Friday, Oct 31, 2014
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Developer: First Starkey Ranch houses ready in a year

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ODESSA — Starkey Ranch developer Dan Green said the first of the community’s 5,050 new homes will be available by this time next year, and a huge new district park will open in the summer of 2015.

The team from Wheelock Communities, which bought the 2,500-acre cattle ranch for $54 million, had hoped to announce the list of homebuilders Thursday during an official ground-breaking ceremony. But Green said all of the contracts weren’t finalized in time for the event.

“There’s a lot of excitement among the homebuilders,” he assured the crowd. Within the next few weeks, Wheelock also expects to announce several retailers that will locate in a new shopping center planned for the intersection of State Road 54 and Gunn Highway.

Green said the project has garnered national attention for the development agreement between the county, Pasco County Schools and Wheelock for the future Starkey Ranch District Park. The county and school board will share a new library, theater and park amenities, and the developer will pay all of the operating costs of the park for the first two years.

Project Manager Reed Berlinsky said the company has never made a financial commitment of this scale for any of its residential communities, but Starkey Ranch will be the largest project Wheelock has ever developed.

“We had an obligation to set aside land, and it just kind of grew into an agreement,” Berlinsky said. “The county was very open about what they could do and couldn’t do — that’s really the best way to have these kind of discussions. When the school district came on board and showed the same attitude, it was very apparent it was going to happen.”

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