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Builder poised for market revival

A Tampa company thinks the housing boom will have returned by the time it develops 243 acres just outside Zephyrhills.

By CHUIN-WEI YAP
Published September 20, 2006


Just outside Zephyrhills, the hills still roll with pastures and hay farms, on land dotted with citrus groves and a seemingly never-ending allure for developers.

Here, on 243 acres south of U.S. 98 and west of Old Lakeland Highway, a Tampa developer has just filed plans to build 871 homes.

Priority Developers of N Dale Mabry Highway wants to build 585 single-family houses and 286 townhomes on the site.

The word on the street may be of a souring residential housing market, but the Streck family, which owns Priority Developers, sees its interests in positioning for the revival.

"We are still a year away from development," Frederick C. Streck said. "In late 2007, early 2008, the market in Tampa and between Tampa and Orlando will begin to pick back up, and stronger than in the past few years. We think that when the current development proposals start coming out of the ground, the market will be back where it used to be."

The project is named Triple J Ranch, so-called because the property is currently owned by the Johnson family of Dade City. The Johnsons have held their ranch there, in various pieces, since the mid 1970s, according to county records.

"That's who we're buying it from," Streck said.

The sale has not yet closed, he said.

Bordered by orange stands to the south and southwest, the ranch is home to two small wetlands.

County filings show plans for Priority Developers to build a major local road that would cut through Triple J Ranch. Access to the development would be from U.S. 98.

The eastern Pasco highway is another attribute that appeals to the developer seeking a larger commuter market outside Tampa.

"The unique part of Triple J is that the property has frontage to (U.S.) 98, which is a direct shot to Lakeland," Streck said.

Priority Developers has other projects in Brandon, Riverview and Hernando County. In Hernando, the Strecks in March more than doubled their commitment to the Hernando Oaks development proposal, from 975 to 2,500 homes.

Closer to east Pasco, the family is also involved in another project just a mile from Triple J Ranch.

At Richland Road and 23rd Street, the Strecks are recasting the former Links at Valley Oaks golf course into a 259-acre, 747-home project called Valley Oaks.

The Strecks are also developing the 140-home Crestview Hills in Zephyrhills, overlooking Gore's Dairy nearby.

Chuin-Wei Yap covers growth and development in Pasco County. He can be reached at cyap@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4613.

[Last modified September 20, 2006, 00:25:20]


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