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Tiny home community, facing big demand, plans major expansion

Escape Tampa Bay Village is expanding from about 10 homes to about 40 homes.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. January 29, 2021
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There’s nothing tiny about the tiny home market. It’s big business nationwide, including on Florida’s west coast. That’s where Dan Dobrowolski is expanding his tiny home community.

Wisconsin-based Escape Homes recently announced it will expand its Escape Tampa Bay Village from about 10 homes to about 40 homes. The community, in Thonotosassa, Hillsborough County, debuted in spring 2020 and has since seen a frenzy of demand. 

“We’ve had days lately where we’ve had 35,000 new inquiries a day,” Escape Founder Dobrowolski tells Coffee Talk. He’s fielding interest via emails, phone calls and people showing up at the community, and he and his team try to answer every single one.

“Real estate is a little bit out of whack right now,” he says. “Demand is accelerating rapidly. Throw COVID-19 on top, and people are trying desperately to get out of condos and apartments.”

The Escape Tampa Bay Village expansion project will include more homes, but it will also still have a lot of green space, a hallmark of the community. “The property has some beautiful old oaks on it that are really magnificent, and we like to leave things as much as possible,” Dobrowolski says. “We created, in effect, a central park. The park is a critical element.”

The homes in the expansion will include some mid-century design elements as well as elements of the regional movement known as the Sarasota School of Architecture. The expansion’s cost will likely be about $1.5 million, but it will depend on some factors not yet determined, Dobrowolski says. 

Dobrowolski, who has another tiny home community in Wisconsin, next to his Canoe Bay resort, is considering creating more tiny home projects in Florida. Sarasota, where affordable housing is a hot topic, is on his list of possible locations, but he says the local government hasn’t been the friendliest to the idea. He's getting interest from other parts of Florida and elsewhere, too. “Hillsborough County is very positive,” Dobrowolski says. “Polk County is looking at it.”


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