Saturday, January 20, 2018
Business

Project planned for vacant land at SR 54 and Suncoast Parkway

ODESSA — An undeveloped corner at the high-profile intersection of State Road 54 and the Suncoast Parkway is targeted for 225,000 square feet of retail and office development.

N.C.J. Investment Co. of Tampa is seeking to resurrect an expired planning district on 29 acres at the northwest corner of the intersection. The land is directly across S.R. 54 from the Suncoast Crossings development, where Target closed a retail store in 2016. It also is just east of Asturia, a mixed-use development that welcomed its first residents just seven months ago, but eventually will have nearly 1,200 single-family homes, town homes and apartments, as well as adjoining commercial space.

N.C.J. is controlled by the Capitano family of Tampa, owners of the chain of Radiant gas station/food stores, a wholesale fuel distributorship and other ventures.

The company began acquiring the 29 acres in Odessa in 1989 and closed on the final parcel Jan. 13, paying $2.4 million for 4.8 acres.

Now, it is seeking to reactivate a previously approved master-planned development that allowed retail, office and residential uses. The county approved the plan in the mid 1990s, but it since has expired.

For the project, dubbed South Branch Crossing, N.C.J. "proposes to develop a retail development, including big-box uses,'' according to its preliminary paperwork filed with Pasco County. The company's attorney, Clarke Hobby, said N.C.J. doesn't have a specific use in mind, but wants the flexibility of developing either retail stores or office space to meet the market demands.

The company didn't acquire the land with the intention of solely developing an employment center, Hobby said, "but if the market for office (buildings) is out there, we're not going to turn them down.''

County planners and N.C.J. representatives were scheduled to meet Feb. 1 to discuss the project.

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