Monday, December 29, 2008

PACA Announces January Meeting

Rep. Will Weatherford is scheduled to address the Pasco Alliance of Community Associations (PACA) on Thursday, January 08, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Land O Lakes Community Center--5401 Land O Lakes Blvd., Land O Lakes, FL.

January 5, 2009 UPDATE: Due to the special budget session of the state legislature, Rep. Will Weatherford will not be speaking. Pasco County Commissioner Michael Cox will be the featured guest this week:

Cox will detail county spending and answer questions from residents during a meeting open to the public and media on Thursday.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lennar Corp. 4th Quarter Results

Lennar Corporation, one of the nation's largest new home builders reports today 4th quarter 2008 net losses of $811 million, with deliveries down 36% and new orders down 46%.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Parkview Homes

After a series of builders with local presence either have ended up in bankruptcy or have departed the market, James Thorner of the St. Pete Times today writes about Parkview Homes' predicament. Parkview has presence locally in Country Walk, in Wesley Chapel. Full Story

Creation of Meadow Pointe V Community Development District

Public notices of plans for the contraction of Meadow Pointe III and Meadow Pointe IV Community Development Districts, and the creation of Meadow Pointe V have recently been published in the newspaper.

Of course the obvious question is why is there a need to carve out a separate community development district from MP III and MP IV in Meadow Pointe?

Pasco Co. representatives were not available today when I called because they were at the Board of County Commissioners meeting. More info to follow when I get a better understanding of this.

Copies of the petitions are available for inspection at the Development Services Offices, Growth Management/Zoning Department, West Pasco Government Center, in New Port Richey. (727) 847-8140. The public hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on January 6, 2009 at the Pasco County Courthouse.

Note: December 17, 2008 Update: Upon review of the application and petition for the creation of MP V, it appears that it will consist of 149+ acres along Meadow Pointe Blvd. in the general vicinity of where SR 56 will connect to MP Blvd. 941,800 sq. ft. of commercial space and 393,200 sq. ft. of office space. For details contact the Growth Management Offices of Pasco Co.

Salvation Army Thrift Store

The Salvation Army Thrift Store under construction on CR 54 (west of I-75) in Wesley Chapel is targeting February 7, 2009 for an opening date.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cafe Istanbul coming to New Tampa

Sign announcing Cafe Istanbul in the former Cafe Parisienne location on Cross Creek Blvd., in New Tampa. No opening date at this time.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Grand Opening of Regions Bank in New Tampa

Regions bank in New Tampa is having its Grand Opening today from 10:00 to 2:00 p.m. Free food and drinks; Moonwalk and face painting for the kids and drawings for adults! Located at 6202 Commerce Palm Blvd. next to the "new" CVS in Tampa Palms. (813) 972-2131.

Friday, December 12, 2008

In Desperate Times, Home Sellers Resort to Desperate Tactics

Home sellers are now resorting to desperate tactics to sell their homes, from Smudging to Voodoo!! Watch the video!:

While there are no statistics to show how successful these measures are, I suspect more traditional approaches when taken seriously, are ultimately the reason that a home sells. ie. Price, condition of home and its showing appeal, availability for showings, etc.

Oh, and one more thing. It has become increasingly more difficult for real estate agents to schedule showing appointments. So many real estate agents now have become "part time" and it can take two or three days to get a call back when I call for showing appointments. Of course the home owners have no idea that their home doesn't get shown because of poor response from the listing agent who may be working full time as a barista in a coffee shop without them knowing. With so many homes on the market, when calling to schedule showing appointments, often times I just have to move on to other homes to show when I can actually speak to the listing agent to schedule the showing appointment!

Christmas without snow in Florida Video

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Foreclosures To Be Included in Determining Property Values by County Appraisers

County Property Appraisers are now planning on using foreclosures to determine property values. While this may mean a lower assessed value on your home in the future, it may not translate into lower property taxes. Full Story

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

New Tampa Home Market Report For November

Our local MLS reports that 44 single family homes sold in New Tampa in November, 2008. Sold prices ranged from a low of $145,000 for a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom Cross Creek home to a high of $545,000 for a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom, pool home in Grand Hampton.

There are 512 single family homes listed for sale in New Tampa in our local MLS with prices ranging from $96,900 for a bank owned home to $2,999,000 for a Tampa Palms home on 10+ acres.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tampa Home Sales in October --Mixed Results

The home sales reported in October for Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater provide some mixed results. While the volume of homes reported sold in October, 2008 shows an 11% increase over 2007, sold prices are down 26% from the previous year. Florida Detail

Monday, November 24, 2008

Josephines Authentic Soul Food Restaurant To Open

Josephine's Authentic Soul Food Restaurant, our community's newest restaurant is scheduled to open on Friday, November 28, 2008. The New Tampa owners, Tony (pictured & with 26 years of restaurant experience) and Lisa Herlong live in Live Oak Preserve. Tony says the new restaurant is named for his mom, and the menu features fried chicken, baked chicken, pork chops, whiting fish, pot roast, ribs, and meafloaf dinners along with side dishes and desserts. Catering also is available. Open M-Th 10 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Fri. 10:00 to 9:00 p.m., Sat. 10:00 to 9:00, & Sun. 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.

So, when you get tired of shopping at The Shops at Wiregrass this weekend, try out some soul food at Josephine's, just a short drive south of the mall.

Additional info: Address--20729 Center Oak Dr., Tampa, FL, 33647 (Behind Walgreens, between County Line Rd. & Live Oak Preserve) Phone: (813) 929-6767. WIFI available.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Big crowd for The Symphony In Lights Show debut at The Shops At Wiregrass

Crowds at The Shops At Wiregrass mall have been large since it recently opened and Saturday night the center court of the mall was packed with people for the Symphony In Lights Show debut. (The light show continues nightly, thru December.)

Northbound traffic on BBD was bumper to bumper! What a difference a year makes in traffic patterns for shopping!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Suspend Foreclosures

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae announce that they are suspending all foreclosure sales on occupied homes from the day before Thanksgiving until January 9, 2009. Full Story

Changes at Cory Lake Isles

In an election year where change has been the buzzword at the national and local levels, changes are already underway at Cory Lake Isles in New Tampa. Full story by Dong-Phuong Nguyen of the St. Pete Times.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Meadow Pointe News

Just a quick update on some projects in Meadow Pointe:

  • The two new traffic lights in Meadow Pointe (BBD & Aronwood and County Line Road & Aronwood) are now operational.

  • The new CVS/pharmacy at the Meadow Pointe Center on County Line Road is looking to open around the end of January, 2009.

  • Meadow Pointe's newest clubhouse (Meadow Pointe IV) is projecting an opening after Thanksgiving. The amenities at the clubhouse are similar to the MP III clubhouse, ie. clubhouse, sand volleyball, pool, tennis, etc.
  • The construction activity across from Heatherstone on Meadow Pointe Boulevard is for 218 townhomes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pine Needle Art

The New Tampa Arts Festival was held this past weekend and one of the most fascinating art works at the festival was Pine Needle Art by Teri Thompson. If you are looking for a unique and special gift this holiday season from a local (Wesley Chapel) artist, you might consider a piece by Teri. Additional Info: Website

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Tampa Arts Festival on Saturday and Sunday

The third annual New Tampa Arts Festival will be held this weekend. Hours: Saturday--10:00 to 5:00 p.m., Sunday--10:00 to 4:00 p.m. Location: Near the Publix and Grace Episcopal Church in Tampa Palms.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Second Annual Holiday Festival In The Park for Wesley Chapel Scheduled

The Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce has scheduled the 2nd annual "Holiday Festival In The Park" for December 6, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. In addition to the tree lighting, the event will have a children's parade, contests, and musical performances. The event is free and open to the public. Additional info is available on the Chamber's website.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

GTAR releases Tampa average home prices

The Greater Tampa Association of Realtors® recently released the average sold prices for homes reported sold in our MLS in the Tampa area for the month of September in 2008.

New Tampa: $396,822.

Pasco County: $182,144.

Carrollwood: $270,878.

South Tampa: $424,912.

Temple Terrace: $165,427.

Lutz/NW Hillsborough: $322,349.

Wesley Chapel Medical Center

According to reports from The Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times, Wesley Chapel is one step closer to getting its own hospital. The 80 bed, joint venture hospital proposed by University Community Hospital and Adventist Health System was previously granted a certificate of need by the state of Florida. A proposed competing hospital by Baycare was denied its request at that time and filed suit. Now, the judge hearing the case has ruled in favor of UCH and Adventist Health System, clearing a major hurdle.

The planned hospital is proposed to be built on Wiregrass Ranch property, just north of the new Wesley Chapel mall, The Shops at Wiregrass with an estimated cost of $122 million.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Symphony in lights announced for The Shops At Wiregrass

One quarter of a million LED lights, 1,000 watts of sound, and 10 tons of holiday décor combine to create "Symphony in Lights," one unbelievable holiday experience that debuts in Tampa on Saturday, November 22 at The Shops at Wiregrass and runs nightly through December 31.

The twinkling, blinking, ever-moving, computer-programmed extravaganza, choreographed to the holiday music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO), runs four times per evening, every hour on the hour, beginning at 6 p.m. To celebrate the show's kick off on November 22, a concert will be held in Center Court at The Shops at Wiregrass featuring a 10-piece brass band that will play throughout the night. It is free and open to the public.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Heritage Isles Closing Restaurant Kitchen

In a cost reducing measure, Heritage Isles is closing its restaurant kitchen according to the Tampa Tribune. Full Story

Epperson Ranch

The Epperson Ranch project planned for the Curley Road area received approval by Pasco County for a revision to the plan formerly proposed by the previous owner/developer Lennar Corp. I don't believe the new revisions alter the previous plans for a town center and to realign Curley Road to connect to Meadow Pointe Blvd at SR 54. Don't plan on shopping for a new home there anytime soon though. This project is probably a few years away from starting.

November 19 note: See the following blog post by the St. Petersburg Times real estate expert, James Thorner. Story

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Some Scenes From The Opening of The Shops At Wiregrass

The Cookie Mouse and Pasco Superintendent of Schools from storytime at the Barnes and Noble's Preview Party:
This morning from PRINT PINK at The Shops At Wiregrass:

Members of the community can honor their loved ones who've been touched by breast cancer and leave a lasting impression in a tribute that will raise funds to support the American Cancer Society and fight the disease, with The Shops at Wiregrass Print Pink! program. On November 1 & 2, for a $50.00 donation to the American Cancer Society, you receive one clay tile for a personalized message imprint or hand imprint. The colorful 6x6-inch tiles will be signed, glazed and installed at The Shops at Wiregrass.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Excavation for the New Tampa Skate Park Begins

Work has started on New Tampa's Skate Park located at the New Tampa Recreation Center. The skate park is expected to be completed in late April of next year. Photo below is an artist rendering of the park upon completion:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Shops At Wiregrass Slideshow

Don't forget the PREVIEW opening of Barnes & Noble on October 29th from 6:00-9:00 p.m.! Also, The Shops at Wiregrass marks its official grand opening on Thursday, October 30 at 10:00 a.m. when county officials and developers cut the ribbon and release hundreds of butterflies to celebrate the change that's come to the area with the opening of the center.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Video of The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel

This video of The Shops at Wiregrass, located at SR 56 and Bruce B. Downs was prepared today! The new Wesley Chapel mall is scheduled to open on October 30th and the three main department stores: JC Penney, Macy's, and Dillard's are already open. The Barnes & Noble bookstore that we anxiously have been waiting for is having its preview party on October 29th from 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Enjoy the video and happy shopping at The Shops at Wiregrass!! (Music is provided in the video so you may wish to adjust your speakers.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Market Update for Country Walk in Wesley Chapel

According to information reported in our local MLS, five single family homes were sold in Country Walk (Wesley Chapel) in the past month. Sold prices ranged from $147,500. to $397,214.

There are currently over 20 Country Walk single family homes listed for sale in our multiple listing service with prices ranging in list prices up to $425,000.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bruce B. Downs Lane Closures Announced

NEW TAMPA -- The left lane will be closed in both directions of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard under I-75 from 9 p.m. Sunday (October 26) to 5 a.m. Monday (October 27). One lane will also be closed on northbound (eastbound) Bruce B. Downs Blvd. under I-75 from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday (October 29 and 30) nights.

2008 Primary Mortgage Origination Study

J.D. Power and Associates has released its 2008 customer satisfaction survey results for mortgage originators and Suntrust Mortgage ranks the highest. If you are thinking about purchasing a home, choosing a lender based strictly on the lowest rate may not be in your best interest.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Friends & Family Preview Party At Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble will be having a Friends and Family Preview Party at The Shops at Wiregrass on October 29th from 6-9:00 p.m. The Special Storytime guest reader will be School Superintendent Heather Fiorentino at 6:00 p.m. with a special appearance by the Cookie Mouse.

Entertainment will be provided by the Wiregrass Ranch High School Saxophone Quartet from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Address: 28152 Paseo Drive, Suite 100, Wesley Chapel, FL 33543. Tel. (813) 907-7739.

*A portion of the evening's proceeds will benefit the Pasco County School Board

Another Local Home Builder Throws In The Towel

James Thorner of the St. Pete Times, reports today that local home builder Tripp Trademark Homes can "no longer afford to sell houses at a loss" and will be exiting the industry. The list of new home builders in our local area who have either filed for bankruptcy or have chosen to leave the business continues to grow. We can only wonder which builder will be next, and there likely will be more.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A scene from today in Wesley Chapel

Today, while checking on a home in The Homesteads of Saddlewood in Wesley Chapel, that I have under contract and scheduled for a closing this week, I came across these three nice ladies who allowed me to snap a photo for this blog. Happy trails to you ladies!

Dillards Opens at The Shops At Wiregrass

Shoppers at Dillard's in The Shops At Wiregrass which opened today. Macy's opens tomorrow and the Mall opens on October 30th.
Check back next week for a NEW slide show of The Shops At Wiregrass.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Silver Ring -- A little bit of Cuba in Wesley Chapel

The Silver Ring Cafe, an institution of Ybor City originally opened in 1947 and sadly closed in May of this year. Ybor's loss is Wesley Chapel's gain however. The Silver Ring recently opened in Wesley Chapel, now offering us their quality Cuban foods such as their famous Cuban sandwich, black beans and rice, Spanish bean soup and Cuban coffee.

Tim Booth (pictured on the left), the owner of the Silver Ring Cafe in Ybor since 1985 and the owner of the recently opened Wesley Chapel Silver Ring says that in the near future meals will be offered such as Yellow Rice and Chicken, Ropa Vieja, Boliche, etc. as well as a catering menu. BUEN PROVECHO!

Additional information: Address: 27427 SR 54 (Wesley Chapel Blvd.), in the Pinebrook Plaza next to Remington's Steakhouse. Phone: (813) 388-6876 Website: Note: The website is not yet updated to reflect the new location in Wesley Chapel.

hhgregg at Market Square in New Tampa

The future hhgregg appliance store at Market Square in New Tampa. I have no opening date at this time.

PACA Announces November Meeting

A Pasco Alliance of Community Associations (PACA) program presentation on “Foreclosures” is scheduled for Thursday, November 13, 2008, at 7:00 pm.

PACA holds monthly meetings at 7:00 pm in the conference room at the Land O’ Lakes Community Center, (5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., Land O’ Lakes FL 34639) PACA website

Monday, October 20, 2008

Beware of U Turns at BBD & SR 56

This week I have seen the police pulling over people making illegal U turns when traveling north on BBD at SR 56, to proceed south on BBD!
This intersection is a bit of a mess right now until they open up the SR 56 extension. Update on October 21, 2008. They opened the extension of SR 56 to The Shops at Wiregrass today, so navigation at this intersection is a bit easier. The No U Turn sign remained at BBD and SR 56.
It should be interesting to see how this intersection works when The Shops at Wiregrass opens on October 30th.

SR 56 Extension

Progress has been made on the first small segment of the extension of SR 56 to The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel. Asphalt is down!

Farther down this future extension at Mansfield Blvd reflects less progress, with Mansfield Blvd. paved, and SR 56 still dirt:
For the last update on the most recent schedule I have received for completion of the different segments: CLICK HERE

Early Voting

Early voting starts today!

Local area early voting locations are:

New Tampa:

10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

New Tampa Regional Library
10006 Cross Creek Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33647

Wesley Chapel:

Monday-Fridays 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Village Market of Wesley Chapel
5325 Village Market
Wesley Chapel, FL 33543

Note: October 29--Effective today and through Saturday, early voting hours in Hillsborough and Pasco Counties will be from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Friday, October 10, 2008

SR 56 Entrance to The Shoppes at New Tampa BLOCKED

This afternoon I noticed that access to The Shoppes at New Tampa at SR 56 was blocked. This forced all east bound traffic on SR 56 and southbound traffic on Bruce B. Downs seeking access to the shopping center to get into the left lane of Bruce B. Downs south of SR 56. Note: traffic backs up in the left lane of BBD south of SR 56. I think this "detour" will be in place for only a few days, but it already was presenting problems and it wasn't rush hour.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Barnes and Noble in Wesley Chapel

The sign's up! According to the Barnes and Noble's Community Relations Manager, when the bookstore at The Shops at Wiregrass opens the end of this month, it will feature a Barnes and Noble Cafe that will serve Starbucks coffee, Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, soups, sandwiches and pastries.

Additionally, the Music & Movies Department will feature the Reddot listening station where customers can listen to 30 second clips of music tracks prior to purchasing the CD.