For about four years, motorists traveling U.S. 19 through Homosassa have had to contend with traffic cones, congestion and lane changes while the widening project continued.
It’s supposed to wrap up in early 2021 and businesses along that route from Green Acres Street to West Jump Court are starting to position themselves.
Two of them include a new standalone Dunkin Donuts and car wash.
The Citrus County Planning and Development Commission (PDC) last month recommended approval of a conceptual plan for the new businesses, to be located at the southeast corner of U.S. 19 and West Homosassa Trail.
It goes before county commissioners Oct. 27 for final approval.
The site currently has multiple commercial uses, including a two-story office building and a four-bay self-service car wash, both built in 1988. There’s also another office building that’s been there since 1974.
Plans call for demolishing those existing buildings and building a new car wash and Dunkin Donuts, according to the county.
The new Dunkin will be sandwiched between RaceTrac gas station to the north and a CVS pharmacy to the south.
The new restaurant and car wash will be located at one of the busiest intersections in Homosassa and is at the epicenter of the ongoing widening project. To facilitate traffic, the applicant is blocking access off U.S. 19 and West Homosassa, Instead, customers can only enter via two other roads that lead into the new complex: South Pittsburgh Avenue and West Aquaduct Street.
Businesses look at roads and infrastructure when determining where to build, said Josh Wooten, president/CEO of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce.
Wooten said Homosassa, old Homosassa and the southwestern part of the county is red-hot right now and not just because a new road - better able to withstand flooding - is soon to be completed.
Mix in a brisk housing market at Sugarmill Woods and newly discovered tourism opportunities in Old Homosassa and it's a natural driver for business, he said. The Suncoast Parkway interchange being built off West Cardinal Street is also sure to play into business growth, he said.
“There’s a kind of mini-boom going on down there and I think these businesses have decided this is the right time to pull the trigger,” Wooten said.” The infrastructure is available and the roadwork is finally going to come to a conclusion.”
Acme Storage, a bit farther north at 8438 U.S. 19 in Homosassa, will offer covered rental storage units for recreational vehicles and boats.
Owner Jerry Zahringer, who hopes to open later in October, said he saw a need for this kind of facility. Too many times, he said, he’s seen RVs and boats sitting outside exposed to the elements and that can ruin the vehicles.
“I just figured it would be a good thing to get into,” Zahringer said.
There will be spots for about 75 vehicles. There are concrete floors and each unit will be supplied with electricity. Acme Storage will have security cameras and a secured gate with access code.
For more information, call 352-382-1076.
More businesses open
Hitchcock’s Market opened two months ago in the 15,500-square-foot spot inside Homosassa Square off U.S. 19 by Yulee Drive.
The family-run grocery is next to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet.
At that same plaza, Beauty & the Barber and the Fish Tales Restaurant also recently opened.
Megan Moody, co-partner and co-manager of Beauty & the Barber, said when it opened in July the location is ideal because it is the main route for tourists heading to the waterways.