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TAMPA, FL-Beat Kahli, a former Swiss banker-turned-developer and creator of the five-year-old, 1,860-acre Avalon Park mixed-use community in east Orlando, sees a development niche in largely rural Pasco County where his company, K & M Properties, plans to break ground in January on the first 74-acre phase of Suncoast Industrial Park. A second 130-acre development phase is also planned.

K & M bought the first-phase land from the Caulfield family of Pasco County for $16,000 per acre (37 cents per sf), or nearly $1.2 million, and plans to sell 11 improved five-acre parcels for a price in the low $100,000-per acre range. Of the 74 acres, only 54 acres are usable, Kahli tells GlobeSt.com. Demand for the five-acre parcels is strong. “Out of our first phase, we already have nine letters of intent for the 11 parcels,” Kahli says.

The park is being developed at this time because of demand by users. “Pasco County needs jobs,” Kahli says. “The county has to try and get away from its image as a bedroom community [for jobs in Tampa].” Pasco County is about 35 miles north of Downtown Tampa and about 80 miles west of Downtown Orlando.

With his planned 4,800-home New River Township community, Kahli says he and partner Brian Mahoney of Palm Beach are “determined to bring jobs to Pasco County.” The Suncoast Industrial Park site, off Hayes and Softwind roads, north of State Road 52, is 15 miles from the New River Township community where new jobs already are being created.

K & M has also acquired another 130 acres nearby on State Road 52 and Shady Hill Road for additional park phases. The partners paid the Caulfield family $3.5 million or about $26,923 per acre (62 cents per sf).

Kahli and Mahoney believe their timing to develop in Pasco County is right “The market is very, very strong in every respect,” Kahli says. “The challenge, especially for a large project, is traffic concurrency. We have to find a way to keep people inside Pasco County. The most ideal way to do that is to offer them jobs in the community where they live.”

Kahli and Mahoney are 50-50 partners in K & M Properties and also in Prestige AB/Ready Mix, the largest independently owned ready mix concrete company in Florida.

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