That unfinished Beacon Woods East land in Pasco is now targeted for development

More than 25 years after the collapse of Beacon Homes, its unfinished property is poised to sprout new homes.
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Published February 4

BAYONET POINT -- A park and a field could be joining the woods in northwest Pasco.

The owners of undeveloped land near HCA-Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point are proposing to build Beacon Park and Emerald Field as new residential neighborhoods abutting the existing Beacon Woods East development.

Preliminary plans filed with Pasco County call for up to 483 single-family homes and duplex units on 155 acres straddling both sides of Hudson Avenue. The portion to the north is called Beacon Park and the neighborhood on the south is labeled Emerald Field.

“I don’t think selling them (new homes) will be a problem,’’ said Greg Armstrong of Coldwell Banker F. I. Grey & Son Residential, Inc. “The resale market is still devoid.’’

Much of Pasco County’s new home construction has been in the new developments east of Trinity along the State Road 54 corridor and SR 56 in Wesley Chapel. If completed, Beacon Park and Emerald Field would become the second significant tract near U.S. 19 to sprout new single-family homes.

Lennar is building up to 425 homes on a former citrus grove at Madison Street and SR 54 south of New Port Richey. The so-called in-fill development is considered key to help spur investment in west Pasco’s U.S. 19 corridor, the focus of Pasco County’s 50-year redevelopment plan known as The Harbors market area.

Alma Investments of Jacksonville acquired the Bayonet Point land a year ago for nearly $3.8 million. Daniel Blanchard, CEO of Ewing Real Estate LLC in Jacksonville, the developer, along with engineers from the Avid Group and land-use attorney Shelly May Johnson, were scheduled to meet with members of the county planning staff last week to discuss the project. Within the proposal, the developers are seeking to change the zoning of a vacant 5-acre parcel from commercial to residential use.

Part of the property's appeal is its proximity to the HCA hospital.

“It’s one of the few remaining sites in that area,’’ Blanchard said in an interview. “I think the time is ripe for it to be developed. It’s a great site.’’

The developers have not picked a home builder, Blanchard said, but “we’re that comfortable with the site that we’re moving forward with development prior to naming a builder, and we’re patient enough to find the right one.’’

If all goes according to plan, the developers hope to break ground on the neighborhood infrastructure sometime this year and have homes built by fall 2020, he said.

This isn’t the first time the vacant property has been targeted for development. More than 25 years ago, a California trust acquired the land from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and a Miami real estate broker promised $100 million worth of investment to be completed by 1997.

That was slow to happen, and by 1998, the county commission stopped future approvals on the undeveloped land because the developer hadn’t complied with state paperwork requirements and missed a government-approved deadline to finish the project.

That trust sold the land to national home builder DR Horton Inc. for $5.7 million in 2005, near the height of the real estate boom of the last decade. Three years later, however, DR Horton sold the property to a Dallas-based limited partnership which held the land for a decade before selling in February 2018 to Alma Investments.

The vacant land is part of one of the more notorious episodes in local development lore.

Pasco County approved Beacon Woods East in 1982 as a 4,000-home, 1,261-acre project. Its builder, Clyde B. Hoeldtke Jr., boasted of building 13,000 homes in a 30-year career. However, his company, Beacon Homes, ran into financial difficulties and collapsed in 1992 amid allegations from stiffed customers that Hoeldtke had committed fraud.

Hoeldtke landed under house arrest in his million-dollar mansion in Colorado four years later after pleading no contest to 23 counts of misapplication of construction funds. He was ordered to repay more than $150,000 in restitution to customers.

A judge also found Hoeldtke in contempt for withholding information on required financial affidavits and sentenced him to six months in the Pasco County Detention Center in Land O’ Lakes.

Hoeldtke's lender took over the land, but the bank failed, and the property ended up under the control of the FDIC.

Contact C.T. Bowen at ctbowen@tampabay.com or (813) 435-7306. Follow @CTBowen2.

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