Renovations to Renowned Equestrian Hot Spot Underway!

A painting of The Horse & Hounds Restaurant and Pub – Courtesy of Horse & Hound

If you’re in Ocala on vacation, for the winter season, or if you’re a bonafide local, one thing is for certain, you’ve been to the Horse & Hounds for a meal and a drink.

Located at the intersection of US Highway 27 and 225-A NW 70th Avenue, the Golden Hills Center is home to a variety of stores and restaurants. The shopping center is in close proximity to Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, Ocala National Golf Club, the Trilogy Ocala Preserve and is the primary restaurant and retail center for the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.

Owned by the Castro Family, The Golden Hills Center is home to a variety of businesses and restaurants including the Horse & Hounds Restaurant & Pub, Community Bank & Trust, Blue Wagyu/Dish, Winning Edge Saddlery, Medicine Wheel Vet Services and the Golden Hills Pharmacy. The Horse & Hounds, arguably the anchor of this local center, has been a mainstay watering hole and eatery for area equestrians for decades!

With the recent approval for Phase 1 of the development of the World Equestrian Center at Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club, this region on NW Highway 27 in Ocala is on the verge of exciting growth for the Florida horse community! With a certain increase in real estate interest in this region, the renovation and improvements to the Golden Hills Center are well positioned.

We recently caught up with Terri Austin Keogh, who manages Castro Properties, regarding her family’s plans for the center construction project. The renovation will borrow from design elements of a horse show barn by white washing the brick, adding board and batten details, highlighting accents with black trim, and installing a new tin roof. Renovations began this past March with the end goal to have the new improvements unveiled by October of 2017.

Castro Properties has released the following statement regarding the renovation project, “The Golden Hills Center is a unique retail shopping and dining destination. The renovation underway retains the authenticity of the original country stores design while incorporating materials and details akin to the Ocala horse country theme.”

“Originally designed to stay in keeping with the world renowned equestrian community, the Center’s appeal is now much broader. Horse & Hounds restaurant draws patrons from miles around with its quality American comfort food served in a casual setting complete with one of the region’s most popular bars.”

With the expansion of the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club, the goal is to remain a central hub for area patrons but to also attract more of the high-end crowd by capturing a boutique feeling in the shopping center.

Castro Properties is hoping to add a coffee shop and florist to the center, which would be pleasing to the local community.

The Castro family represents 3 generations of family members investing in the Ocala region.

Originally hailing from New York, the family initially expanded their furniture business, Castro Convertibles, to Ocala in the 1960’s during that company’s dramatic growth period. Initially, the move to Florida was to create factories and showrooms for their convertible furniture company, but they expanded into real estate holdings in the region as well. Today the Golden Hills Center is owned by the siblings: Terri Austin Keogh, David Austin, Jonathan Austin and Bernard Austin. Terri Austin Keogh is the President of Castro Properties, Jon Austin is Vice President of Property Management and Bernard Austin is the Designer.

Ocala Horse Properties is excited to see the new transformation of a shopping center we find ourselves in weekly. The Castro family’s commitment to this area is evident with this type of investment. The center will be beautiful and is another example of Ocala’s continued growth and prosperity.

Castro Properties plans to unveil the new Castro Properties website within the next month which will feature the Golden Hills Center as well as the rest of the company’s holdings.

Ocala Horse Properties will continue to bring to our readers updates on the project throughout the spring and summer.

Design drawing of Golden Hills Shopping Center – Courtesy of Castro Properties