Redevelopment project hits a snag
By KENNETH KNIGHT | The Tampa Tribune
As seen in the Tampa Tribune
The first-floor units initially would be marketed to potential commercial tenants. If none is found by February, they could be marketed as residences, said David Smith, a Tampa attorney representing Vlass Temple Terrace.
Vlass wants the first-story units to have 14-foot ceilings. But council members David Pogorilich and Ron Govin said the ceilings should be as high as 18 feet to better attract potential commercial tenants.
Vlass representatives disagreed, saying a 14-foot ceiling is an acceptable height for the project. The matter of the ceiling height remains a sticking point for the council and Vlass.
The project developer two years ago signed on to create a new downtown on the site of a dilapidated shopping plaza at a cost of about $150 million. As part of the “New Urbanism” approach, residents living in the city’s urban core would be able to shop, bike, walk and play without leaving their immediate neighborhood.
Workers completed the first phase, but the project went idle in March before the next phase of work began. At the time, council members turned down the developer’s request to change the original agreement it signed with the city.
Leinbach last week told council members that, based on his conversations with Vlass representatives, the development company wasn’t ready to submit a new proposal for council consideration.
In the meantime, Pogorilich has asked City Manager Kim Leinbach to encourage the Vlass group to begin construction on the arts center, an approved portion of the project’s second phase.
The proposed 214-unit “luxury” apartment complex is not considered a part of the second phase.
The council wants to schedule another sit-down meeting with Vlass representatives when the development company has a solid proposal, city officials said.
The board plans at some point to hold another public hearing at which residents may express their views on the downtown redevelopment plan. So far, Vlass officially has not submitted a new proposal.