Wesley Chapel and New Tampa residents looking for a more pastoral lifestyle may find what they’re looking for at the Connerton community in Land O’ Lakes, located just east of U.S. 41, 7.5 miles north of S.R. 54.
Developed on what was once the Conner cattle ranch, the 4,800-acre community carries a New Town Developmental of Regional Impact (DRI) designation from Pasco County, which means it is a mixed-use, master-planned community combining residential areas with commercial, office, medical and government-related space. Connerton also has earned the distinction of being named the Tampa Bay Builders Association’s Showcase Community for its 2017 Parade of Homes, which will be held on Friday, April 29.
According to Connerton’s promotional materials, when the community is fully built-out, it may include up to 5,000 residences, 730,000 square feet of retail space, 1.4 million square feet of office and industrial space, as well as a government center.
Even with that ambitious development potential, Connerton retains a relationship with its rural central Pasco heritage. While the community’s concept offers convenient access to shopping, employment and services, marketing coordinator Melissa Donaldson says a big attraction for prospective homebuyers is Connerton’s plan for 1,800 acres of parks and natural open spaces.
“I get a lot of people from New Tampa coming over here who are tired of the hustle and bustle of New Tampa,” Donaldson says.
One of Connerton’s most highly touted features is its 1.75-mile paved Arbors Village Nature Trail, which winds along natural, preserved areas, including lakes and wetlands. There’s plenty of wildlife to see, such as little blue herons, wood storks, sand hill cranes, and of course, Florida alligators.
Adjacent to the north end of the community is a 3,000-acre nature preserve under the jurisdiction of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), giving residents access to even more trails and natural settings, as well as providing a buffer against the encroachment of other development. There also are five miles of paved sidewalks in Connerton for suburban strolling.
With Amenities Like This…
Residents don’t have to venture beyond Connerton’s boundaries to enjoy first-class amenities, like a 10,000-sq.-ft. clubhouse that provides social and recreational opportunities for residents.
Known as Club Connerton, it features the well-equipped Fit & Flourish Fitness Center, complete with a wide range of exercise equipment, from treadmills to weight machines. Several video monitors keep fitness buffs up-to-date with sports and news, or otherwise entertained while burning calories.
“If people have a gym membership somewhere else, they can cancel it,” says Donaldson.
The Conner Town Cafe serves “stick-to-your-ribs food,” according to Donaldson, and a children’s activity space, known as the Kidz Zone Club, is available for toddlers and older children up to age 12.
Other rooms provide space for fitness classes such as yoga and Pilates, as well as social activities ranging from arts & crafts classes to poker nights.
The big attraction, according to Donaldson, is the outdoor pool, that’s more like a water park (photo). She says it’s often the highlight of a tour for prospective residents.
“It’s the biggest ‘Wow!’ on the tour,’’ Donaldson says. “People see it and they think they’re at a resort.”
There also are three tennis courts, a sand volleyball court and a basketball court, providing even more recreational options.
Of course, a community is more than just a group of homes and amenities, and Donaldson says a full schedule of events involving residents helps tie it all together.
“Because we do so many events, everyone gets to know each other,” she says
Activities include the summertime, patriotic-themed, Nation Celebration (scheduled to avoid conflicting with other Independence Day observances), a Labor Day ice cream social, and a Winter Wonderland Celebration. Connerton even offers its own full-day summer camp to keep the younger residents busy while school is out.
And, while school is in session, Connerton is able to offer families with young children a chance to avoid bus rides and car lines with Connerton Elementary, a Pasco County District school located inside the community, so that walking and riding bikes to school are safe and practical options.
Other nearby public schools include Sanders Memorial Elementary, which has a Science Technology Engineering Art & Math (STEAM) program; Pine View Middle School, which is the school district’s first International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme Candidate school; and Land O’ Lakes High, an IB World school, with advanced placement, culinary arts, child care and agriculture programs. Land O’Lakes High also has an agreement with Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC) allowing students to take classes through PHSC to earn college credit while still in high school.
Great Builders, Too!
Connerton has the ambiance of small-town, neighborly living, in part because many of the homes for sale feature front porches that promote relaxing and socializing outdoors. Four of the Tampa Bay area’s best-known builders are constructing homes in Connerton: Taylor Morrison, Homes by Westbay, Lennar and M/I Homes. According to information provided by Connerton, homes range in size from 1,504 square feet to 4,895 square feet, with a starting price range of $198,490-$502,990.
Homeowners association (HOA) dues and community development district (CDD) fees vary with lot size and community. According to Donaldson, about 700 homes have been sold so far in Connerton.
The Cornuta family bought a home and a share of the Connerton lifestyle when they relocated to Florida from upstate New York. Nikole Cornuta says it was the right choice for their move to the Sunshine State.
“We love how there is always something fun to do,” Nikole says, “whether it’s enjoying activities sponsored by the fun-loving staff members at the clubhouse, riding along the vast nature trails, playing at the various playgrounds, or soaking up the sun by the super-pool, we always have a blast!”
Besides the activities, Cornuta also says that she appreciates the welcoming attitudes that she and her transplanted family have encountered.
“We also feel so lucky to have met neighbors that now feel like a supportive family,” she says. “Connerton is a fantastic place to raise a family.”
One way to describe the Connerton community’s personality is “heartfelt,” says Donaldson.
She cites occasions of residents coming together, both in celebration and in times of need. One example that illustrates both is Connerton’s partnership with Operation Finally Home, a national nonprofit organization that networks with builders to provide mortgage-free homes for wounded veterans as well as their surviving spouses and families. At Connerton, Lennar Homes is providing such a home to medically-retired U.S. Army Sgt. David Roca, who experienced life-changing injuries from an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Iraq.
Connerton residents have been active in special events during the home’s construction and introducing the Rocas to the community, such as writing welcoming notes on the house’s framing before the drywall was installed.
“People have really come together for this and want to be a part of it,” says Donaldson. “It’s something that helps make this a true community.”
You can learn more about homes in Connerton and the community’s lifestyle by visiting the Welcome Center located inside Club Connerton at 21100 Fountain Garden Rd., in Land O’ Lakes. You also can check out the ad on page 5 of this issue, visit Connerton.com or call 996-5800.