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Construction begins at Stagecoach Village

(ran PAS edition)

During the late 1800s, the secluded area was a haven for stagecoaches and majestic oak trees.

Soon, the site north of State Road 54 in Land O'Lakes will be sprawling with more than 700 new homes.

"That's an absolutely beautiful piece of property," said Wayne Von Dreele, regional president of Orlando-based Lennar Homes.

Construction of Lennar Homes' 250-acre Stagecoach Village will begin in less than a month. Work on model homes began last week, and the sales trailer opens this week.

The development, which got its name because it was an old stagecoach stop, sits between U.S. 41 and Interstate 75. There will be eight phases or "villages" and a 5-acre park in the middle of the development.

"We are going to certainly play off the historical significance of the area," said Ted Chronis, Lennar's director of sales. "It should be fun."

Prices on the homes will be from the high $80,000 to the low $100,000 range, and the sizes will be from 1,400 to 2,000 square feet. Buyers will be able to choose from eight floor plans.

"We are going with some tried-and-true designs," Chronis said.

Those tried-and-true designs were tested in other central Pasco neighborhoods where Lennar has built houses, such as Carpenter's Run, Meadow Pointe and Twin Lakes.

"Our successes in all three of those communities caused us to believe that we would be successful in our own community," Von Dreele said.

Lennar bought the property about two years ago from Walton Development Corp., records show. The area originally was zoned for 1,200 single- and multi-family units on more than 700 acres.

"We really decided not to go that route," Chronis said. Lennar has no plans to build an apartment complex in Stagecoach.

Street names in Stagecoach will be inspired by old western towns.

"That was some of my biggest challenges, getting the street names approved," Chronis said. "A community like this . . . gives you an opportunity to play on a theme."

Plans for the development's 5-acre park, which will showcase native oak trees, are not finished. Lennar has not decided if the park will have a pool.

"They're oak trees that have to be 100 years old," Chronis said. "We are really making a concerted effort to preserve those trees."

Von Dreele said the park will set Stagecoach apart from the rest of the communities.

"There will be a sense of neighborhood due to the park's setting," he said. "You'll be able to live in a very country atmosphere but be within 20 minutes of downtown Tampa."

Chronis said Lennar decided to build in Pasco County because Pasco "is known for (its) low taxes, good schools and easy access to I-75."

Residents of nearby Cypress Estates about 2 months ago expressed concern about Stagecoach's runoff water draining onto their property. Stagecoach, which is west of Cypress Estates, is at a higher elevation.

"They supposedly corrected their violation," said Pasco County Commissioner Pat Mulieri, who expects more development in that area.

"That area is slated for growth," Mulieri said. "And that will happen."

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