The city of Tampa has closed on a deal to buy a 1.8-acre piece of land that formerly housed a grocery store and is the final piece of a puzzle for a planned recreation complex on the city’s east end.
The property, on North 34th Street next to Fair Oaks Park, was once the site of a Penny Saver Food Market. A spokesman for Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says the city paid $1.4 million to buy it.
The closing of the sale is a long time coming. The city has been working on the project for a couple years but was forced to cancel the purchase of the Penny Saver property in February “because the owners failed to meet the terms of the deal.” The property, according to county property records, was owned by ANJ Trade, an LLC based in Tampa.
At the time, city officials said they would move on with the development without the extra land.
But, in a July 12 statement announcing the closing of the deal, the city says that despite canceling the sale “leaders kept pressing forward.”
Castor, in the statement, says “it’s taken a lot of determination and hard work to get to this point, but it will pay off in the end.”
What the city is planning for the property is a new complex that will include a senior center on the site of the Penny Saver building, a recreation center and exercise trail. A rendering of the project also shows a softball and football field, a lake, children’s play area and fitness garden space along with two parking lots.
Tampa City Councilor Orlando Gudes, in the statement, says the purchase of the Penny Saver property “not only removes a blight but helps us create a regional recreation complex.”
Demolition of the Penny Saver building should happen within the next 60 days, the city says, and a ceremonial groundbreaking will follow soon after.