By Tamas Mondovics

Representatives from David Verardo Development, Hillsborough County leadership and the Brandon Chamber of Commerce, along with special guests and the media, gathered last month  to celebrate the groundbreaking and evolution of Brandon’s newest development, The Estuary.

The event gave anchor tenant, Bass Pro Shops, as well as Topgolf executives the opportunity to share their perspectives on what many believe will become Tampa Bay’s future premier entertainment and an epicenter of family-friendly destination.

Located just off I-75, bordering S. Falkenburg Rd., Palm River Road and Delany Creek Blvd, the  complex will cover approximately 144 acres with up to 570,000 sq. ft. of potential development.

While Bass Pro Shops and Topgolf will anchor the complex, officials said the two are but only a small element of the entire project, which is sporting plenty of room for retail, restaurants and hotel space, pushing close to a total of 300,000 sq. ft.

“We have always known that The Estuary would create a marquis destination that would support local businesses and tourism in this region,” said David Verardo, president of David Verardo Development. “I am completely confident in what the future holds for The Estuary.”

Also on hand to address the crowd was Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, who is being considered the dominant force behind the development and is credited with the five-year project’s progress and advancement toward its becoming a reality.

“This development will be an entertainment district with a “wow” factor that can not be underestimated,” Hagan said, while he emphasized that during his time on the County Commission there has never been an economic development opportunity like the Estuary.

“It’s an unprecedented project and an incredible economic reality, which will achieve an immediate return on investment,” he said adding, “It will create 1,700 construction related jobs and when completed, another 1,500 permanent jobs, not to mention the return revenue of $3 million in sales and property taxes per year from a piece of land that currently generate less than a thousand dollars a year.”

To begin the project, the county is investing $6.25 million into road and infrastructure improvements, going toward widening Faulkenburg Rd., installing traffic signals and extending Palm River Road.

“Instead of playing catchup, we are investing in our roads and infrastructure in advance,” Hagan said.

The developer is to be funding in advance all of the transportation improvements, which officials said Hillsborough County will reimburse only when the Bass Pro Shops certificate of occupancy is issued.

When all is completed the complex is said to generate an estimated $113 million annual economic impact.

Topgolf is slated to open late Fall 2014, while Bass Pro Shops’ anticipated opening is in late 2015. The entire entertainment destination is slated to be complete by Spring 2017. As the development matures, The Estuary plans to add community programming, such as art walks and community festivals.

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