Fifth hotel planned for Pasco's SR 56 corridor

A county strategy to waive fees and the new ice complex seem to be spurring growth.

Occupancy rates suggest a need, says Ed Caum, Pasco's tourism manager.
Occupancy rates suggest a need, says Ed Caum, Pasco's tourism manager.
Published January 26 2016
Updated January 28 2016

WESLEY CHAPEL — The hospitality industry boom along the State Road 56 corridor is continuing with a fifth hotel planning to enter the market.

Impact Properties, which developed the Westin Tampa Bay on the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Tampa, is poised to build the six-story, 130-room Hyatt Place-Wesley Chapel at the Cypress Creek Town Center in Lutz.

The 78,000-square-foot building will be at the eastern corner of the town center site, just west of Interstate 75 and north of SR 56, on land owned by Sierra Properties of Tampa.

Nash Kanji, Impact's executive vice president, and representatives from engineering and architecture firms are scheduled to meet with Pasco County planners Feb. 8 to discuss the project. Impact is no stranger to the Wesley Chapel area, having developed the Cypress Ridge Professional Center suites of single-story offices on Cypress Ridge Boulevard, east of I-75.

Hyatt Place-Wesley Chapel joins a burgeoning list of hotels planned for the high-growth area, which witnessed the opening of the Tampa Premium Outlets mall three months ago and where construction is under way of the largest ice rink in the Southeast, the Florida Hospital Center Ice complex, just east of I-75.

Directly west of the Cypress Creek Town Center, Tampa's Brightwork Real Estate plans a 100-room hotel as part of its Brightwork Crossing residential and commercial development at the northwest corner of SR 54 and Wesley Chapel Boulevard (County Road 54) in Land O'Lakes.

East of I-75, contractors obtained permits three weeks ago to begin building an 80-room Holiday Inn Express and Suites next door to the $20 million ice complex, which is expected to open in late spring or summer.

A six-story, 125-room Hilton Garden Inn is proposed for SR 56 and Silver Maple Parkway, and a 92-room Fairfield Inn and Suites is earmarked for the Wiregrass Ranch development, east of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

The area is currently served by a single hotel, the 94-room Hampton Inn and Suites, which opened in 2008 and is directly across the street from the Holiday Inn Express construction site.

One analyst questioned the need for so many new hotels simultaneously.

"It's going to be tough with that much saturation," said Mark Smith, president of the business consulting firm Remarkable Hospitality Advisors. "They're all betting on this hockey arena, which can only do so much for it."

The growth is driven in part by a Pasco County strategy waiving transportation fees for hotels built along the county's southern corridor.

"The incentive, I think, is working,'' said Ed Caum, Pasco County's tourism manager. "It also doesn't hurt that the occupancy rate is staying in the mid 70s (percent) across all the hotels. That is the signal to build more."

The average price for a hotel room in Pasco County in December was $82.79, a nearly 6 percent increase over December 2014. The county set a tourism record in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, collecting more than $968,000 from its 2 percent bed tax, and it is on pace to surpass that total this year, Caum said.

If all five hotels are built as planned, the county will add 527 rooms to its existing inventory of 3,300 hotel rooms.