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Hundreds parade through Pristine Place

The first weekend of the Hernando County Parade of Homes brought potential buyers from near and far to see what the area has to offer.

Sponsored by the Hernando Builder's Association, the event features 19 model homes by 12 builders.

This marks the fourth consecutive year the parade has been held at the gated community of Pristine Place on Spring Hill Drive, just east of the Suncoast Parkway.

Marvin Hines, a broker for local building company, Scott Niccoletti Homes, said that although only half those who come through can afford the $200,000-and-up price tags for homes with all the options, crowds are good. He greeted nearly 100 groups and families that toured the TradeWinds Deluxe model Saturday.

"It seems like this year, most of the people we've seen are coming from Tampa or the Citrus County area," said Hines, who lives in Homosassa.

Hines first walked what is now the Pristine Place property in 1947 and has seen the pattern of how change takes hold of an area.

"I was here when I-75 went in. I was here when parts of (State Road) 19 were unpaved. Eventually, the Suncoast Parkway will have an impact on this area," he said.

Eric Schoessler took a break from the sun Sunday while his wife, Pam, fed their 6-month-old son, Joshua, in the shade of a model home.

"We'd like to get a bigger home," said Schoessler, who works in Safety Harbor as a commercial real estate developer. "And you get a lot better value for what you're paying up here."

Though a move from Westchase in North Tampa would mean a 50-minute commute and $6 a day in tolls on the parkway, Schoessler said he thinks the payoff might be worth it.

"If we sold our house in Tampa and bought a bigger one here, we could still pocket $50,000," he said. "That's worth taking a look."

For Richard and Jean Marin, who retired to Spring Hill from New York a decade ago, the homes at Pristine Place seemed less than affordable for the Hernando County market.

"You can't afford it here anymore," Richard Marin said. "Hernando County is getting to be so pricey."

It remains to be seen, Marin said, whether the Suncoast Parkway will bring the young up-and-comings from the Tampa Bay area as builders and developers have predicted for years.

"I think the young rich family from Tampa is a myth," he said. "Things are just going to explode up here."

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