Connerton developers reach accord
LAND O’ LAKES - Almost a year after completing a $40 million debt restructuring plan, the developers of Connerton have full control of the community’s undeveloped land. Texas-based Hayman Woods completed the acquisition of bonds from south Florida real estate tycoon Arthur Falcone earlier this month. The Falcone Group had purchased some $15 million in bonds in 2012 and refused to agree to the restructuring deal, which threatened future development of the community. Adam Krug, senior vice present of Hayman Woods, did not disclose the purchase price of the bonds. He said the acquisition is important because it “ensures continuity of ownership and development of all future phases and villages of Connerton.”Connerton was launched amid great fanfare during the height of the real estate boom, but construction stalled in 2011 at just 256 homes. Last winter, Hayman Woods sold 510 finished lots to four area builders, each of whom has completed and opened a new model and sales center. “We are very pleased with the level of interest from new residents; homebuilding activity is accelerating,” Krug said. As of last week, builders had sold 16 new homes, according to Stew Gibbons, president of the community development district. Hayman Woods also controls a significant amount of property zoned for commercial and business uses. Krug said the company has had “constructive dialogue” with Florida Hospital Connerton about expanding its operations in the business park. The nonprofit hospital owns 38 acres in Connerton and currently operates a long-term acute care facility licensed for 50 beds. It caters to patients who require mechanical help breathing and other intensive care for weeks at a time. Long-term care hospitals such as the one in Connerton have not been able to expand since 2007 because of a federal moratorium, which expired late last year. “We are aware that the moratorium was lifted, but we have no specific expansion plans at this time,” hospital spokeswoman Jennifer McVan said.