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Home sales hit $91-million in '97

Like a behemoth gobbling up land, one of the area's fastest growing communities plans even more development in the near future.

Westchase, with its ever-expanding luxury homesites and PGA-ranked golf course, generated more than $91-million in new home sales during 1997, according to Rose Residential Reports, an area real estate analysis firm.

While sales figures were not available for 1998, "we're looking to 1999 as the year that we break $100-million in new-home sales," said John Heagney, a public relations consultant for Westchase.

The community now has more than 2,000 occupied homes that range from $110,000 to $500,000 in price. And since its opening six years ago, Westchase shows no signs of letting up.

Interest is so keen in the newest section, West Park Village that prospective residents are already reserving places for the $115,000 to $300,000 homesites with $100 non-refundable charitable donations. When West Park Village is completed in three years, it will offer about 500 single family homes and 1,200 multifamily residences and apartments.

In offering West Park Village, Westchase is doing something that sociologists have long advocated but that most builders and developers have been slow to attempt: moving away from the standard Florida single-family home, which is L-shaped and oriented toward the back yard.

Heagney said that extensive research by Terrabrook Communities, Westchase's developer, proved that Tampa Bay area home buyers really want to live in more traditional, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

"West Park Village is our ace in the hole," Heagney said. "It offers a new market segment that attracts a different buyer. The development will have a community concept with traditional homes and front porches. It will have a very traditional feel similar to Hyde Park. You can have the look and feel of south Tampa without the cost of renovating an old house."

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