Make us your home page
Instagram

Arizona builder buys 510 lots in Pasco's Connerton community

LAND O'LAKES — In a sign that the housing market is beginning to rebound, an Arizona builder has bought 510 lots in Connerton, a master-planned community in north central Pasco that stalled during the housing bust.

Taylor Morrison announced plans to build homes on "a significant number" of lots and sell some to other builders. Three other builders have expressed interest in building homes there, officials said without naming them. Morrison did not disclose the purchase price.

"This is the most optimistic time of the market we have seen in six or seven years," said Stew Gibbons, a former Connerton executive who now works as a consultant for the community on U.S. 41. Gibbons, who also lives in the community, watched the recession take its toll on the market across the county.

"An awful lot of property values have been lost, but I sense building activity is substantially higher than it was," he said. "We're expecting a better year than last."

Connerton has about 280 finished homes. It has about 4,000 lots remaining.

"It's still very early in the project," he said.

Once billed as a new town that would eventually be Pasco's largest development, Connerton began to bog down a few years after launching in 2004 as the housing bubble burst. Last August, it was featured in USA Today as the poster child of hard-hit suburbia as Tampa took center stage as the site of the Republican National Convention.

"Its predicament illustrates broader issues facing President Obama and Mitt Romney, including foreclosures, jobs, the environment and infrastructure," the newspaper said. The development also is on its third owner, Texas-based investment firm Hayman Woods.

Its northern location within Pasco compared with properties along State Road 54 and the county's inability to build the Ridge Road extension due to environmental concerns didn't help the development, said Marvin Rose, a housing consultant who publishes Rose Residential Reports. But the market is looking up and communities just to the south such as Dupree Lakes and Asbel Creek are sold out or close to it.

"It's been stuck with a number of lots and changed ownership and had a lot of delays out there," Rose said. "But it's still one of the most attractive communities in Pasco County."

The development won kudos from its residents and county officials for its willingness to build lush amenities up front rather than waiting until closer to buildout.

Those include Club Connerton, which is staffed by an activities director and consists of a clubhouse with fitness center, a grill and coffee shop, day care center, two swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts, playground, volleyball court and outdoor amphitheater.

"The concept behind Connerton has always been strong — a large, master-planned community in a great location and with tons of amenities, including an exceptional clubhouse and an on-site elementary school," said Cammie Longenécker, vice president of sales and marketing for Taylor Morrison West Florida.

The announcement drew cheers from County Commissioner Pat Mulieri, whose district includes Connerton.

"Pasco is on the cusp; we are moving forward," she said. "I am delighted this jewel is in my district."

Realtor Greg Armstrong said he's seeing an uptick in new and resale homes.

"My agents have four or five new homes under construction they wrote contracts on," he said. "That's more than we did in five years total."

Foreclosures remain high, but Armstrong said they are slow to make it to market.

"When they do, they go in 10 to 12 days," he said. "There's not much out there."

Arizona builder buys 510 lots in Pasco's Connerton community 02/06/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 7:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: Tampa Bay household income tops $50,000 but still makes us look poor

    Personal Finance

    The good news is Tampa Bay's median household income finally crawled above $50,000 last year. The bad news is that figure — officially $51,115 by new U.S. Census Bureau data — still puts the Tampa Bay region as the poorest of the nation's 25 largest metro areas.

    Tampa Bay still has the lowest median household income among the 25 most populous metro areas, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
[Times]
  2. Make-A-Wish Foundation aims to help more kids in Tampa Bay

    Health

    The Make-A-Wish Foundation is on the lookout for sick children in the Tampa Bay area who need a once-in-a-lifetime pick-me-up.

    Grace Savage, a 10-year-old girl with a chromosomal disorder made a trek to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium last year, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation intends to beef up its presence in the Tampa Bay area after a reorganization. The region is now the responsibility of the foundation's Southern Florida chapter, one of the most active in the country, with more than 11,000 wishes granted so far. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times ]
  3. Florida hides details in nursing home reports. Federal agencies don't.

    Medicine

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott widened his offensive Thursday against the Broward nursing home he blames for the deaths of 10 residents by setting up a tip line for information, but when it comes to access to the inspection reports of all nursing homes, the governor's administration has heavily censored what the …

    In the foreground is a document detailing the findings of a Feb. 2016 inspection at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills obtained from a federal agency, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Behind it is the state?€™s version of the same document, from the Agency for Health Care Administration, showing how it has been redacted before being released to the public. [Miami Herald]
  4. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  5. Fewer Tampa Bay homeowners are underwater on their mortgages

    Real Estate

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages continues to drop. In the second quarter of this year, 10.2 percent of borrowers had negative equity compared to nearly 15 percent in the same period a year ago, CoreLogic reported Thursday. Nationally, 5.4 percent of all mortgaged homes were …

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages  continues to drop. [Times file photo]