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Business 2005

SR 50 becoming one hot corridor

Some chains, such as Starbucks, are making their first forays into the county. Realtors also expect more restaurants.

By MARY SPICUZZA
Published February 13, 2005


It was only a matter of time.

With stores already open in faraway spots such as Abu Dhabi, Beirut and Phuket, Thailand, Starbucks is coming to Hernando County.

When Target expands its Commercial Way location by 13,000 square feet, it plans to open a Starbucks inside the store in October.

The international coffee giant is just one of many new stores, restaurants and businesses scheduled to open in the county this year. Another coffee shop and a pizza place will be among the new arrivals anticipated in 2005.

Local developers, real estate agents and business people say development will continue in the county's commercial hot spots, especially on State Road 50 between the Suncoast Parkway and U.S. 19.

"I think you're going to see a lot of development from the new (Brooksville Regional) hospital," Century 21 Gavish Realty owner Jack Gavish said.

Still, other areas are expected to see new shops and restaurants this year.

"There's lots of activity right now on people looking for restaurant sites. There have been more buyers than I remember," Gavish said. "For example, the Ridge Manor area. There are going to be some interesting things going on there."

He and other Realtors were secretive about some of the coming projects, saying they wanted to close deals before making them public.

One major new business in the eastern part of the county will be Universal Microwave Corp., a Pasco technology manufacturer, which plans to move to the Cortez Crossing business park at State Road 50 and Interstate 75. The 8-year-old Odessa company plans to spend at least $750,000 on its 20,000-square-foot building on 3 acres.

It's expected that major developments such as Cortez Crossing will only fuel more retail growth and new restaurants.

The Suncoast Parkway is also expected to continue to spur development.

Gary Schraut, the owner of Coldwell Banker Schraut and Associates, said he has heard repeated rumors about a major national retailer opening a store in the area near the Suncoast and Spring Hill Drive.

Meanwhile, plans are still under way for the Lowe's home improvement store at the southwest corner of Wiscon Road and U.S. 41, on the south side of Brooksville. A cluster of stores and abank are also expected to open near the new Lowe's.

Still, others are working to help bring new businesses downtown. For example, the Rising Sun Cafe at 10 S Main Street, across from the County Courthouse, is scheduled to open later this month.And plans are under way for a new shop, Cake Boutique, expected to open on West Jefferson Street.

Other businesses opening include a Country Pizza Inn on County Line Road, said Donna Singer, the site plan coordinator for the county's Development Department.

Realtors said that they expect commercial land prices to continue rising rapidly as they get more calls from interested buyers.

"We have people calling from all over the state, the country, looking for large tracts of land," Gavish said.

[Last modified February 8, 2005, 16:43:07]


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