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Furniture hub taking shape in Wesley Chapel

Haverty's is the third furniture retailer to commit to the nascent Cypress Creek shopping center.

By CHUIN-WEI YAP
Published April 21, 2006


WESLEY CHAPEL - Haverty's Furniture is moving into Cypress Creek, joining a constellation of furniture retailers that developers say is destined to grow.

This makes the Atlanta firm the third furniture retailer poised to set up shop in this southeastern corner of Interstate 75 and State Road 56, after Ethan Allen - which is about to close its Port Richey store - and Ashley Furniture.

A few miles east on State Road 56, Rooms To Go is expected to open next month at the junction with Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

It might seem odd to have this many furniture retailers clustered within spitting distance of each other, but developers say it's usual fare for furniture folks.

"They are destination retailers," said Jim Kovacs, a broker at Colliers Arnold representing Cypress Creek, who confirmed the Haverty's move. "They like to foster cross-shopping."

"They're like car dealerships - they prefer to be around one another," said A. Chester "Chip" Skinner of Skinner Bros. Realty, which counts Cypress Creek in its portfolio. "Customers prefer it too."

Ethan Allen's new central Pasco showroom will be in Cypress Creek, Skinner said.

The furniture sellers appear to be increasingly drawn east by a younger, richer Pasco demographic in Wesley Chapel and Land O'Lakes, where median household incomes can be twice those along retiree-dominated U.S. 19, according to U.S. Census data.

Peg Lupton, Ethan Allen's spokeswoman, confirmed the imminent Port Richey closing, though she described it as a consolidation with the store's Pinellas Park branch. An employee at the Port Richey store said it could be shuttered in a month.

Kovacs said Haverty's and Ashley are joining a 26-acre property within Cypress Creek, purchased in August from Skinner by Jeff Greenwalt, an Indiana developer. County records show it was sold for $8.5-million.

The Ashley store in Cypress Creek is set to occupy 50,000 square feet, while Haverty's will occupy about 42,000 square feet, Kovacs said.

That part of Cypress Creek will be home to two other anchor tenants, Kovacs said. He said he could not name them but described them as "hard goods" retailers, not fashion or grocery stores.

Ethan Allen will sit at the entrance of the nascent shopping center, where Ashley and Haverty's will be located. They will all be part of a 400-acre Cypress Creek development on both sides of SR 56.

The Cypress Creek shopping center is distinct from the Cypress Creek Town Center, across I-75 in the southwestern corner of the intersection.

The furniture hub shaping up at Wesley Chapel apparently isn't close to being complete just yet.

Kovacs said one or two more furniture retailers are looking to move in.

"These would be smaller to mid-size players, boutique retailers, specialty stores," he said.

Leaders Casual Furniture, a rattan and wicker furniture retailer, could follow its brethren to Wesley Chapel, he said. So could lighting and flooring retailers.

Chuin-Wei Yap covers growth and development in Pasco County. He can be reached at 813 909-4613 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 4613. His e-mail address is cyap@sptimes.com