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From pure country to pure community, Westchase marks 25 years!

       

By Joey Johnston, Times Correspondent - Tampa Bay Times

WESTCHASE - Once, it was a cattle ranch, located far from Tampa's hustle and bustle, an area without major roads, stores, schools or much of anything.  It was pure country.  The locals sometimes traveled by horseback.  Some of the land was sold to a developer in 1987 and plans were made to create residential, retail and office space, including apartments, town houses, condominiums and a golf course.

In 1991, 25 years ago this month, the first resident purchased and Westchase was official born.  And the face of northwest Hillsborough County was forever changed.  "I don't think any of us could've imagined that Westchase would become what it is right now," said Hal Gastler, who became one of the community's pioneer homeowners in 1992.

Today, Westchase is a 3,500-home master-planned, deed-restricted community, accessible off the Veterans Expressway, that sometimes shows up on local television news weather maps, along with the likes of Brandon and Temple Terrace.  It's a collection of 29 separate neighborhoods, featuring a mix of Florida-style homes, neo-traditional neighborhoods with alleys and large front porches and urban-style apartments in the center of mixed-used retail areas.

"We wouldn't want to live anywhere else," said Christine Kwan, who moved with her family to Westchase in 2001.  "It's the kind of place where you know your neighbors and so many friendships are formed.  It's a wonderful  place to raise kids."

Westchase, which has hundreds of acres of preserved land, features two Swim and Tennis Centers, two playgrounds, an elementary school, and a middle school within its boundaries.  Throughout the neighborhoods and along Linebaugh Avenue, the east-west tree-lined artery through the community, there's a consistent parade of runners, walkers and cyclists. 

"The thing it always had was a great location," said Joanne Gastler, who moved to Westchase with her family in 1992.  "Close to the airport.  Close to the beaches.  When we moved in, there wasn't a lot in the immediate area.  But boy did that change."

"You don't really have to leave," Kwan said.  "Everything is a hop, skip and a jump away."  There are a variety of restaurants and a Publix supermarket located within the community.  The Citrus Park Mall is less than five miles away.  West Park Village, a mix of retail and residential founded in 1999, gives the feel of a walkable shopping/restaurant area that's often found in urban settings.

"Those are great advantages," Kwan said.  "But the best part is it feels so much like home.  Not every community gives you that kind of feeling.  But Westchase somehow had that from the first time we looked to buy here."

Chris Barrett, publisher of the Word of Westchase, the community's monthly newsmagazine, moved here from Washington, where he hardly knew any neighbors at his apartment building.  "I remember our first Halloween here and wondering where are all these kids coming from?'  Barrett said, "I had never seen so many young families and so many opportunities for the kids to make friends and have playmates."

"At the same time, you go outside, people speak to you and smile.  They have a conversation with you.  It's like a small-town feel and I think that's part of the appeal.  We have lots of people who move here from the north and they say Westchase reminds them of the town they grew up."

Barrett said the offering of reclaimed water and natural gas were attractive selling points.  As for resale, Kwan said Westchase's upkeep and look do not indicate a 25-year-old community.

"Some places show their age," Kwan said.  "To me, Westchase still looks brand new."

When the community was formed, the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) was established, allowing the district to sell bonds and raise money for roads, parks, sewers and other infrastructure.  The Westchase Homeowners Association takes the community's deed-restricted quality very seriously, citing residents for cosmetic violations and insisting on needed improvements for homes and yards.

"The HOA and CDD have been very dedicated people who are not afraid to enforce some standards," Barrett said.  "I think you could look at any other community in the state and you'd be hard-pressed to find one that looks as good as it did when it first opened.  Westchase does."

"We live in a deed-restricted community and people get annoyed when they get a deed letter to correct something.  I've gotten my share, too.  But it keeps everyone on their toes.  It's good for everyone and it maintains everyone's home values."

Barrett said it goes beyond Westchase's look.  There's also a community spirit, an almost undefinable quality.  There's also a tradition of charitable events, such as the Great West Chase Race, which benefits needy schools, and the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive.

"For the most part, it's a lot of people who have moved from different places for their jobs, young families, retirees, military, lots of kids," Barrett said.  "But when you walk around any of the neighborhoods, there's almost a Main Street quality.  It's welcoming.  There are block parties.  I think generally, people who live here have a lot of pride in Westchase.  And that's a great thing for all of us."

 

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    Neighborhood Series - Why live in Highland Park - 33626?

                        

     

    Highland Park has approximately 325 homes ranging in size from 1400 sq ft to 6000. Whether you prefer a single family home or a townhouse, there is a size to fit every need in Highland Park.  With a nod to traditional design, the single family homes offer welcoming front porches and decorative exterior details. Some of these homes even offer scenic lakefront lots.

    The residents of Highland Park work hard to create a strong sense of community. There is an active social committee that plans events for residents of all ages. Past events include a Music festival, End of Summer Party and an annual adult Holiday Party.

    Highland Park's zero-entry pool and children's playground are just two examples of the endless amenities growing households can enjoy!  A state-of-the-art Fitness Center, Junior Olympic Size Pool and Lake House activities provide convenient access to active, healthy living in the community.

    Restaurants, shops and offices provide activity and convenience.  The community is designed for walkability, through a combination of narrower, tree-lined streets, sidewalks, compact lots, and, in some areas, alleys for rear garage access.  

    Oak trees line the streets and fill the parks around Highland Park. Beautiful Galt Lake provides a picturesque spot for fishing, kayaking or bird watching.  Highland Park's monthly social events and close knit community are just the beginning when it comes to neighborly warmth!

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      Neighborhood Series - Why live in Waterchase - 33626?

       

      Waterchase is a magnificent gated community located in the northwest Tampa area, which features a home designed to suit every lifestyle. This pristine community consists of beautiful forested areas, nature preserves, lakes and much more!

      Complete with a 6,400-square-foot club house, Waterchase provides resort-style living and activities for its families. Staffed with an on-site activities director, the clubhouse has many amenities including a pool with a two-story waterslide, a junior Olympic lap pool; a multipurpose playfield, four lighted tennis courts with tennis pro on staff; basketball courts; a state-of-the-art fitness room and aerobics studio; and a tot lot for Waterchase’s younger residents.

      Waterchase offers active residents exceptional luxury, convenient services, and engaging activity programs within our resort-style community.

      Waterchase boasts eight (8) distinct neighborhoods:  Mar Azul, Savona, Alicante, Aberdeen, Astoria, Ashton, Baleares, and Provence.  The neighborhoods are harmoniously situated throughout 475 acres that include miles of walking paths interlaced through the professionally landscaped tropical gardens, perfectly manicured lawns, and past protected natural woodlands, freshwater lakes, and streams.  The community features 633 family and estate homes and 132 townhomes.  Waterchase has both single and multi-story homes, townhomes, and estate homes reflecting Mediterranean, Ranch Hacienda, and Craftsman style architecture.

      The Waterchase Mediterranean-style clubhouse is the social center and heart of the active community.  The clubhouse grounds include (4) four lighted tennis courts, a multi-use activities field, (2) two Olympic size pools, one sporting a fabulously popular two-story waterslide, basketball courts, and children's playground.  The clubhouse contains a fitness center, activities room, meeting rooms, property management offices, and two-story fireplace-anchored great room.

      The 24-hour manned guard gated family-friendly community is located within a top-rated school district; close proximity to numerous shopping malls, excellent restaurants, and golf course; 30 minutes from downtown Tampa; 20 minutes from Tampa International Airport; and 20 minutes from popular Gulf beaches.


      Waterchase - enjoy world-class amenities and a resort lifestyle every day of the year!

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        Neighborhood Series - Why live in Westchase - 33626

        Why live in Westchase?

         

        Westchase was voted #1 in '100 Best Places In Florida To Raise A Family' by Niche.com!!!!!


        Westchase is located in Northwest Tampa near the Hillsborough/Pinellas County line and is the only community of its stature that cantruly boast a location convenient to beaches, business, downtown and Tampa International Airport.

        Westchase is a 2,000-plus acre golf course community home to 5,000 single family and mult-family homes as well and retail shops, offices, schools and parks.

        The master planned development caters to those seeking a less congested, yet refined family community.  Westchase is an award-winning community adhering to the highest standards of environmental and architectural planning.

        Separated into individual villages with beautiful landscaping, Westchase offers something to everyone.  From condos, townhomes and villas to luxurious single family homes, the prices range from the mid $100's to over $900,000.

        Located within Westchase is West Park Village, a 185 acre neighborhood designed to feature homes with front porches, shopping, restaurants and a village center all within walking distance.  A charming area designed to look like the neighborhoods of yesterday, West Park Village offers bungalow-type style homes featuring detached garages with rear alley access and lots of sidewalks to create a small-town ambiance.

        Not one, but TWO Swim and Tennis Centers are available to ALL Westchase residents!  Additional amenities within Westchase include two childcare centers, medical offices, shopping, restaurants.  Also within Westchase is another shopping center that includes a bakery, Taylormade Properties, Burger 21, Postal Connections, Tijuana Flats, Patio 6, Maloney's Local Irish Pub, World of Beer-Westchase, Tampa Pizza Company, Blend Lounge, My Gym, The Grind Coffee Bar & Cafe at Westchase, plus other businesses.

        Additional amenities - Championship 18-hole, par 72 golf course designed by Lloyd Clifton.
        Golf Clubhouse. Grill, Pro Shop, Locker Rooms

        Swim & Tennis Center with heated junior Olympic-sized pool, 6 tennis courts and an activity/meeting room

        West Park Village Swim & Tennis Center with junior Olympic-sized pool and 4 tennis courts

        Miles of winding bike and walking paths

        Pedestrian underpasses crossing Linebaugh Avenue

        On-site Elementary and Middle Schools

        Several Community Parks

        Natural Gas Community

        Reclaimed Water Program

        Hillsborough County Fire Station

        Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library

        Upper Tampa Bay Bike Trail

        Lakes, wetlands, and conservation areas

        Westchase Square Shopping Center - Publix and Shops and Restaurants

        West Park Village AND Westchase Town Center

        Westchase....more than a neighborhood....it's a LIFESTYLE

         

         

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          Taylormade Properties, Inc. - A Westchase Original!

          Why Taylormade Properties, Inc. is the BEST Real Estate Office in WESTCHASE!!!!!

           

          *Located in Westchase - 33626 since 1994!

          *Customer Service is our PASSION - SERVICE is our #1 priority!

          *Integrity - We build relationships based on TRUST!

          *Reputation - Second to none!

          *Knowledgeable - We pride ourselves on being the most informed office in Westchase!

          *Excellence - We are totally committed and enthusiastic about what we do!  We are continually improving our performance through education and experiences!

          *Innovative Marketing - No one can compete with our marketing plan!  From extensive Internet marketing, virtual tours, to our fabulous website, homebooks, brochures, we spare NO expense in showcasing your home!

          *Bilingual Staff - Many of our associates are fluent in other languages.

          *True Personal Service - NO out-of-state call centers.  Agents at Taylormade who are aware and can help you with other agent's listings, friendly assistants who are knowledgeable about our operation.  We are DEDICATED, ACCESSIBLE, AND EXCITED about our business!

          *Boutique Real Estate Office - Experienced, educated, full service, luxury real estate firm that offers the HIGHEST level of service to its clients with superb marketing knowledge, SUPERIOR attention to detail and innovation!

          When Westchase built its FIRST retail plaza - Taylormade Properties, Inc. moved in - 1998.  Over the next 18 years, Taylormade helped Westchase grow into a THRIVING community known for its OUTSTANDING schools, unique shops, restaurants, renowned golf course, and upscale suburban homes.  From the ground breaking of the Westchase golf clubhouse and the opening of Westchase Elementary School, to the unveiling of every single one of Westchase's 30-plus neighborhoods, Taylormade Properties has been there EVERY step of the way..


          NO realty group in Westchase can match our longevity, and FEW can tout their local knowledge.   Yes, we've been here the LONGEST, and other realty groups have come and gone, but we've stayed true to our CORE principles:  PERSONAL SERVICE AND ATTENTION TO DETAIL.....

          Experience the DIFFERENCE with Taylormade Properties, Inc.!   813-855-5858

           

           

           

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