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Pasco Hills land is under contract

This could be the first big move into the Pasco market for Hillsborough developer George Karpay.

By JAMES THORNER

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 24, 2000


SAN ANTONIO -- A Hillsborough County developer is under contract to buy 667 acres of rolling pasture on the northeast corner of Bellamy Brothers Boulevard and State Road 52.

George Karpay, whose family has built homes in such exclusive neighborhoods as Cheval, the horse and polo club in northern Hillsborough, has yet to announce any definite development plans for the property, known as Pasco Hills.

"We're just looking at it; we're doing some market studies," said Dale Lewis, one of Karpay's associates at his company's office on Dale Mabry Highway. "We've made no commitments as to what we're going to do with the land."

The seller is ZOM Development Corp., an Orlando firm that bought the land in 1990 as an investment. ZOM has maintained a grazing and timber operation on the property.

If Pasco Hills eventually sprouts homes, it would be the first large development on a 14-mile stretch of SR 52 between Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club on Interstate 75 and Oak Ridge Golf and Country Club near Shady Hills.

Most of the development interest on SR 52 is contained east of I-75.

Lake Jovita, an upscale golf course community near St. Leo, has built the first of its proposed 900 homes. The 5,000-acre Cannon Ranch, a couple miles east of I-75, was bought last year by developers promising 6,700 homes.

Karpay, 71, founded the Karpay Company, a Hillsborough real estate and development firm, in 1988. This would be his first large plunge into the Pasco market.

"Mr. Karpay has been a longtime developer in Hillsborough County," Lewis said. "But we always have interest in other land."

His son, Barry Karpay, runs Karpay Homes Inc., which has built mid-priced to expensive homes at Cheval and Kensington Estates in Lutz and developed Ventana of Carrollwood, a subdivision near Gunn Highway.

Company officials wouldn't release the expected closing date for the sale of the 667 acres.

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