By Brian Bokor

Welcome to your May update of new developments in the Greater Brandon/Riverview area. Please check respective Facebook pages or websites for the most recent information.

April 19 saw the long-awaited opening of the Selmon Crosstown Gandy Extension, which will give Brandon commuters a nonstop straight shot from its entrance near the Westfield Brandon mall all the way to Derby Ln. in St. Petersburg. The 1.9-mile extension, which bypasses the Gandy Blvd. grind, has been in construction since 2018 and is sure to make the trip to St. Pete much easier for locals and tourists alike.

Residential development plans overshadowed commercial projects this month, which, when completed, will provide necessary additional housing options to fill the demand we have seen in the Tampa Bay market since the onset of the pandemic. Construction plans have been submitted for three apartment complexes: Causeway Commons (289 units) and Courtland Magnolia (319), both located on Causeway Blvd., as well as Big Bend (400) across from East Bay High.

These are in addition to two new townhome projects in Riverview Landing (92)—on Riverview Rd., between the I-75 overpass and 78th St.—and Edgewater (292), again on Big Bend Rd., west of I-75, along with eight potential single family subdivisions: Hidden Lakes (16 homes) and Bloomingdale Subdivision (25), both south of Bloomingdale Ave.; Stogi Ranch (109 homes, aged 55+) and Balm Boyette (204), where Boyette Rd. meets Balm Boyette Rd.; Creek Ridge Preserve (124) on Lithia Pinecrest Rd.; Balm Riverview (65), just south of Riverview High; and Spencer Ridge (90) and South Shore Pointe (190), both in Ruskin. This equates to 2,215 units for those keeping track, with no slowdown in sight.

During the month of May, craft beer fanatics will be able fill up that growler and take it to-go at Gasparilla Pizzeria & Growlers thanks to its recently approved alcohol beverage permit which allows the restaurant to not only deliver beer but also fill to-go containers. Look for a ‘grand opening’ event soon in celebration of this achievement.

Directly across the street, ice cream fans get a Bruster’s store near Firehouse Subs on the southeast corner of Bloomingdale Ave. and Bell Shoals Rd. Progress Blvd. and 78th St.—the old Red Barn location of Schiro’s Feed store—will feature a new fast-food drive-through restaurant along with space for four individual tenants.

In the sea, Freedom Boat Club of Tampa Bay will be launching a new location at AJ’s on the River in Gibsonton to be ready in May, where folks who want to enjoy Tampa waterways but also want to skip the boat upkeep can choose from a variety of boat rentals.

On the land, the River Car Show is held on the last Saturday of every month in the huge parking area of The River at Tampa Church, located at 3738 River International Dr., just southeast of the I-75/I-4 interchange. Admission is free for spectators with a small fee to show off your beauty.

And in the air, anyone wanting to show off or sharpen their drone skills are invited to Heroes Paradise on Saturday, May 1 for a drone scavenger hunt with specials this month for Mother’s Day on the 9th and for members of law enforcement the week of Sunday to Saturday, May 9-15.

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