Connected City, Sports Complex & Quail Hollow Kept The BCC Busy In 2017
We could probably dedicate all 48 pages of our upcoming Wesley Chapel issue to its rapid growth in 2017. It was just that crazy busy.
In fact, one could argue it was the busiest year on record in Wesley Chapel, with massive projects either gaining approval, moving ground or sprouting up in almost every corner of the area.
Let’s focus here, however, on what was approved in 2017 and coming down the road, and save what actually opened its doors for our story on 2017’s best new businesses.
The biggest project, the 7,800-acre “connected city,” was approved by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) in February by a 5-0 vote, which is expected to help create something no other city in America has — a built-from-the-ground-up gigabit community.
District 2 Pasco commissioner Mike Moore, who represents much of Wesley Chapel, said after the vote, “We actually made history today.”
After nearly two years of studies and planning, the BCC’s green light has already triggered major development in the connected city sector, which includes the area running north from Overpass Rd. in Wesley Chapel to S.R. 52 in San Antonio, and west from I-75 to Curley Rd.
Metro Development owns roughly 35 percent of the land, and has already begun, well…connecting. Metro’s Epperson development has its first residents (as we reported last issue) and the first-ever Crystal Lagoon is already filled (see page 8).
Still to come — another Crystal Lagoon in the nearby Mirada development, more homes, schools and business, alternative transportation along integrated roadways and, potentially, jobs as developers and planners have touted the connected city as a futuristic economic engine.
While Wesley Chapel is jumping into the high-tech community pool headfirst, it also is looking to take a piece of the $15-billion a year pie that is youth sports.
A large sports complex with adjoining hotel was also approved by the BCC in the spring by a 5-0 vote, which later agreed to double the county’s Tourist Development Tax (TDT), or bed tax, in order to help finance it.
The $44-million project will be built on part of a 224-acre parcel located northeast of the Shops of Wiregrass in the Wiregrass Ranch Development of Regional Impact (DRI). The parcel is owned by the county and has had a history of failed efforts to build something sports-related on it.
While the project is currently only in the planning stages, RADD Sports, which will develop it, says it is shooting for a spring 2019 opening.
In conjunction with Mainsail Development, the sports complex will have one of the first full-service Marriott-branded Residence Inns, a 120-room hotel that will be L-shaped to create a courtyard at the entrance to the sports complex — which also will have an amphitheater for concerts, a trail system, seven soccer fields and a 98,000-sq.ft. indoor facility expected to attract the top youth sports tournaments and athletes from around the country, with thousands of visitors expected to make an economic impact on the area.
And, residents who live near Quail Hollow Country Club lost a long fight with the course’s owners and developers, who received approval in June to replace the golf course with homes.
Andres Carollo and his Pasco Office Park LLC received a zoning change, by a 3-2 vote, which allows him to build 400 single-family homes, 30,000-sq.-ft. of office and retail space and a 10,000-sq.-ft. daycare center on the former golf course property.
Hundreds of Quail Hollow residents attended a handful of BCC and other meetings to make their voices heard, and successfully delayed approval of the project for months.
All around Wesley Chapel, new businesses started construction. A slew of restaurants — including a much-awaited Bahama Breeze on S.R. 56 — and boutique or green grocery stores are planned to begin building on or near S.R.s 54 and 56 in 2018.
Will 2018 be as busy? Wiregrass Ranch’s J.D. Porter recently hinted at some more major developments coming this year, so our guess would be: