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Development Proposed Near Schools
By MICHAEL H. SAMUELS, The Tampa Tribune

Published: June 2, 2007

HYDE PARK - Dennis Johnson said he wants to turn a stretch of South Boulevard into a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, safe for parents and children at the schools flanking his property.

Johnson and partner Ramon Perez of Homeworks Builders want to develop 503 and 505 S. Boulevard into Hyde Park Square, a three-story retail, office and residential complex opposite Gorrie Elementary and cater-cornered from the rear of Wilson Middle.

'More than 500 parents come to each of those schools every day in the morning,' Johnson said. 'It is a real pedestrian area.'

He said he plans to have coffee shops, delis and other stores on the ground floor along Boulevard. Along DeLeon Street, there would be ground-floor offices.

The second story would be offices, and the third story would be four or five condominiums, he said.

The city council is expected to hear Johnson's rezoning request at the end of July. If approved, he expects construction to begin in the fall with occupancy about a year later.

The 1-acre property sits just outside the Hyde Park Historic District, so the project does not require the scrutiny of the city's Architectural Review Commission, Johnson said.

The building would replace the Bayshore Plastic Surgery Center, which will be demolished.

'It's not going to be a nightlife-type thing,' Johnson said. 'It's going to be a morning, during the day, lunch, early evening type of place.'

The 76 parking spaces would be behind the building, Johnson said.

Gorrie Principal Susan Foster said she's happy Johnson came to the school to discuss the plans. She said he indicated Gorrie could use Hyde Park Square for overflow parking on weekends.

'That area across the street has such potential to being a valuable part of Hyde Park,' Foster said. 'They realized they had to fit into our needs as a school.'

Reporter Michael H. Samuels can be reached at [email protected]
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