MANATEE -- Trucks and tractors were at work last week preparing land at a once-remote Interstate 75 intersection for new retail construction and housing.
The Woods at Moccasin Wallow, a mixed-use development first proposed 11 years ago that went into foreclosure during the Great Recession, has a new lease on life. Purchased last year by a Tampa investor, it is on schedule to bring retail space to the Moccasin Wallow-Interstate 75 intersection by fall 2016.
A development company managed by Richard Trzcinski, CEO of Tampa-based Primerica Group One, bought the 200-acre property in mid-2014 for $3.6 million. At the time, it consisted of a handful of homes and a few paved sidewalks and roads. Now, after some marketing and sales by Primerica, the remainder of the subdivision's 117 home lots are being developed and the start of construction on new retail is only months away.
Company officials say they hope tenants and commercial buyers will come along as the site work is completed.
"We're beating the streets on it now," said Lou Fabrizio, a senior vice president with Primerica.
According to Fabrizio and documents on file with Manatee County, Primerica is building a 13,200-square-foot multi-tenant strip center on about 13 acres of commercial property it owns fronting Moccasin Wallow Road. Showing seven storefronts in conceptual art submitted with the development's site plan, the space will likely be rented to "convenience retail" shops, Fabrizio said. He anticipates tenants could include a sandwich shop, a sit-down restaurant, a nail salon and a hair stylist. About 50 percent of the slots are spoken for, he said.
At the same time, Tampa homebuilder Adams Homes is building on the first of nearly 100 lots it purchased from Trzcinski. Primerica is still building infrastructure for most of the lots, including a road that will complete a circuit through the subdivision and the budding retail district.
Building could go on for some time. The Woods at Moccasin Wallow is approved for the construction of up to 268,206 square feet of retail and office space, and 340,400 square feet of light industrial space. Fabrizio said his company intends to sell much of its property to other companies that want to build there.
The subdivision is in the midst of a hotbed of residential development. Nearly 7,000 homes are slated for construction along Moccasin Wallow, including 2,802 at Taylor Morri
son's Esplanade at Artisan Lakes, 1,999 at Neal Communities' The Villages at Amazon South and 1,600 at Eagle Point, a Homes by Towne project. Commercial development at Esplanade is planned for property located across Moccasin Wallow Road from The Woods at Moccasin Wallow.
One subdivision at the southeast corner of the Moccasin Wallow-I-75 interchange, Imperial Lakewoods, was built in the mid-1980s.
The Woods at Moccasin Wallow was originally proposed by a group of investors that included Alan Zirkelbach, president and CEO of Zirkelbach Construction in Palmetto, according to state corporate records. The land they purchased for the subdivision was sold to Trzcinski after Wells Fargo Bank foreclosed.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027 or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.