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Business Observer Thursday, Sep. 15, 2022 2 weeks ago

Controversial property sold after new buyer and residents reach a compromise

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Year after residents helped kill a previous development, a South Tampa office park is sold to a local business owner who plans to build town houses on the property.
by: Louis Llovio Commercial Real Estate Editor

After years of back and forth wrangling with neighbors, a South Tampa office park has sold, and the new owners will build 87 town houses on the property.

Mariner Square Park at 200 S. Hoover Blvd. in Tampa’s Beach Park neighborhood was sold Sept. 14 for $16 million, according to a statement. The buyer was DODO Investments LLC. 

According to Florida’s Division of Corporations’ database, DODO is tied to Daniel Ochstein, the CEO of NewSouth Window Solutions. A spokesperson for the Ramos Cos, a REMAX Alliance Group team that helped represent the seller and that announced the news, confirmed the connection.

The sale ends what has mostly been a contentious relationship between potential buyers of the property and nearby residents who long balked at plans for its redevelopment. Over the years the property has been under contract several times but failed to sell because of the neighbors’ opposition to the plans.

What was different this time is DODO and its development partner, Tanpa-based Wolf Partners, met with the Beach Park Homeowners Association several times to address the neighborhood’s concerns before submitting the plan for city approval.

In May, the president of the association told the Business Observer that the organization did not oppose the town house proposal because it was designed to not be overly intrusive to nearby residents and enhanced the neighborhoods.

The combination of time, and knowledge of the area, “set this transaction apart from the previous attempts,” the Ramos Cos. says in the statement. 

Year after residents helped kill a previous development, a South Tampa office park is sold to a local business owner who plans to build town houses on the property. (File photo)

“Given the intensity of development in the city of Tampa and the backlog of the city’s processing of fast and furious zoning applications — this closing is a testament as to how pre-zoning should go,” says James Ramos, CEO of Ramos Cos.

Beach Park, which is off of Westshore and Kennedy boulevards, near the on-ramp to the Howard Frankland Bridge and within walking distance to WestShore Plaza, is in a part of the city that’s seeing transformation squeeze it from both ends. On one side, multifamily developments are sprouting up, joining existing office buildings, and on the other side the traditional bungalows and ranchers that were a staple of South Tampa for generations are being razed to build multimillion-dollar homes and bring in new residents.

Mariner Square sits right on the line between these two worlds. A few hundred yards to the west, Novel Beach Park, a nearly 300-unit complex, is under construction while preparations are underway for the construction of a second complex, this one with 277 units and retail on the first floor. But behind the office park, to the east, and directly next to Mariner Square, to the south, are several residential neighborhoods packed tight with families.

Neighbors, despite the encroaching reality, have fought hard to ward off the growth, trying to keep as much of the neighborhood intact as possible.    

And it was a good fight. Just a year ago developers planning to build a 392-unit, six-story building; 16 two-story town houses; and a seven-story parking garage pulled their proposal just hours before the city council was set to vote on the proposal.

Some former members of the association, however, privately grumble that the new regime may be too accommodating to developers and prefer a tougher stand.

Whatever the future brings, the new development seems to have found the balance to please neighbors, developers and city leaders.

According to a site plan submitted to the city’s planning department, this new town house development will be made up of three- and four-story town homes with a clubhouse in the center of the complex. Tampa City Council unanimously approved the plan in June.

Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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