Saturday, December 16, 2017
Business

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 [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Comments
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a hostess and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute, little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and the...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Shrieks of laughter echoed off the walls of the hospital as Thunder the mini pig flopped onto his side and the children huddled around him, scratching his pink, hairy belly. He and his wet-nosed partner, Bolt, drew patients in wheelchairs and bandage...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

LARGO — Eight months after paying $10.15 million for the office building that houses IT services company Vology, a New York company is suing the Pinellas County Property Appraiser and Florida Department of Revenue contending its $5.5 million tax asse...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Published: 12/15/17
Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

In 2010, Florida was in the throes of an unprecedented housing crisis. One in every eight homes was in some stage of foreclosure. Today, the foreclosure rate is one in every 83. Because of that enormous drop, Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund will s...
Published: 12/15/17
Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

By ELAINE KURTENBACHTOKYO — Global inequality has stabilized at high levels in recent years, a report said Friday, despite gains among the poor in China and much milder disparities in incomes and wealth in Western Europe. The World Inequality Report ...
Published: 12/15/17
How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

Associated Press NEW YORK — After years of tremors, the earthquake that had long been predicted finally shook Hollywood. Disney’s deal to purchase most of 21st Century Fox ends the era of the "Big Six" major movie studios, toppling one ...
Published: 12/15/17
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Published: 12/15/17
Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Today is the day that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will close for most people. But those affected by the slew of hurricanes that pummelled Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states earlier this year can take advantage of a two-week ...
Published: 12/15/17
Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

A record-breaking number of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season.The American Automobile Association projects that 107.3 million Americans will pack their bags and travel more than 50 miles by planes, trains, automobiles and other mod...
Published: 12/14/17