Skip to main content
Banking-Finance
Business Observer Thursday, Sep. 25, 2008 10 years ago

Gulf Coast Week

Share
Hyde Park Village changingEight tenants at Tampa's Old Hyde Park Village urban shopping center got notices to vacate or move to smaller spaces as the upscale retail center looks for ways to boost revenue amid a changing retail environment locally and nationally.Universal Health Care movesUniversal Health Care Group signed a lease as the first major tenant to move into 100 Bay Central in downtown St. Petersburg, the former domed corporate headquarters building of Progress Energy.Building departments mergeThe cities of Venice and North Port in Sarasota County have teamed up with Charlotte County to form a joint building department.Mining development deniedEven though Manatee County commissioners finally voted on a mining proposal for a 1,500-acre tract in northeast Manatee County, the issue is not closed. Lee comp plan changesLee County commissioners are debating 20 changes to the county's comprehensive land-use plan in a series of meetings, some of them more controversial than others.Long live CollierMagazines love lists.Fort Myers raises taxesThe Fort Myers City Council recently approved a 15% increase in the property tax millage rate that will result in a 12% increase in tax revenues, taking into account a 2.7% drop in property values.Tampa Ritz-Carlton deadTampa's chance to land a Ritz-Carlton hotel on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, between Tampa and Clearwater, has ended.

Gulf Coast Week

TAMPA BAY

Hyde Park Village changing

Eight tenants at Tampa's Old Hyde Park Village urban shopping center got notices to vacate or move to smaller spaces as the upscale retail center looks for ways to boost revenue amid a changing retail environment locally and nationally.

Tenants affected are the Tampa Artist Emporium art gallery, Zagora Worldwide Enterprises, Georgette's and The Shoe Salon, Nature's Table Cafe, Feranda Jeans, Precious Cargo, Hyde Park Fine Arts and Green Fish Greetings.

Other changes are coming.

Wasserman Real Estate Capital won rezoning approval in January for a $100 million project to redevelop Hyde Park Village, including approval to build two condominium towers.

There is residential space above the second floor of the plaza.

Plans call for adding 163 residences, more than 46,000 square feet of offices and new retail space, including possibly adding a grocery store.

Although Hyde Park has wealthy residents, condos and more restaurants may hold the key to Old Hyde Park Village's future success because of increased competition from International Plaza, a two-floor mall in Tampa's West Shore district, and other new and remodeled retail centers, industry observers say.

Universal Health Care moves

Universal Health Care Group signed a lease as the first major tenant to move into 100 Bay Central in downtown St. Petersburg, the former domed corporate headquarters building of Progress Energy.

Universal is leaving nearby Wachovia Tower. It will occupy 31,000 square feet on the second floor of 100 Bay Central, which is at 100 Central Ave. It has been vacant for about a year.

This may be a good time for tenants to strike deals in downtown St. Petersburg. The class A office vacancy rate is at 22%.

SARASOTA/MANATEE

Building departments merge

The cities of Venice and North Port in Sarasota County have teamed up with Charlotte County to form a joint building department. The move was necessitated due to several phases of layoffs that left each department at all-time staffing lows.

One key to the plan working, officials in both counties say, is that some of the work and rules are state-mandated, such as plan reviews and building codes. That work is easily split across county lines. The areas are also close enough together that many of the remaining building department employees were already familiar with each other.

Those employee staffing numbers have thinned considerably over the past year. Venice has gone from having six inspectors to having three; Charlotte County has gone from more than 40 to about 15; and North Port has dropped from almost 50 to less than 20.

Builders and developers in the area mostly support the plan, as it prepares the departments to work through cases more efficiently, now and when the market returns.

Mining development denied

Even though Manatee County commissioners finally voted on a mining proposal for a 1,500-acre tract in northeast Manatee County, the issue is not closed.

The commission, by a 4-3 vote on Sept. 16, turned down Mosaic Phosphate's plan to put together an extraction operation in the Altman Tract, which is estimated to contain about $400 million worth of phosphate that is used in farm fertilizer. The four commissioners who turned down the plan cited the possibility that about 400 acres of wetlands could be destroyed if the mining proposal were to be allowed.

But a Mosaic spokesperson has told county officials the company is likely to sue the county, prolonging a battle that's gone on for several years. The company says it has already made several costly concessions to gain commission approval, the final step before actual mining could begin.

The company had previously agreed to preserve most of the land and restore the remaining wetlands after mining ended. It also promised to build the town of Duette, where the Altman Tract is located, a new fire station and park once it began working on the mining project.

LEE/COLLIER

Lee comp plan changes

Lee County commissioners are debating 20 changes to the county's comprehensive land-use plan in a series of meetings, some of them more controversial than others.

Among the topics under consideration: what to do about 83,000 acres of land in the southeast part of the county, the future of Lehigh Acres and future sewer service areas. The commission is also considering a new rural land-use category for Pine Island.

Long live Collier

Magazines love lists.

Now comes Money magazine, which ranks Collier County fourth in the nation among the "best places for a long life."

Using statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and life-expectancy statistics from BestPlaces.net, the magazine's editors reported Collier residents have a wide variety of water sports and cultural events that will keep them healthy as they age. Life expectancy is nearly 81 years in Collier.

The top three counties with fountains of youth were Montgomery County, Md., Story County, Iowa, and Carver County, Minn.

Fort Myers raises taxes

The Fort Myers City Council recently approved a 15% increase in the property tax millage rate that will result in a 12% increase in tax revenues, taking into account a 2.7% drop in property values.

The tax bump comes even in the face of an economic downturn. Property taxes fund 50% of the city's general revenues.

Although the millage rate is slightly below 2004-2005 levels, the projected property tax revenue of $46.4 million is more than double the $21.7 million four years ago. Although property values declined recently, the taxable value of property in the city has doubled in four years to $6.9 billion.

Tampa Ritz-Carlton dead

Tampa's chance to land a Ritz-Carlton hotel on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, between Tampa and Clearwater, has ended.

Conditions in the financial markets convinced investors not to buy the former Radisson Bay Harbour Hotel and build a Ritz on the waterfront site. Instead, Capital Realty Investors says it is planning a multi-million-dollar renovation of the hotel and will open it under a new flag.

Related Stories

Advertisement