Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Business

Neighborhood Profile: Avila, Tampa

TAMPA

Avila is where the other half lives.

Star athletes Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, past team owners Eddie DeBartolo and Vince Naimoli, and former Bucs coach Tony Dungy all live or have lived in Avila.

But, it's also where lucky kids — like Hannah, Will and Andrew Grisack — with successful parents live. Scott and Sherri Grisack just bought a house in Avila, moving from Wesley Chapel. The Grisacks own Symmetry Office, a business supply company in Tampa that specializes in desks with height-adjustable tables and other ergonomically designed office furniture.

Mansion after mansion of all different styles, some gated, some with circular driveways and fountains, can be seen from the winding streets, many of which are under a canopy of oak, pine and cypress trees.

Avila, where even vacant lots sell for half a million dollars, just might be the most beautiful neighborhood you'll never see. Off of N Florida Avenue and Lake Magdalene Boulevard, the neighborhood, one of — if not the — most exclusive neighborhoods in Tampa Bay, is hard to find and harder to get into.

Home to the Avila Golf and Country Club, a conservation area and a dozen lakes, the 900-acre neighborhood is surrounded by formidable walls and 24-hour guards. No gawkers or rubber-neckers allowed without invitation.

"It was named after the Spanish city of Avila, which was known for its imposing and impenetrable walls (built of granite in 1090) designed to keep out invaders," said Jeff Shelton, a Hughes Shelton agent with Coldwell Banker. "Like its medieval namesake, Avila offers unparalleled security and the highest level of privacy to its residents. Many drive past its gates, guarded every hour of every day. However, few will ever see inside. The neighborhood is a fortress, encircled by 8-foot walls."

That feeling of security was apparent on a recent Saturday morning when many residents were out walking for exercise or with their dogs. They waved and nodded to passers-by.

The Grisacks knew Avila was where they wanted to live the first time they visited — at the invitation of their friends' parents who lived there. "When you pull through the front gate, you're like, 'Wow!' " Sherri said.

"It reminds us a lot of the Northeast," she said. "Our house (built in 1992) has the character and charm of an older home."

Unlike many posh homes in the Tampa Bay area, few in Avila have stucco exteriors. Many are brick, some wood and stone. "It looks like Saddlebrook," son Andrew, 11, said. The Grisacks moved from Cherry Hill, N.J., eight years ago.

The Grisacks said they also looked at homes in the Sanctuary on Livingston in Lutz and in Madeira Beach but liked Avila best.

"We liked Wesley Chapel but wanted to move to be more centrally located and closer to the kids' schools (two go to Carrollwood Day School, one to Lutz Preparatory School)," Scott said.

The house they bought is brick, a contemporary-traditional mix with separate rooms instead of an open-floor concept. They also liked the view.

"As soon as you walk through the front door, you see all the windows across the back," Sherri said.

The men in the family all golf but they have not yet joined the neighborhood country club.

For now, the kids are just excited about being able to ride the golf cart to the clubhouse for an ice cream cone like all their friends in the neighborhood do.

Contact Patti Ewald at [email protected]

Comments
The Daystarter: Meat-free options for Thanksgiving; a caution for online shoppers; the Rays make a move; a new day in Tallahassee

The Daystarter: Meat-free options for Thanksgiving; a caution for online shoppers; the Rays make a move; a new day in Tallahassee

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Largo may back off sign deadline

Largo may back off sign deadline

Business owners have had 11 years to adhere to the new sign code. Now the City Commission wants to give them more time.
Published: 11/21/18
Tampa Bay ranks No. 9 for package theft around holidays

Tampa Bay ranks No. 9 for package theft around holidays

So-called "porch pirates" steal packages from 26 million Americans during the holidays, a new ranking said.
Published: 11/20/18
How to shop local for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday

How to shop local for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday

It’s retail’s big weekend, from Black Friday through Giving Tuesday. But instead of dealing with crowds and lines at the malls and big box stores, support local and small businesses.
Published: 11/20/18
Martha Stewart's first ride on Uber was 'a mess inside and out'

Martha Stewart's first ride on Uber was 'a mess inside and out'

Martha Stewart took to Instagram to document her miserable ride, including a picture that showed debris on the floor and two water bottles.
Published: 11/20/18
Love that new car smell? Ford just figured out how to get rid of it

Love that new car smell? Ford just figured out how to get rid of it

The company recently filed a patent for technology that would allow autonomous vehicles to bake the smell out of themselves.
Published: 11/20/18
Here's why the holiday shopping season is so important for Florida's small retailers

Here's why the holiday shopping season is so important for Florida's small retailers

Beyond Black Friday, the holiday season can make or break some independent retailers.
Published: 11/20/18
After 32 years in St. Petersburg, Texas Cattle Company steak house has closed

After 32 years in St. Petersburg, Texas Cattle Company steak house has closed

Sales at Texas Cattle Company on 34th Street N in St. Petersburg had been declining for a 10 years as dozens of new restaurants sprang up in the city.
Published: 11/20/18
TV’s ‘Billion-Dollar Man’ started by opening up a can of sales success

TV’s ‘Billion-Dollar Man’ started by opening up a can of sales success

Bob Circosta grew into an HSN pioneer because of a ‘crazy’ request to sell a simple appliance.
Published: 11/20/18
Controversial apartment project near Brooksville gets pulled for now

Controversial apartment project near Brooksville gets pulled for now

Flooding and highway access were among the concerns.
Published: 11/20/18