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Business Observer Thursday, May 27, 2021 4 months ago

Hundreds of apartments proposed for Tampa neighborhood address growth but draw the ire of neighbors

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Developers are responding to a population surge in a Tampa neighborhood with a trio of multifamily project proposals . One early challenge: opponents are mobilizing.
by: Louis Llovio Commercial Real Estate Editor

A South Tampa neighborhood in the shadows of the Howard Frankland Bridge and under the flight path for Tampa International Airport could be majorly transformed in coming years if three zoning proposals currently in the pipeline are approved.

The developments, which include apartments, parking garages and office space, would create a new center of population in an area — Beach Park — already seeing old ranchers razed to make way for larger, mostly cookie-cutter homes. 

The proposals have created a backlash, and protests, among some local residents, who have covered their yards with bright yellow signs from a group called Save Beach Park. (Many of the signs appear on lawns of the same recently built tony homes that replaced houses that had been in the neighborhood for decades.)

In an email, Save Beach Park organizer Ron Sparks, who, according to his LinkedIn account is a local commercial real estate broker, writes that the main issues neighbors have is with congestion, both on the streets and in schools, that apartments would bring. “Our kids and our teachers deserve better,” Sparks writes.

The Beach Park neighborhood is off of Westshore and Kennedy Boulevards, near the on ramp to the Howard Frankland and within walking distance to WestShore Plaza. The area is populated with a high concentration of offices, apartments, townhouses, condominiums restaurants and a hotel. A Publix opened in early 2000, and the side streets of Azeele and Cleveland are already used as cut-throughs during rush hours.

The new developments, if approved, would replace existing office buildings on South Hoover Boulevard, Bay Center Drive and Mariner Street with multi-story structures. One of the projects is being spearheaded by a development group tied to the Kiran & Pallavi Patel Foundation for Global Understanding. That development would bring a 12-story mixed-use building that would sit right on the water.

The proposals, which will be reviewed by city zoning officials, follow a long-term growth trend in the area, which is near the Westshore District — trends only exacerbated by recent population gains. The Westshore Alliance, a local business organization, reports that more than 3,600 apartments have been added since 2009. More than 1,000, not including these proposals, are planned or under construction.

The proposed projects include: 

200 S. Hoover St.

Sitting on the corner of South Hoover and West Cleveland streets is Mariner Square Park. The 3.9-acre office park is made up of a series of beige one- and two- story buildings that abut a residential neighborhood and sit across from an existing apartment complex, Mosaic Westshore.

The development group, based in Houston, are asking that the property be rezoned from office to multifamily homes. According to a site plan filed with the city of Tampa, the new development would consist of 392 apartments facing South Hoover and a 16-unit townhouse development. The site plan also shows that a seven-story parking garage would be built that runs along West Azeele Street.

An attorney was unavailable to comment on the project. 

5426 Bay Center Drive

Developers looking to change the zoning at Highwoods Bay Center have grand plans — maybe.

According to plans filed with the city, the Winter Park-based development group, has a couple of options. 

One option the developer is looking at according a site plan dated Dec. 15 is to keep an existing office building on the site and build a second one. The second option would be to build a nine story multifamily residence and an expanded eight-story parking garage.

There are few details available about the number of units that would go in a residential building. The developer did not respond to a request for comment.

A project narrative included with the rezoning application states that after an original approval, only one of two approved buildings and a portion of the garage were built. What developers want to do now is finish the original build out with what has already been approved or move to plan B, which includes the apartments.

The 6.24-acre piece of property, just off South Hoover on Bay Center Drive, is currently zoned for a 216,512 square feet building. The developers, according to the filing, seek approval for either the second building at 216,072 square feet or 331,957 square feet for the residential building.

5600 Mariner St. 

The most ambitious of three projects being considered is Watermark Eleven, the Patel development, which is right on Tampa Bay. The 2.3-acre property currently houses offices that can best be described as utilitarian in an area that aims to lean luxurious. The new development, filed by property owners K And P Estate LLC, would change that.

According to a “conceptual package” filed with the city dated March 17, the new development would be a 12-story building housing offices and apartments. The first floor of the building, next to an existing condominium complex, would be for parking and include 458 spaces.

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.

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