Thursday, February 28, 2008

Heritage Isles and its restaurant

Recently, Laura Kinsler of the Tampa Tribune reported that the New Tampa community of Heritage Isles continues to experience losses with the operation of its restaurant. The restaurant is currently run by the same company that runs the Saddlebrook Resorts in Wesley Chapel, and the community has had a series of companies unsuccessful in making the restaurant profitable. Regarding the continuing losses, Kinsler quotes Heritage Isles CDD Chairman, Steve Stark as saying that homeowners are tired of seeing their tax bills (CDD fees) go up to subsidize a failing restaurant and golf club.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Financing Secured for The Shops at Wiregrass

Forest City Enterprises, developer of The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel announced that it has secured a $132,125,000. loan for the second phase of construction of The Shops at Wiregrass. The loan was closed on January 30, 2008 and the mall is expected to open this fall.

Distressed Homes For Sale—Short Sales / Pre-foreclosures, and Bank Owned Properties

This week I attended a seminar presented by the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors ® that dealt with “short sales”, pre-foreclosures, and bank owned properties. The seminar was “sold out” with seating for the 125 realtors® in attendance.

Of course, you have all heard something about “short sales” / Pre-foreclosed homes, and bank owned homes and what a great deal you can get. A few things you may not be aware of:
1. It can take weeks or months to get an answer back on an offer to purchase.
2. The homes are almost always sold “AS IS”. This means, no repairs will be made by the seller.

Click on the photo above for a “SLIDE SHOW” of about 5 local “bank owned / distressed” homes for sale in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel. Now you know “the rest of the story”. Note: One of the homes in the poorest condition shown in the photos, has a list price of $95.00/sq. ft.!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Homes For Sale in New River in Wesley Chapel

The Wesley Chapel community of New River has 20 some homes currently listed for sale in our multiple listing system. List prices begin at $159,900. The largest home is priced at $299,900 with 6 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and has over 2,870 sq. ft. (heated & cooled). These New River homes were built from 2002 to 2005.
*Information from MLS deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The New Starbucks in Wesley Chapel Opens Tomorrow

The new Starbucks in Wesley Chapel located on Bruce B. Downs @ SR 56 (in front of Publix) opens tomorrow at 5:00 a.m.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Tampa Nature Park Update

According to representatives from the Tampa Parks and Recreation Department, work on the new 120 acre New Tampa Nature Park on Dona Michelle Dr. has not started. The project remains in the bidding/contract awarding stage and the permits have been extended until January, 2009. The first phase of the park will include a half mile -12 foot wide, winding asphalt trail connecting the park to Flatwoods Park, a small parking lot for about 24 cars and 2 buses, and some concrete walks. Once started, the first phase should be completed in 240 days.The second phase of this park will include a Nature Center and a Canopy Walk.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

S R 56 Extension

Road construction on the extension of SR 56 from BBD to Meadow Pointe Blvd. could begin as early as March 10th according to local papers. The three mile extension will take up to 18 months for completion. The widening of BBD in Pasco County to S.R. 54 should begin this spring too, making the BBD / SR 56 intersection the largest in the county and reported to be the second largest in the nation, with triple left turn lanes in each direction.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pebble Creek Homes For Sale

Pebble Creek, a golf community in New Tampa currently has over 30 single family homes listed for sale in multiple listing. The homes were built from 1974 to 1997, and have up to 2,800 sq. ft. (heated & cooled).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wesley Chapel Art Festival

Wesley Chapel will hold its first art festival at the Wesley Chapel District Park on April 19th from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Additional information can be obtained from the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce: (813) 994-8534.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Cypress in New Tampa

While much of the attention lately has been on the BIG 3 new Wesley Chapel area malls and New Tampa’s Market Square, another commercial development is underway in New Tampa. The Cypress, located at County Line Rd. and Bruce B. Downs is a planned shopping center with retail and office space. Their site plan shows a 38,000 sq. ft. Sweetbay, a 42,000 sq. ft. LA FITNESS, Hungry Howie's Pizza, Five Guys , and salons.

Ground breaking is expected within the next month and a projected grand opening in March, 2009.

A 2nd Drugstore for Meadow Pointe

Construction on the CVS/pharmacy could begin within a month, making it the second drugstore in this Wesley Chapel community. (A Walgreens is located at the entrance to M. Pointe on BBD.) The store will be located at County Line Rd. and Mansfield, across from the Meadow Pointe II clubhouse in Wesley Chapel. (Photo shown is the CVS drugstore under construction in Tampa Palms on BBD.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Don’t read this out loud in front of the kids!

The St. Pete Times reports that the Chuck E. Cheese's that was reported to go into the Haverty’s and Ashley Furniture store shopping center in Wesley Chapel, is on hold.

The Times further reports that the Texas Roadhouse is under construction in the same shopping center on S.R. 56, east of I-75 with an expected opening in June.

Two Years of Blogging... recently had its second birthday. I remembered yesterday when I was answering questions from another Tampa realtor® who wanted advice on starting a blog. Little did I realize two years ago that this blog would evolve into what it is today!

When I first started this blog, blogging was not well known; certainly not local community/real estate blogging. I created the blog back then because I found it hard to find one source for the latest local information that I felt necessary for a better knowledge of the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel area as a local real estate agent.

My blog posts tend to be “snippets” of the local information that relate to the blog. If I write a post that may have more specific importance to the readers, they have the responsibility to seek out additional details as required. Additionally, the blog has “labels” in the right sidebar where people can find previous posts that relate to the topic, making searches on the blog easier; a feature that I even occasionally use.

The blogging technology has improved significantly over two years. Blogger (Blogspot) got bought out by Google and the formatting on Blogspot has become much easier and more stable. Additionally, the use of new third party formats compatible with blogging, now makes it easier to have more photo enriched concise posts for the reader.

I have found that blogging requires an enormous amount of discipline. (Technorati says that only 50% of bloggers are still posting three months after they start a blog.) Sure it takes some time, but not as much as you would think! It has allowed me to become a resource to the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel community on the latest developments. Surprisingly, two years later, the overwhelming majority of real estate agents still don’t blog. Not yet at least! Many are afraid of the technology and others are not disciplined enough to maintain a blog or choose not to make the time to blog. According to the National Association of Realtors®, only 4% of realtors® blog. (Gee, I have more than one.)

Occasionally I am asked why readers can’t post directly to my blog. Early on I had the feature, but found the effort to police/censor comments to be tedious. You wouldn’t believe what some people would write! I visited some local forums and was horrified over what was posted on them as well. Since I didn’t want to be associated with these types of comments and preferred not to be the censor, I removed the comment feature. I have considered opening up the “blog” to comments again, but remain reluctant. For now, readers can contact me via e-mail or phone; so perhaps is more of a community online magazine dedicated to New Tampa and Wesley Chapel new businesses, real estate issues, road improvements, etc. than a true blog.

Where do the posts come from? I read more than two local newspapers daily, national magazines, speak to local builder representatives regularly and occasionally to county government representatives, and I am a member of real estate social networking sites. Additionally, I have to thank the readers of this blog, because many times YOU are the ones who give me a “tip” on new local stories or developments.

I realize that the length of this post deviates from my usual snippet. Back to snippets after this! Yes, I always keep my camera in my vehicle; I never know what could become tomorrow’s post on this blog!

Russ Perlowski, People’s Choice Realty (813) 494-2124 .

Monday, February 11, 2008

Another Starbucks Opening in Wesley Chapel

A Starbucks with a drive-thru is coming to The Shoppes at New Tampa (BBD at S.R. 56). This will be Wesley Chapel’s second Starbucks and if the unofficial list of stores coming to The Shops at Wiregrass is correct, we’ll have a third later this year. Who would have thought that Wesley Chapel would have three Starbucks?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Hampton Inn and Suites in Wesley Chapel Opens Wednesday

Wesley Chapel’s newest hotel, the Hampton Inn & Suites opens on February 13, 2008. According to David Larson, Managing Partner and New Tampa resident, the new hotel is the tallest hotel in Pasco County (5 floors) and has 56,000 sq. ft. Front Desk Manager, Richie Baldonado provided that the hotel has 94 guest rooms with Hi Def flat panel TV’s and WIFI. Additionally, the hotel has a business center, fitness center, heated pool, and banquet and meeting rooms. The new hotel is located at S.R. 56 & I-75 at 2740 Cypress Ridge Blvd., and their local phone # is (813) 973-2288. Website:

Click on the photo below for a slideshow of the new Wesley Chapel Hampton Inn & Suites.

Thinking about putting your home up for sale?

  • Spring and Summer are typically the best times of the year to sell a home. Since we are in February, now is the time to start preparing your home to put it on the market.
    Start by removing all clutter.

  • Your home will appeal to the most buyers if it has neutral colors, so seriously consider painting those interior rooms that aren’t neutral.

  • Curb appeal is essential. Consider giving your front door a fresh coat of paint and make sure that the landscaping is neat and attractive. If there ever was a time to have the greenest lawn in the neighborhood, this is it! Additionally, your house, driveway, and patios may need to be pressure washed.

  • Assess your interior flooring. Getting carpets and grout cleaned can significantly freshen up your home for those buyers.

  • Clean your home thoroughly. I have never had a buyer complain that a home was too clean!

  • Your kitchen and bathrooms need to sparkle! Some recommend limiting your kitchen counter tops to only one small appliance to present a clutter free impression.

  • Plant some red annuals outside. The color red pops in pictures and with buyers who drive by.

With over 680 single family homes currently listed for sale in MLS for zip code area 33647, and over 775 single family homes listed for sale in zip code areas 33543 & 33544, it is essential that you make your home “the star it can be” before you put it on the market.

Friday, February 08, 2008

East-West Connector in New Tampa--Delayed Again or Doomed?

In my post about the future widening of Bruce B. Downs, on January 16, 2008 I commented that there hadn't been any recent news about the troubled, proposed east-west connector in New Tampa, connecting BBD to I-275. I was expecting the next update to indicate another problem with the proposed toll road.

Sure enough! Bill Coats, of the St. Pete Times provides an update on the rising doubts of this proposed toll road. I don't think even the three witches of Macbeth could put more curses on this proposed road than it has had up to this point. As soon as authorities seem to resolve one issue, another issue/curse appears.

Photo Update on Market Square in New Tampa

Here are a few photos depicting the construction progress on Market Square in New Tampa. The nearby new CVS store looks like it should open soon.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

New Tampa Skate Park Meetings Scheduled

"The City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department is holding two public meetings on the skateboard park planned for New Tampa Community Park. The meetings will be held on Thursday, February 21 and on Friday, March 7 at 6 p.m. at the Compton Park Recreation Center in Tampa Palms, located at 1610 Compton Drive. Anyone interested in this topic is urged to attend the meeting and provide input, share information, and ask questions."

Average Home Sale Prices in Tampa

The Greater Tampa Association of Realtors has released the following data on average home sale prices for December 2007 by area:
  • Brandon: $243,569.
  • Carrollwood: $289,338.
  • Lutz/North West: $350,847.
  • New Tampa: $346,743.
  • Pasco: $231,855.
  • Temple Terrace/USF: $171,265.
  • S. Tampa: $591,808.

Monday, February 04, 2008

January 2008 Home Sales in Wesley Chapel

Historically, January is not one of the peak months for home sales. The chart below reflects the sales of homes reported in our local MLS system for January by community in Wesley Chapel.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Update on the "BIG 3" Wesley Chapel Area Malls

Update on the Big 3 Wesley Chapel Area Malls:

The Grove: Now open at the Grove in Wesley Chapel: Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Toys R Us, Ulta, Bed Bath & Beyond. Opening soon: Michaels, & Petsmart. (See Virtual Tour by clicking on photo Below.) Cobb Theatres are supposed to open this spring too. Access to this mall via C.R. 54 is still a mess. Until that work is more complete it is easier to get in and out of the Grove via Old Pasco Rd. from C.R. 54.

The Shops at Wiregrass is the 2nd of the “big 3” area malls in terms of construction progress. While the residential portion of Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel seems to have stumbled with Pulte withdrawing as the master builder, the Shops at Wiregrass is progressing nicely. I am surprised the owner/developer hasn’t held a press conference to officially release the list of new stores that have signed up for the Shops at Wiregrass. The press has released an unofficial list of stores going in to the Shops at Wiregrass. Click on the photo immediately below for a slideshow of the Shops at Wiregrass:
The Cypress Creek Town Center is the last of the BIG 3 in terms of construction progress, but the largest. It still appears pretty much in the earth moving stages. According to the local papers, recently it was ordered to stop work on at least some portions due to discharging muddy waters into Cypress Creek. Additionally, I believe a suit is still pending by environmentalists.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Green Iguana Coming to Wesley Chapel?

MAYBE. One of this blog's readers e-mailed me that the Green Iguana Bar and Grill was coming to Wesley Chapel. After speaking to one of their managers, I understand that they are interested in the Wesley Chapel market, but the location they were interested in didn't work out.

If you haven't been to one of the Green Iguanas, they can be a lot of fun, and they have four locations in the Tampa area. The picture is of the Green Iguana on Anderson at the Veteran's Expressway and it has a huge TIKI or Palapa (not shown in the picture).