Relocating to Tampa area

Old Apr 16th, 2006, 07:34 PM
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Relocating to Tampa area

My wife and I are considering a move to the Tampa area from Houston, TX. We will be visiting in a couple of months, but I'm trying to do a little research so we can focus on a few specific areas before going. We are both about 30 years old and will be starting a family soon. We would prefer a safe, clean area and don't really want to be in a "transitional" neighborhood. We like to go out and hit the occasional pub, but we don't have to be in the middle of all of the action.

I'm an outside salesman so the commute isn't as important as it would be to most people, but nobody likes to spend half of their life in traffic. It would be nice to have reasonable access to the city and beaches.

Are there any suggestions as to where in Tampa we should be looking? I've been told New Tampa, Brandon and Seminole Heights are areas we should look at. I don't know a whole lot about them so any help would be appreciated. We're certainly open to any other suggestions as well. Thanks.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 07:01 AM
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My daughter lives near USF, and she complains bitterly about the traffic in New Tampa & Brandon areas. Although there is an interstate passing thru these areas, it goes down to stop-and-go every day! The areas you mention are all growing, with many new developments (in transition I guess).

Have you looked at St. Petersburg? Lots of adorable well-established neighborhoods, anywhere you pick you're within ten minutes of a beach. The western half of the city would be my pick (use 49th street as your dividing line), along with Seminole (not to be confused with SHeights in Tpa) and possibly Pinellas Park. PPark used to be all trailer parks, but it is beginning to be developed into condo's etc.

There have been several really detailed threads here on Fodor's about relocating to the area. An advanced search on google (using fodors.com as your domain) should help you locate them (better than the Fodor's search engine for sure!).

Good luck with your decision!
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 03:48 PM
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Thanks for your help!
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 07:48 AM
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Check out the area north of Tampa Road in Pinellas and Hillsborough County. There are two areas that are very upscale, East Lake is in Pinellas, and West Chase is in Hillsborough off of Hillsborough Ave. Off of Linebaugh there is a planned community much like Celebration at Disney. They have a small town feel with shops, school, pool, etc. New developments with lots of family atmosphere, the old fashioned alleys for trash pickup, front porches, etc.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 07:55 AM
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If I moved to Tampa proper, I'd buy a house in South Tampa, around Howard Street and Bay-to-Bay. Great area, lots of young professionals.

On the other side of the Bay, I'd buy in Sunset Beach (T.I.) or Pass-a-Grille, or downtown St. Pete.

Good luck!
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 08:17 AM
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You will not have easy access to the beaches in Brandon. Anything across the bay is not near a beach. It will take an hour to get to the beaches from Brandon through terrible traffic. Another neat area is Dunedin. It is a funky older town and like everywhere on the gulf coast, has lots of new townhomes going up. It is minutes from a wonderful "locals" beach called Honeymoon Island, just a few miles to a large mall, 20 minutes to the airpor, etc. It does have newer, upscale homes as well. Call a realtor to show you around when you come so you don't waste lots of time.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 08:38 AM
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Seminole Heights is in central Tampa. There is easy access to I-275. It is an older settled neighborhood with an excellent neighborhood association. Most houses were built between 1920-1960, restored bungalows, etc. Parts of it are fairly high and in nonevacuation zones. South Tampa (Howard - Bay to Bay) has street flooding issues when it sprinkles and the property taxes in South Tampa are quite high. It does house more professionals..but at a price. Westchase is lovely and as indicated, has a good family feeling to it. It is easier access to gulf beaches. However, traffic into the city is very bad and very slow. It is also closer to Tampa International Airport..which may or may not be appealing to you. St. Pete feels like a small town with city amenities. Lots of great neighborhoods.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 10:47 AM
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Hmmm, I love historic older homes in the portion of South Tampa Gekko was talking about, old Hyde Park, and love the neighborhood immediately adjacent to it on the west side of Howard, New Suburb Beautiful...really pretty. I was in Hyde Park daily as my health club was there, but I rarely had problems with flooding getting out, even after the summer thunder-bumpers...and I've got a very low riding car. There is some flooding, but it takes more than a sprinkle to do it. Isn't Seminole Heights still in transition? There are some lovely areas there and bargains to be had (relatively speaking for FL, where there are no bargains in the true sense of the word!)

I love Old Northeast in St Pete too, is really lovely. Most of these areas are pretty expensive though I would think, compared to Houston. We were in hog heaven moving to San Antonio from Tampa!! Not sure how Houston's prices compare with S.A.'s.

I would avoid Brandon...did not care for that area at all...far from the airport, far from the beaches, congested, nonononono. The times I had to go there I felt like I should pack a suitcase to make the trip!

We had lots of friends and employees who lived in Westchase...large price ranges there and relatively good schools. They were all quite happy with it...but IMHO, it doesn't have the charm that South Tampa does, or Old Northeast.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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Westchase? Where yuppie-wannabes go to become alcoholics and eat at Applebee's while living in soulless McMansions?

Okay, that may be a bit harsh, but the area does lack character and it exudes a certain "I give up" mentality. But I'm sure the schools are lovely.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 11:30 AM
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Prices in the Old Northeast of St. Pete have sky rocketed. Expect to pay over $600,000 for ordinary 3 bedroom homes. It is nuts these days.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 04:28 PM
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Both New Tampa and South Tampa may offer what you want. Living in Tampa Palms allows you to live south of I-275 and avoid a significant bottleneck in traffic. There are some beautiful homes out here and pretty good schools. South Tampa has closer access to lots of great restaurants and malls and you can get a house on the water; however, it is much more expensive. Most people go to the beach in Clearwater. Brandon is just a basic neighborhood and no where near the water, but I think homes are pretty reasonable. I have a friend who lives in Seminole Heights who loves it there, but it is an older neighborhood with houses from the 1950s. New Tampa has newer homes. Let me know if you have any other questions as I have lived here for 13 years.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 07:40 PM
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We were in St. Pete Beach last week. I got the impression that traffic is really an issue in the Tampa area. One afternoon, we travelled from the Science Center to Tarpon Springs during evening rush hour and it took us 2 hours! I'm not exaggerating at all. I would recommend that wherever you choose, you do a trial run of your drive during rush hour.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 08:22 PM
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You can not buy in South Tampa for under $400,000 now. Seminole Heights is also getting pricey, at least in the mid $200's. New Tampa I'm not too sure about, price-wise, but I thought it was the $300s. Brandon is affordable but it is spread all over the place. Get close to the crosstown expressway and you will be happy during your commutes. Have you thought about Riverview? I've heard lots of interest there. St. Pete is very hot now, really great livable city, but I've heard from others that it's hard to find anything under $300s.

Scared yet? The good news is that it's a buyers market here, lots of property for sale.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 08:33 PM
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Why Tampa? Out of all the areas of Florida it to me is the least desirable place to live. There are some nice areas, but they are spread out. As for the schools it is also hit or miss. Hyde Park is nice and some outlying areas are lovely, but there are better choices for families like Naples for instance or Palm Beach County on the Southest side of Fl.
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