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. Ramadan having an economic impact on local charities, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Dodging the rain, a few families and customers gathered inside Petra Restaurant on Busch Boulevard. Around 8:30 p.m., the adham (or call to prayer) music begins, signaling Iftar, the end of the daily fast. Customers grabbed a plate to dig into the feast.

    Baha Abdullah, 35, the owner of the Sultan Market makes kataif, a common dessert that is eaten during the month long celebration of Ramadan in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  2. Senate GOP leaders face tough job in selling health-care bill to their members

    Health

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders on Thursday moved swiftly to begin selling their health-care measure to substantially rewrite the Affordable Care Act to their wary members as they seek to garner enough support to pass the bill in an expected vote next week.

    U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill's chief author, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said "Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief." [AP]
  3. Rick Scott eyes Patronis as CFO, but it may not help him in Panhandle

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott's expected pick of Jimmy Patronis as the state's next Chief Financial Officer would be a solid addition to the Republican Party ticket but may not do much to smooth some rough waters developing in the Panhandle over schools, area Republicans said this week.

    Former state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, left, is being considered by Gov. Rick Scott for the state's chief financial officer. Patronis, seen with Scott in 2011, is considered one of the governor's chief loyalists. 

  4. In your 20s and living with mom and dad? In Florida, you're not alone.

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — After graduating from the University of Florida in 2015, Gabrielle Piloto jumped on the highway and headed south to Tampa.

    Gabrielle Piloto, 22, moved home to live with her grandparents in West Tampa after graduating from the University of Florida in 2015. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

  5. Southwest Airlines to offer flights from Tampa to San Diego

    Airlines

    TAMPA — Southwest Airlines will offer daily nonstop service from Tampa International Airport to San Diego International Airport beginning Jan. 8, 2018.

    Southwest Airlines is planning to launch service from Tampa to San Diego.
[Times file photo]