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Business Observer Thursday, Sep. 30, 2021 3 weeks ago

Developer pulls plan for apartments and townhomes, but vows project is not dead

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Firm, in planning more "collaboration with the community," intends to resubmit rezoning application in hot part of Tampa.
by: Louis Llovio Commercial Real Estate Editor

Shortly before a controversial plan to bring more than 300 apartments and 16 townhomes to a mostly residential neighborhood skirting the Westshore District was set to go before Tampa’s City Council Sept. 23, attorneys for the developer announced the plan was being withdrawn.

In a two-paragraph letter, the attorneys gave no reason for pulling the rezoning application for 200 S. Hoover Blvd., which had been in the works for months and seemed on the verge of approval despite organized opposition from neighbors, simply saying it was withdrawn.

A city employee working at the meeting pointed to a copy of the letter posted on a window outside the meeting room, saying she was tasked with telling residents who came to testify that the rezoning was no longer on the agenda.

For nearly 24 hours after that, calls went unanswered and residents were left to speculate about what happened. Was the project dead? Had they defeated the developer? Did they no longer need to worry about a 300-plus unit apartment complex with townhomes and a seven-story parking garage in their backyard?

The answer? Not exactly. In a Sept. 24 email to the Business Observer, a spokesperson for Pebb Capital, which became a new partner on the project in August, says it will return to the city at some point. The firm, the email states, "determined after its due diligence that the development plans needed to be readdressed and improved. Therefore, the application for rezoning was withdrawn and a modified plan will be submitted after further evaluation and collaboration with the community.”

While residents have won a small, though likely temporary, victory, there seems to be no reprieve in sight for those who oppose the development around the South Tampa neighborhood of Beach Park. This is especially true given a second battle will be fought over a development just several hundred yards away, and within sight of the development that’s just been sidelined. That one will bring not only apartments but office space and go 12 stories high.

The Beach Park neighborhood is off Westshore and Kennedy Boulevards, near the on-ramp to the Howard Frankland Bridge and within walking distance to WestShore Plaza. Along with offices, condominiums and apartments, the neighborhood, like much of South Tampa, is being transformed from one of small ranchers housing longtime residents to one of newly constructed million-dollar homes often housing newcomers.

The development at 200 S. Hoover Blvd., as originally proposed, would have brought a 392-unit, six story building; 16 two-story townhouses; and a seven-story parking garage to an existing office complex, Mariner Square Park, that borders a row of homes. The developer was asking the city to change the zoning from residential office to planned development. If approved, it would have sat next to an existing apartment building, Mosaic Westshore, and within sight of several other condo and apartment complexes, two hotels, townhomes and several office buildings.

The Hillsborough Planning Commission, according to records on the Tampa City Council’s website, had found the plan consistent with the Tampa’s Comprehensive Plan.

The second development is at 5600 Mariner St.

This project, which sits right on the water and is spearheaded by a development group tied to the Kiran & Pallavi Patel Foundation for Global Understanding, is Watermark Eleven. According to a “conceptual package” filed with the city March 17, the new development would be a 12-story building housing offices and apartments. The first floor of the building would be for parking.

Floors two and three would have 55,000 square feet. A significant, though not detailed, portion of that would go for third-floor office space for the family’s foundation and second-floor office space for Onicx Development, the family’s development company.

There is no mention in the plans as for what the fourth floor would be used for, but floors five through 12 would be dedicated to apartments. There are a total of 192 units planned, including 56 two- and three-bedroom units and 80 one-bedroom units.

The city has not yet set a public hearing on that project.

Opponents of the developments argue that bringing too many apartments into the area would cause overcrowding at local schools and on nearby streets. Proponents, though, say growth in an area already amid a transformation is unavoidable, especially when condominiums, apartments and office complexes already exist in the neighborhood. 

The organizer for a group calling itself Save Beach Park did not respond to emails or calls requesting comment on the withdrawal or the remaining proposal.

 

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