TRINITY — An outdoor shopping mall and movie theater would highlight a planned 800-home community on the former Mitchell Ranch property at Little Road and State Road 54.
The Tribune reported in January that Kitson & Partners was negotiating to buy the 330-acre tract from the Mitchell family, who have owned the longtime cattle ranch for generations. Project Manager Debra Dremann said the lifestyle center, complete with plenty of cafes and restaurants, will be comparable to Wesley Chapel’s The Shops at Wiregrass. It will have a Main Street district perfect for holding community events and festivals.
“I would say it’s fair to draw the comparison to Wiregrass,” she said. “We’re going to be developing 800,000 to 900,000 square feet in an open-air market setting. We hope it can be game changing for west Pasco in the same way Wiregrass was for Wesley Chapel.”
Kitson & Partners hasn’t yet closed on the land, but it is already lining up its development entitlements. “We’re still in the contract phase,” Dremann said. “We’re going through the zoning process with the county and permitting with [the Southwest Florida Water Management District] and the Army Corps of Engineers. We’re still a good two years away from construction.”
Ranch owner Dewey Mitchell said Kitson founder Syd Kitson shares his vision and passion for sustainable design. The company adheres to the Florida Green Building Coalition standards and is already in talks with the county to add a transit stop on S.R.54. The neighborhood will have trails linking residential areas to the market and to neighboring schools and YMCA. There will be bike access to a future bike trail connection - through Mitchell Ranch - between the Pinellas Trail and Starkey Park.
“It’s going to be really nice,” Mitchell said. “It’s a beautiful piece of land. I live on the property now, so I guess I’ll have to start looking for a place to live.”
Kitson & Partners is best known for its Babcock Ranch project that sits in both Lee and Charlotte counties.
He sold more than 80 percent of the ranch property to the state for $350 million, cheering environmentalists. That project got national attention in 2006 for its massive size, encompassing 17,800 acres and 19,500 homes.
Dremann said the Trinity project would have a mix of residential uses that will total between 600 and 800 units, including an apartment complex with around 250 units. The rest will be a mix of townhomes and single family homes ranging in price from the low $200,000s to the high-$300,000s.
“What’s important to us is making sure we provide something unique to the community,” Dremann said. “We want to make it a go-to place, not only for Pasco but also for Pinellas and Hillsborough residents. It’s been great working with the entire Mitchell family. They really care about what you do with the land, he really wants it to be something special.”