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Upscale Citrus Park housing development underway

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Published:   |   Updated: September 26, 2013 at 04:29 PM

A gated community of large homes on estate-sized lots is under construction nearly seven years after the developer proposed a plan for the prime acreage.

Named Old Memorial for the adjacent pricey private golf course, which opened in 1997 on the site of a former citrus grove, the South Mobley Road development is approved for 88 homes.

The original proposal for the 88 acres purchased by Memorial Golf Club in July 2003 called for greater density, according to Hillsborough County records dating to January 2007. The initial rezoning request proposed 120 single-family homes, plus 55 town houses along the property’s eastern edge.

The Tampa law firm representing the landowner, however, acknowledged the proposed mix of 175 residences was ambitious, citing the site’s 18 acres of wetlands, lot-size restrictions and a power line easement through the property.

On Jan. 29, 2008, Hillsborough commissioners unanimously approved a revised and scaled-down rezoning request void of town houses.

The rectangular property across South Mobley Road from the Arbor Lake subdivision is northwest of Sickles High School, two miles from Westfield Citrus Park mall and about a 15-minute drive from Tampa International Airport.

Old Memorial Golf Club borders the acreage on the south and west. That 320-acre course takes its name from the highway that linked Tampa, Safety Harbor and St. Petersburg before bridges crossed Tampa Bay.

Renowned for sweeping views and challenging fairways, the golf course was built on land where former Tampa Mayor Curtis Hixon and his family once grew oranges and fished. Hixon was mayor from November 1943 until he died in office in May 1956.

A 17-acre lake straddling the golf course property and the new development is called Hixon Lake.

The president of the Tampa/Sarasota division of David Weekley Homes, one of two builders in Old Memorial, characterized Old Memorial buyers as young executive families with children.

“We’ve been surprised,” said Mark Thomas, head of the company’s Tampa/Sarasota division. “It’s been younger families — professionals,” some in their late 30s with young children, he said. “We’ve got a couple of professional athletes.”

In Old Memorial, David Weekley is building homes of 3,200 to 5,000 square feet with four to six bedrooms and garages for three or more vehicles, Thomas said. Prices start at $492,000.

The company has 38 Old Memorial lots of varying widths: 80 feet; 100 feet on the lake; and 160-foot “estate lots,” he said.

David Weekley’s on-site Barmoor model, a two-story pool home with all three bedrooms downstairs, is staffed and open daily.

In addition to bordering the golf course, Old Memorial has other benefits, Thomas said. “The location is very good, supported by strong schools,” he said. “It is close to the Veterans (Expressway), so people can commute in a lot of different directions to and from work. Aesthetically it’s a very nice gated community with a sizeable lake with many lake-view lots.” Amenities include tennis courts and a dog park.

“We plan to sell it out in 2014, and it will take a little longer to build out,” Thomas said.

gwilkens@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7124

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