Metro Development Group says its widely-anticipated, first-of-its-kind in the U.S. Crystal Lagoons® amenity should finally be available to residents of the Epperson community in August, although work will continue through the summer.
The general public will have to wait a little bit longer, but will be allowed in for reduced rates once the gates open.
According to Eric Wahlbeck, the 200 or so residents already living in Epperson will get first dibs to enjoy an amenity that features crystal clear water, sandy man-made beaches, recreational aquatic activities and pool-side bars and cabanas, but has been maligned this summer because of an issue with permitting that stalled construction and made some residents unhappy.
“For the first two weeks following the opening date, admission will be exclusively for Epperson Resident Members, and a limited number of resident guests,” Wahlbeck said. “After the initial two-week period, the lagoon will open to the public by making a limited number of tickets available to non-residents for a short-term discounted rate of $10 per person.”
Once that term, which is likely to be determined by demand, expires, tickets for the public to enjoy the lagoon will cost $25 per person per day.
Pricing was an issue for some residents and potential residents, some of whom chose to get out of their contracts.
Meanwhile, current residents — many of whom remain stalwart supporters of Metro — were told they would enjoy discount prices to use lagoon amenities like kayak and paddleboard rentals, but the discounts will be phased out over three years and could end up costing larger families thousands of dollars a year to be able to access all of the lagoon’s features.
Metro also had to suspend construction when it was discovered in May that 19 buildings at the lagoon had been built without proper permits.
“We have secured all relevant permits necessary to complete work and are currently testing and adjusting the mechanical systems,” Wahlbeck says.
The lagoon, beaches, the giant inflatable waterslide (the same slide as at the Tradewinds Resort on St. Pete Beach) and bar areas are all expected to open as part of the first phase. Wahlbeck says the lagoon will be “fully open, pending any unforeseen issues,” following the late summer 2018 opening. Other features will open as soon as they are completed in later phases.
Wahlbeck says in addition to the roughly 200 residents currently living in Epperson, another 150 future residents are currently under contract.
“Yes, people remain excited about the Lagoon and the Epperson community is tracking to become one of the fastest-selling communities in the Tampa Bay area — something that in part we attribute to the ‘Lagoon Effect,’” he said.