Article Courtesy of The Tampa Bay
By Alli Knothe
Published November 3, 2016
WESLEY CHAPEL -- The developers of a 7.5-acre pool called a
Crystal Lagoon first said they would break ground in late 2014. In April this
year, they said construction would begin within a matter of weeks. And this
week, Metro Development Group claimed that the work will start within the next
"It's imminent," said the company's president, Greg
Permits filed in 2016 with
the Southwest Florida Water Management District show preliminary
plans for what could be the country's first Crystal Lagoon.
The lagoon is the main amenity for a $100 million, 1,500-home
development called Epperson, located a couple of miles east of
Interstate 75, between State Roads 52 and 54. Epperson is a
piece of the larger Connected City district, an ultrafast
Internet community that would be first of its kind in the U.S.
Singleton said the delay was due in part to changes in the
design of the project involving the parking lots, beaches and
the overall layout of the lagoon.
"It is a slow process," he said. "We're measuring twice and
Now the plans are complete and the company has identified a
general contractor and the contract should be finalized in a
matter of days, Singleton said Wednesday.
The Southwest Florida
Water Management District, commonly known as Swiftmud, approved
environmental resource permit for phase one of the development
on Oct. 5. Public documents show the application was submitted
May 20 and approved on Oct. 5. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
also gave the green light.
A Chilean-based company called Crystal Lagoons makes
gigantic swimming pools that look like lagoons and are increasingly used
by upscale developments in South America, Europe and the Middle East.
Now they are coming to the U.S. with some of the first projects slated
for the Tampa Bay area.
The Wesley Chapel lagoon was expected to be the first of its kind in the
country. But further delays may cause it to lose that title. Another developer
in the St. Augustine area is expected to break ground on a 14-acre lagoon this
quarter, said Uri Man, chief executive of Crystal Lagoons U.S., the company
behind the technology. A third, in Dallas, is slated to be dug out starting in
Crystal Lagoon was invented by a Chilean real estate developer who built out a
20-acre pool along the country's coastline in the mid-1990s.
The boomerang-shaped one in Tampa Bay will be the length of five football fields
and hold 16 million gallons of water. It will be up to 8 feet deep. The project
was originally criticized for considering using water pumped straight from the
aquifer to fill the lagoon, raising sinkhole concerns from nearby residents.
Metro Development therefore reversed its plan and currently intends to purchase
water from the county utilities instead.
Pasco Assistant County utilities administrator Flip Mellinger said the lagoon
will be filled at a rate of 300 or 400 gallons a minute over at least 30 days
and cost Metro just over $50,000.
Singleton added, however, that the developer is reserving the right to find
another water source.