When Metro Development president Greg Singleton was first told about a crystal lagoon, with its heavenly blue, ultra-clean water and sandy beaches, he confesses that he was a little underwhelmed.
But, at 30,000 feet, laying eyes on one for the first time a few months later, Singleton says he started sipping the Kool-Aid.
On Feb. 2, while standing in front of a crowd of more than 100 people at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the first Crystal Lagoon to be built in the U.S., Singleton was sipping champagne as he led a toast celebrating a sneak preview of the Metro Lagoon by Crystal Lagoons coming to the Epperson development Wesley Chapel.
With developers, home builders, county commissioners and the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC) on hand at what could someday be home to as many as 3,000 homes off Curley Rd. (less than three miles north of S.R. 54), Metro Development showed off the beginnings of the massive project which currently is one large hole in the ground — while selling a vision so bright, the developer felt the need to hand out white Crystal Lagoon shades.
Epperson is part of the larger Connected City project, a high-tech, ultrafast gigabit community covering roughly 7,800 acres stretching from northern Wesley Chapel into San Antonio. That project is still working its way through the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners.
Crystal Lagoons are expected to become one of the fastest-growing amenities in the country, and was the star of the preview show. The 7.5- acre lagoon at Epperson will be 4,200 linear square feet (almost a mile) in circumference and will have an average depth of 8 feet, with some areas as deep as 10-12 feet.
Developed by real estate developer and biochemist Fernando Fischmann, it will be like “swimming in a bottle of Zephyrhills water,’’ Singleton said during the event.
That’s possible because of a patented pulse disinfection and ultrasonic filtration system, as well as 400 sensors monitoring the water. Singleton said the lagoon will use less water and chemicals than a golf course or park when it comes to maintenance.
Some of those on hand (including Neighborhood News editor Gary Nager) were taken up 75 feet in a tethered hot-air balloon for an aerial view of the lagoon, which will be the first operational Crystal Lagoon ever in the U.S., while the less adventurous were raised in mechanical lifts.
With the exception of a few kayaks laid out among the piles of dirt, there was little to see, but plenty to imagine.
“It will be the most incredible amenity you will ever see,’’ said Scott Andreason, the director of landscape architecture with Heidt Design, which is designing the surrounding features of the Metro Lagoon, such as:
• The Hub, which will provide access to the lagoon, and include a large plaza to host community events, like farmers markets, a synthetic lawn covered with shade sails, a stage for live entertainment like bands, and a huge outdoor television for sports and movie viewing.
• A restaurant and swim-up bar, with an extended plaza behind the restaurant for food trucks and the ability to host weddings and corporate events, as well as a zero-entry access to the lagoon.
•Venture Bay, for paddleboarders and kayakers.
•Gasparilla Island, which Andreason describes as an “endless island” with hammocks, cabanas and umbrellas, and a “Tidal Water” area where the water rises from zero to 3.5-feet deep.
•Cabana Pool, a cove within the lagoon completely surrounded by cabanas. In the middle of it, an entertainment pavilion to accommodate a deejay or band, and another large television screen.
• The Grotto, which Andreason calls the “gem” of the lagoon; it will feature a waterfall.
• Town Center & Getaway Cove, which will have beaches where you can watch the sun set.
With gigabit internet, homes by Pulte, DR Horton, Miranda and Apex Homes and what will be a one-of-a-kind lagoon — at least, for now — Singleton says the goal at Epperson Ranch is simple:
“We want to make it very difficult for you to go elsewhere.”
Crystal Lagoons CEO Uri Man his company, which has more than 1,500 patents in 60 countries, already has 15 contracts to build other lagoons in the U.S., and will build hundreds in the next few years.
“It’s exciting,’’ he said.
He also noted that a recent Boston Consulting study says more than 2,000 lagoons will be built nationwide over next 15 years. Crystal Lagoons already has more than 600 projects in development across the globe.
But, Wesley Chapel will be the first in this country. After Epperson, Metro is scheduled to build a lagoon near the Mirada development just south of S.R. 52, also in the Connected City. It also has plans to build in the Riverview area and in Fort Myers. For more info, visit MetroPlaces.com or Facebook.com/CrystalLagoonWC.