1. Business

Overpass Road development starts westward migration

WESLEY CHAPEL — A landowner is testing the waters on putting one-quarter-million square feet of commercial space and a 150-room hotel at the corner of Overpass and Old Pasco roads.

The proposal, on 37.5 acres, is one of the first signs of a westward migration of growth tied to a future highway interchange on Interstate 75 at Overpass Road.

"It's just exploring of the development opportunities,'' said Ron Noble, a Tampa attorney and one of the principals of landowner Adrian Phillips Overpass LLC. "There are no definite development plans at this time.''

Nonetheless, Noble and land-use lawyer Andrea Zelman, plus engineering, planning and traffic consultants, are scheduled to meet with Pasco County planners later this month to discuss a proposed master planned unit development for the site.

No residential uses are planned, and there is no timetable for developing the property, Noble said. Adrian Phillips Overpass LLC purchased the land in 2003 for $705,000. It is zoned as a single-family mobile home district.

Much of the vicinity will be transformed over the next several years, initially by next year's opening of a new high school on Old Pasco Road and even more so by the construction of a new interstate interchange that is projected to begin in the 2019-20 fiscal year. The interchange is part of a more than $100 million plan to expand and extend the now-two-lane Overpass Road east toward U.S. 301, providing an east-west alternative to State Roads 52 and 54.

The road planning is accompanied by development planning. East of I-75, the new interchange is helping to spur the proposed connected city corridor, the 7,800-acre planning district that is projected to become home to more than 90,000 people in an area bordered by I-75 on the west, Curley Road on the east, Overpass Road on the south and State Road 52 to the north. The most visible sign of the project is the ongoing extension of Overpass Road west of Curley Road as part of Metro Development's 2,000-home Epperson Ranch project.

Likewise, Wildcat Groves Inc. is seeking to turn 111 acres of agricultural land at the northeast quadrant of the future I-75 interchange into 456,000 square feet of employment centers and retail uses, plus 448 apartments. The commercial uses are proposed to include a grocery, a gas station, restaurants, 15 acres of professional offices and a convalescent center.

And 1.5 miles south of the planned interchange, property owners are seeking to sell 48 acres along Old Pasco Road for $3.6 million. It is being marketed as suitable for mixed-use development.

The opening of the new high school, north of that site "is going to change traffic patterns pretty dramatically overnight,'' said Nancy Surak of Land Advisors Organization, the listing broker. "You'll have a whole new slew of cars and sets of eyes traveling up and down Old Pasco Road.''