| Meeting the Demand

Florida was the fastest-growing state in 2022, per the US Census Bureau, and Tampa was one of the cities many of those new to the sunshine state were flocking to, and with good reason. Tampa, Florida, is known for beautiful beaches, a vibrant downtown, Busch Gardens, colleges, and award-winning sports teams. What else could you ask for? With a growing population comes an increased need for housing. LIV Development saw this need as an opportunity and partnered with LandSouth to deliver a luxury, garden-style multifamily development that would bring 349 new apartment homes to Thonotosassa, Florida, a fast-growing community in the Tampa Bay area. Just a few miles from the University of South Florida and adjacent to the area’s Wilderness Conservation Park, the luxury community would address a housing gap and become a beautiful addition to the city.

Welcome to Livano Uptown!

| Under the Big Top

Long before LandSouth was involved, the site was home to the 36-acre Big Top Flea Market. A place where locals would shop for sports memorabilia, collectibles, antique items, and more. Before that, the site was the Golden Gate Speedway. A few old tires were even found during site work. The land has quite a history.

As the flea market became increasingly vacant over the years, the owner was eager to rezone and sell the land to be replaced by a much-needed residential development. Big Top Flea Market officially shut down in April 2020. After LIV Development purchased the land and demoed the building, LandSouth was eager to help transform their idea.

| The Vision

Designed with luxury and convenience in mind, LIV Development set out to make Livano Uptown more than just another apartment complex and, instead, a place where its residents would be proud to call home and stay awhile. The community would be rich with luxury amenities. From a resort-style pool for relaxing to a beautifully designed clubhouse equipped with a coffee bar, private offices for work-from-home residents, and a fitness center, yoga and spin room. Not to mention a 3,000-square-foot stand-alone Pet Center for overnight boarding and grooming – all available without leaving the comfort of the community!

LandSouth deployed a team they knew who could execute the vision. Matt Pyle, the project manager, worked closely with Fred Hosley, the project’s superintendent, to lead the project. The team's strength extended to the assistant superintendents, Alex Saenz, Doug Hastie, Jason Kelley, and Lonnie Kelley. This veteran team was prepared and excited to get started.

| Overcoming Obstacles

Something unique to the Livano Uptown project for LandSouth was an offsite component consisting of road improvements, storm drain installs, a new substation, and turning the existing 6-inch force main pipe into an 8-inch force main pipe.

Typically, any offsite work is completed before we are involved but as Tampa was expanding, we were one of the first to build a new community in the area and upgrades were required. To prepare for the work, our team interviewed and selected specialized site work subcontractors for the job. This offsite package was more complicated than initially expected due to a four-month permit delay, making the schedule extremely tight. But that’s not all. Once work could finally begin, our team discovered a main gas line running along both sides of the project all the way to Orlando.

This newfound discovery was unknown to all parties, so it was not shown in the original construction drawings. Since the original drawings did not account for the existing gas line, installing the drainage pipe and structures was now more challenging than ever. All work had to be done with critical attention to detail, or else the entire gas line could be compromised.

Hours and hours were spent working through design elements, detailed punch lists, and in-depth inspections. Our team constantly communicated with the project’s vendors and stakeholders to ensure all plans, specs, code requirements, and safety guidelines were followed. Weekly coordination meetings were held onsite to ensure everyone was on the same page.

A representative from Florida Gas was required to be onsite to monitor any digging to ensure the line was never compromised. Our team worked closely with the Florida Department of Transportation, Hillsborough County, and different municipalities throughout the project, as this work was happening simultaneously with other onsite operations. All the buildings’ Certificates of Occupancy were held until this offsite work was finished, adding to the pressure to safely complete the work to keep the project on schedule.

One drainage pipe ended up being within inches of the allowable distance to a gas line. The new force main pipe ran under canals and main roads cautiously to avoid rock and the underground substation. It was time-consuming and required constant attention. This entire process took about eight months to complete, but the obstacles didn’t stop there.

| The Butterfly Effect

In 2021, supply chain issues were in full force. You name it, it was probably on backorder. Construction supplies weren’t exempt. Livano Uptown’s windows were significantly delayed. While windows might seem like a small component in the grand scheme of a project, a lack of windows can cause other construction activities to come to a halt, impacting the project’s overall schedule. Everything from landscaping to drywall to painting. Without drywall, you can’t paint or complete the siding. It’s been referred to as “The Butterfly Effect” – as one thing leads to another, and a window delay impacts much more than just the windows themselves.

The team worked together on a solution and temporarily hung plastic “windows” so the project could keep moving, but schedules had to adjust. Drywall work could proceed, except for the areas around the windows. Painters could paint, except for the areas around the windows. Unfortunately, all landscaping work around the buildings was placed on hold because the lifts would ruin the fresh and bright greenery once the windows eventually came in.

After about a two-month delay, the windows finally arrived. Our team immediately worked on coordinating the installation as quickly as possible. Once installed, the remaining drywall, painting, and landscaping work could be completed. Throughout the delay, the team remained transparent and constantly communicated with LIV Development to keep them reassured and updated on the status every step of the way.

| 'Tis the Season

Operating in the Southeast, we are extremely familiar with hurricane season. Every year, from June to November, we religiously follow the weather reports, review our hurricane preparedness policy, and stock up on necessary supplies. We prepare for the worst but hope for the best.

In September 2022, Hurricane Ian was predicted to hit Tampa directly as a strong Category 4. Livano Uptown was still an active job site, and our team had to pause all operations and secure the area, ensuring the safety of the surrounding community. They employed LandSouth’s hurricane preparedness policy to best prepare the site before evacuating.

Hurricane Ian’s path changed right before landfall and spared Tampa and Livano Uptown a direct hit. Besides a few inches of rain, the site was safe, and the team could quickly resume daily operations, and the schedule was minimally impacted.

| The End Results

Despite challenges along the way, the team delivered the last building of Livano Uptown to LIV Development early. The seven-building project with a standalone clubhouse and carriage houses is a stunning addition to the city of Thonotosassa, offering luxury housing to the area for years to come.

The team feels proud looking at the development today and remembers most of all the teamwork that went into it. Doug Hastie and Alex Saenz, two of the project’s Assistant Superintendents, have since been promoted and are running their own jobs in nearby cities after their performance at Livano Uptown.

LIV Development was very pleased with the end results and put the fully leased project on the market shortly after completion. Livano Uptown sold for $84 Million, a few months later.

| What We Learned and Will Implement for the Future

  1. Relationships make things happen. Strong relationships got the job done from the subcontractors to the project team to the client. The project team enjoyed working together and finding solutions when needed. You are only as strong as your team and your ability to work together.
  2. You can’t over communicate. Keep everyone on the same page – especially when obstacles come up. With so many parties involved, holding weekly coordination meetings helped keep everyone on the same page and prevented surprises when problems arose.
  3. Always be prepared. Operating in the Southeast, hurricanes will always be something we have to prepare for. Following preparedness policies keeps everyone on the same page and secures the project, protecting the surrounding areas.
  4. Stay adaptable. There will always be obstacles in construction, but don’t let them stop progress. Come together as a team and develop creative solutions to keep the momentum going.
  5. Keep Learning. Each new project brings unique learning opportunities and expands your portfolio. These new experiences can be applied to future projects and shared with others.

The right team, strong relationships, and clear communication can produce incredible results. Just look at Livano Uptown!