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Project comes to life

Nineteen years ago, when the Arabs and the Israelis were at war and President Nixon was struggling to save his sinking presidency, a huge development project in Pasco County was approved.

On Tuesday, a California real estate company said it plans to begin work on that project "immediately."

BF Enterprises Inc., a San Francisco-based real estate company, said about $19-million in bonds will be issued this month to pay for building the roads, sewers, recreational buildings and other infrastructure for the 902-acre project.

After the bonds are issued, "Construction is expected to begin immediately," the company said in a press release.

The Meadow Pointe project, its most recent form, will include 1,417 single-family homes and 56 acres to be developed as commercial, retail and office space, the company said.

The entire project, located just north of the Hillsborough County line near County Road 581, eventually could have as many as 4,200 homes on the entire 1,600-acre tract owned by BF Enterprises.

Development of such a large project is quite unusual at a time when so many builders are having so much trouble finding money to build. Meanwhile, demand is uncertain.

But John Price, senior vice president of BF Enterprises, said the development will feature homes in the $75,000 to $150,000 price range.

"We think there is going to be a market for entry-level housing," Price said.

In addition, the area has been successful in serving as a bedroom community for Hillsborough County. Meadow Pointe could follow several nearby projects, such as Tampa Palms, Hunters Green and Pebble Creek.

Not everyone is so sure.

"There is an abundance of nice quality homes up and down the West Coast of Florida," said Stephen Diller, a Pasco County real estate agent.

"The greatest need as far as consumer demand is for houses from $35,000 to $75,000."

The bonds will be issued by Meadow Pointe Community Development District, a special taxing district created by the Pasco County Commission in October.

Homeowners in the development will pay off the bonds with annual fees of about $500.

The development was first approved in October 1973. Some of the same environmental studies conducted for approval that year were relied upon for more recent approvals, said Suzanne Cooper, development of regional impact coordinator for the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

The project was only the second to be approved by the planning council under the DRI, a special review process for large projects.

The property has had a number of owners over the years, and carried several monikers. They have included Deerfield Village, Williamsburg West and Trout Creek.

BF Enterprises gained control of the property in 1987 after a foreclosure suit against William Levitt. Levitt, renowned for his post World War II Levittown developments, had begun construction on an adult community.