemen, let's rumble!"