Make us your home page
Instagram

Commercial development activity rebounds in Hernando

The Taco Bell signs planted in the sand off State Road 50 tell drivers the half-built store is "Now hiring!" and that it will soon be open for business, ready to doll out burritos and cheesy nachos.

But the signs say something more to developers:

Commercial business is finally returning to Hernando County.

After a years-long siesta during the nation's economic downturn, numerous commercial projects throughout the county are now under way, adding businesses, jobs and hope that the area has seen the worst of the recession.

"I think it's a sign," said real estate broker Buddy Selph. "It's the tangible proof that the economy's turning around."

Hernando has seen a precipitous drop in the number of commercial permits issued in recent years compared with 2006 and 2007. Together, those years saw more than 2,000 permits issued for new commercial property and permits for additions and alterations.

The next five years saw fewer total permits than those years — combined.

Between 2008 and 2012, the county only issued 1,686 of the two types of commercial property permits.

The permits bottomed out in 2011, a year that saw only 29 permits for new structures and 209 for additions or alterations. That's more than 80 percent lower than 2006.

Through the first two months this year, the county has issued 16 new structure permits and 45 for additions and alterations.

Developers feel a change in the commercial climate.

Selph easily rattles off a host of projects.

There's the Taco Bell at 13390 Cortez Blvd. in Spring Hill. The Burger King at the Western Way Plaza in Spring Hill. Two new O'Reilly Auto Parts are in the works. There's Rural King — the Illinois-based store that bills itself as "America's Farm and Home Store" — that is set to move into the vacant Kmart store near Timber Pines in Spring Hill. The host of new Dollar General and Family Dollar stores.

"There's a lot of activity," Selph said.

How much?

He estimates it's the most in six years.

Realtor Gary Schraut agreed, saying he hasn't seen business so good in at least five years.

"We are seeing some very good market activity," Schraut said. "Obviously, we're still in some challenging times."

One possible reason for the rebounding commercial activity, he suspects: impact fees.

He said the lack of fees, which are one-time levies on new construction to pay for infrastructure, have "motivated people to get back in the game."

In addition to single-store projects, some bigger commercial prospects are coming together, Schraut said.

A group of local investors operating under the name of Hafcortez 17 is in the process of developing a 17-acre plot along the south side of State Road 50 west of Mariner Boulevard that could be home to a medical office building and at least five retail sites, potentially housing anything from a gas station to restaurants, Schraut said, who is working on the project.

He said he didn't think Hernando County had seen any tracts of new commercial development that large in several years.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Commercial development activity rebounds in Hernando 03/16/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 15, 2013 1:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. '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.”
  2. 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]
  3. 'What Happened'? Clinton memoir sold 300,000 copies in first week

    Blogs

    Despite being met with decidedly mixed reviews, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, sold a whopping 300,000 copies in its first week.

    The new memoir by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sold 300,000 copies in its first week.
  4. After Irma topples tree, home sale may be gone with the wind

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — To house hunters searching online, the home for sale in St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood couldn't have looked more appealing — fully renovated and shaded by the leafy canopy of a magnificent ficus benjamini tree.

    Hurricane Irma's winds recently blew over a large ficus tree, left, in the yard of a home at 3601Alabama Ave NE, right, in Shore Acres which is owned by Brett Schroder who is trying to sell the house.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Unemployment claims double in Florida after Hurricane Irma

    Business

    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 23,000 last week to 259,000 as the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey began to fade.

    Homes destroyed by Hurricane Irma on Big Pine Key last week. Hurricane Irma continued to have an impact on the job market in Florida, where unemployment claims more than doubled from the previous week.
[The New York Times file photo]