Many multifamily home projects are scheduled for construction in the Brandon area.

By Brian Bokor

It has been widely reported that on average, 950 people move to Florida every day. With demand for housing continuing at this rapid pace, it is inevitable we would see a corresponding increase in the supply of residential units in our area.

Unfortunately, the amount of land available that has access to county water and sewer systems is beginning to dwindle, causing developers to look outside of this area—called the Urban Service Area—for alternate project sites.

County leaders, wanting to help curb the urban sprawl that accompanies building outside of the area, have been encouraging urban infill projects. ‘Urban infill’ implies that existing land is mostly built-out and what is being built is in effect ‘filling in’ the gaps. Most of these sites are 20 acres or less, thus creating smaller neighborhoods with typically higher densities (more homes per acre).

A perfect example of this was the Ace Golf Range on Kings Ave. near the intersection of Lumsden Rd. and Kings Ave. The project now under construction is called Ironwood Flats and is approved for 333 units on the former driving range property.

Depending on the underlying or future zoning of the land, multifamily projects (apartments and townhomes) have become a means of providing more affordable housing options at usually, but not always, a lower price point than your standard single-family home. Additionally, with an increase in residents, an increase in multifamily elderly care facilities should also be expected to meet demand.

“As Florida’s population continues to grow and attract more residents, the real estate market has—in my estimation—expanded to meet the needs of all families relocating to our great county. In the past, much of the development in Southeastern Hillsborough has been solely single-family homes, but over the last few years it’s become evident the demand for multifamily units is getting higher,” said Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White. “Historically, the expectation is that multifamily goes in the dense urban core, but with growth—including jobs—reaching into our more traditional suburban and rural regions, the need for that type of housing has emerged, and I’m glad to see the needs of all our new residents being met by the development community.”

The depicted graphic was created to give readers a visual representation of the areas where new multifamily projects have been proposed, approved or allowed under current zoning. Readers who would like to see the physical addresses for each of these projects can visit www.ospreyobserver.com to find this information.

Three of these projects—Brandon Main Street, Sentosa Riverview and Southbend (part of Southshore Commons)—are planned to be developed as ‘mixed-use,’ where several different uses are utilized within the same neighborhood. Winthrop on Bloomingdale Ave. is a prime example of this concept where residential, retail and commercial spaces all coexist within the same development.

The Brandon Main Street project has been in various stages of planning since 2001 and even has its own community plan available online at www.planhillsborough.org. Most recent plans call for 421 multifamily units to be accompanied by 18,640 sq. ft. of commercial space in phase one, including a 6,000 sq. ft. office/retail building along with a 2,000 sq. ft. food hall and large, 1-acre park.

Two mixed-use buildings will also be available for nonresidential uses. Phase two will add another 239 units and 56,360 sq. ft. of commercial space for total of 660 apartments and 75,000 sq. ft. of commercial space.

Sentosa Riverview will offer 368 luxury-style apartments, including up to 150,000 sq. ft. office, retail and commercial space. Currently, there are five 1-acre out-parcels available for sale as well as ongoing negotiations with major national restaurants and retailers. The self-storage facility that was included in the original plans will not be part of the final project.

The Valrico retirement residence currently under construction that most of us pass at the intersection of Lithia Pinecrest Rd. and Valrico Rd. will not be an assisted living facility as originally reported but will be considered an ‘independent’ living facility without access to on-site medical or nursing care and will offer 136 one-bedroom and 15 two-bedroom residential units while employing a staff of four.

On the other hand, the Meridian at Brandon will be a traditional assisted living facility offering 111 beds of assisted living with 38 beds dedicated to memory care. This project will employ up to 25 people. The proposed Mathog Rd. project has submitted dual uses, one being a senior housing option and the other a standard apartment proposal.

Sixty-six townhomes were proposed at the location west of the Bloomingdale Walmart adjacent to the library, and although that request has been withdrawn, the parcel is approved for up to 261 units.

Fifty49 Bell Shoals, the 166-bed assisted living facility planned for Bell Shoals at the old St. Stephen Church location, has been put on hold until the Bell Shoals widening project has been completed.

Mathog Rd. (20-0808) and Knowles Rd. (20-1264) have yet to have their rezoning requests approved.

All other projects listed on the map have been approved and are in the final stages of construction plan review or have cleared all necessary steps and are ready to be built, with the exception of Tapestry Town Center in Brandon, which is now actively leasing.