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More hotel rooms coming to retail hub in central Pasco

A representative for Brightwork Crossing filed preliminary plans for a new 124-room hotel at State Road 54 and Wesley Chapel Boulevard.

LUTZ — The hospitality industry is continuing its expansion along Pasco County’s southern corridor.

Landowners at Brightwork Crossing are planning a 124-room, four-story hotel within the development at the northwest corner of State Road 54 and Wesley Chapel Boulevard (County Road 54).

Farther east, construction has started on a previously announced Woodspring Suites on Cypress Ridge Boulevard in Wesley Chapel. That location, north of State Road 56, is next door to the AdventHealth Center Ice complex, one of the triggers for the hotel-building boom.

Since 2015, nine hotels opened along the State Road 54/56 corridor between Trinity and Wesley Chapel. Much of the existing and planned activity is clustered in the Lutz and Wesley Chapel vicinity where the Tampa Premium Outlets mall and AdventHealth Center Ice have opened near Interstate 75. The corridor also is where Pasco County and RADD Sports are partnering on a $44 million indoor sports complex and hotel in Wiregrass Ranch. That sports-tourism center includes a planned 128-room Marriott Residence Inn.

The opening of the Hampton Inn and Suites near Odessa last week means the county now has 41 hotels and more than 3,600 rooms. Local officials said they are not fearful of building too many hotel rooms.

"We’ve been pushing the fact we need to make sure the tourists (coming to events in Pasco) stay in Pasco County,'' said Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore, chairman of the Tourist Development Council. "We’re still not there yet.''

"The timing, I think, will be fine. We won’t be over-saturated,'' said Hope Allen, president and CEO of the North Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce.

She noted the typical timeline for permitting and construction is about 18 months, meaning a proposed hotel at Brightwork Crossing won’t open until after the county’s sports complex at Wiregrass Ranch is operating. Construction on the 98,000-square-foot fieldhouse is expected to be completed in July 2020 with events and tournaments beginning in earnest later in the fall.

At the rapidly developing Brightwork Crossing, an engineering firm recently filed conceptual plans with Pasco County showing a proposed 124-room hotel on the development’s north side where Wesley Chapel Boulevard and Cypress Creek Road intersect. That development already includes 339 apartments, plus a Burger King, Firestone and Wawa stores.

A new 124-room hotel is proposed in the Brightwork Crossing development northwest of Wesley Chapel Boulevard and State Road 54. [Pasco County]

The land for the proposed hotel site is owned by Brightwork Real Estate of Tampa, but it is under contract to a buyer, said Bill Eshenbaugh, whose Eshenbaugh Land Company is the listing agent.

"That’s turned into a great corner,'' he said about the land northwest of where Wesley Chapel Boulevard connects to State Road 54/State Road 56.

Indeed. Canizo LLC of Miami recently paid $4.6 million for 4.6 acres within Brightwork Crossing where it plans to construct an El Dorado furniture store.

Another contributor to the hotel boom are the subsidies offered by Pasco County.

Since 2011, Pasco County’s transportation fees are waived for industrial development, office buildings and hotels. Their usual share of road and transit costs are subsidized with property taxes. For hotel developers, the incentive equates to $5,300 per room.

Commissioner Kathryn Starkey previously questioned the need for the continued incentive. Moore said he would agree after the county’s hotel capacity can meet the demands expected from the growing sports-tourism activities.

"When tourism feels it’s gotten there, we start pulling the incentives,'' Moore said. "I’ll be the first one to be on board with that.''

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