RIVERVIEW — New construction continues to pop up in the area surrounding St. Joseph's Hospital-South in Riverview.
Big Bend Retail Center stands as one of the latest projects. Steve Spencer, a Largo-based architect, will be part-owner of a six-unit strip mall that recently broke ground.
Spencer said he and his partners have worked on the project for nearly two years.
Spencer said there's a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into development.
"It's not like you buy a piece of land and start building," he said. "A lot goes on before the shovel hits the dirt. The construction, that's the easy part."
Working closely with Hillsborough County officials, Spencer said the finished product will include little things like green spaces and tree cover.
"Hillsborough County explains it to you," Spencer said of the application and permitting process. "They have been a pleasure to work with and I will do it again."
Spencer said the project, near the current East Coast Pizza and Beef 'O' Brady's, will include Little Greek, Pizza Hut, Jersey Mike's Subs and Sun Country Cleaners. Plans also call for a Thornton's gas station in the adjacent lot.
Since the 1990s, Spencer has completed residential and commercial niche projects for recognizable names such as The Walt Disney Corporation, Checkers Drive Thru Restaurants, Publix Super Markets and Hooter's Restaurants. He survived the housing bubble between 2009-2014 when he said it was "totally dead." He has seen the industry on an uptick since 2015.
"It's a lot better than the last seven years," he said.
According to Spencer, tenants should plan on moving in by March 2017.
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