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Old February 13th, 2008, 03:42 AM   #1
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Oldsmar Development

Now you can drink to downtown's good health
Today's opening of Oldsmar Tap House is part of a plan that aims to revive a neighborhood.
By Terri Bryce Reeves, Times Correspondent
Published February 12, 2008

OLDSMAR - The anticipation of a first-born is always exciting, and the thrill is not lost on Tony Falso, who plans to open the Oldsmar Tap House today.

He beams with fatherly pride knowing his pub is the first retail establishment to open its doors in Oldsmar Galleria, a stylish wedge of stores, offices and condos city leaders hope will rejuvenate downtown Oldsmar.

"I wanted to be the first person open," said Falso, 48. "I just thought it would be a cool thing to do."

The pub features specialty wines, Boar's Head sandwiches, and a whopping 35 taps for craft-brewed beer.

As it would happen, Falso began planning the 1,753-square-foot bistro at 300 State St. E exactly nine months ago.

"It's the first time Tony's been in labor," joked Karen Falso, his wife and mother of their two teenage daughters.

The couple owns part of Eve's Family Restaurant and Eve's Florist in the Woodlands Square Shopping Center. Tony's mother, Eve, and his sister Nancy opened the family restaurant 21 years ago.

On a recent afternoon, several people stopped by to see how things were progressing at the Galleria, which straddles the corner of State Street and St. Petersburg Drive. One was Dr. Doug Weiland, the project's developer and founder of JES Properties.

"This is the first step toward making State Street a true downtown," he said. "There is no other retail on State Street."

Weiland expects more establishments to move in during 2008. An Asian restaurant will open in a few months, and he's talking to a Pilates studio, a hair salon and two more restaurants, he said.

Does he think the opening of the tap house will help with sales of his condos, located on the third and fourth floors?

"Absolutely," Weiland said. "Part of the idea of living downtown is living over a restaurant or pub and being able to walk downstairs."

So far, about half of the 20 condos are sold, though only a few are occupied. The units are priced from $190,000 to $220,000 for 2-bedroom, 2-bath units.

The three- and four-story Galleria, certified for occupancy last May, is considered key in triggering a rebirth of a pedestrian-friendly downtown, where people will live, work and play.

The first story of the 60,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style building was designed for retail and perhaps some commercial offices. JES Properties and another business occupy the second floor.

Other factors that may aid in revitalization efforts include the nearby Oldsmar Public Library, which opened in January, and the development of Olds Square, a proposed 600,000-square-foot mix of retail spaces, offices, residences and hotel rooms that Weiland hopes to build along State Street.

He and city leaders are waiting for the results of the city's third-party assessment, which could determine the fate and scale of the project.

Also checking in last week was Mike Monahan, vice president of business assistance for the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce.

He tossed out some suggestions, including the name for a beer: the Galleria guzzler.

Monahan predicted the niche establishment offering artisan ales would bring in plenty of traffic.

"This is a very unique concept," he said. "And unlike all the sports bars, there aren't any television sets. It will be a great watering hole."

The pub's logo stretches across three large windows on State Street and features a green gecko or "lounge lizard" bathing in a mug of bubbling brew.

The interior harkens back to Oldsmar's heritage with a craftsman-style feel: ample wooden trim around windows and doors, rich mahogany tables and chairs, and a dark oak bar.

There will be no menus; specials will be listed on a chalkboard.

The restaurant/bar will be high-tech enough though, offering wireless Internet connections and charging stations for those with laptops.

The big draw will be the specialty beer, crafted in small breweries around the world, and appealing to casual drinkers as well as connoisseurs, said Tony Falso.

"It will be presented as intended - in proper glassware, at the proper temperature and at a fair price," he said.

Most beers will cost between $4 and $6 a mug, with $1-off specials the first week. Four-ounce samplers will also be for sale.

Falso, a self-described beer geek, said Belgian monks brew some of the best beer in the world.

He said the origins of the ale are believed to be early in the history of man, when someone left bread out in the rain.

"The wild yeast fermented and people found it had a very interesting effect," he said.

The pub will also offer 15 red and 15 white wines by the glass, as well as distinctive bottled products.

Cathleen Langone and Ivy Diaz, who said they work nearby, came in for a sneak peek.

"I love all the wood, it really makes it warm-looking," Langone said. "We'll probably come after work. By the end of the day, we'll be ready for it."

Tony Falso said he has no doubt the pub will be a boon for downtown Oldsmar, as well as Weiland.

"What Dr. Weiland is doing is a brave thing," he said, referring to the developer's $10-million venture, launched in the midst of a chilly economic climate.

"He needs a little help getting this thing going, but he is really doing something positive for the community."

Terri Bryce Reeves can be reached at [email protected].

[Last modified February 11, 2008, 21:23:01]

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Old February 13th, 2008, 03:42 AM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Oldsmar Galleria:


- 4 stories
- 20 condos
- 60,000 sq. feet commercial space

Status: Recently Complete

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Old February 13th, 2008, 11:42 PM   #3
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Oldsmar is seeing quite a bit of new commercial development. If we ever get the rail system going, it could become an even more attractive place to live and/or locate one's office.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 12:22 AM   #4
John F
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oldsmar has been too franchise commercialized IMHO. Of course they were the part of the area that was largely undeveloped goign into the 00's...

but to see large public lots go to chains such as wlagreens, 31 falvors, dairy queen and other sprawltastic developments (Wal Mart) it's counter the urban development attempts they ahve been throwing out there.

I mean, there are several like-designed mini malls that just popped up from teh county line to central Oldsmar. All while a shopping center across from Wal Mart remains dead (outside a chilis that just popped in there) with thanks to Winn Dixie and Wal Mart's presence.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 06:07 PM   #5
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Hmm, I liked the color schemes in the rendering better. Looks like they had to make some changes to the building.
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