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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Deal Near On Armory Property
By JOSE PATINO GIRONA, The Tampa Tribune

Published: June 13, 2007

WEST TAMPA - The two parties negotiating the sale of the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory expect to sign a deal in about three weeks, a first step in redeveloping the property.

The Heritage Square at the Armory group would then have 60 days to complete a land survey, title work, and archaeological and environmental studies of the 10-acre property, 522 N. Howard Ave., said Mark Bentley, an attorney for the Florida National Guard.

After the work is completed, Heritage Square would have 50 days to submit three relocation sites for the Guard's vehicle maintenance unit. Each site must be within 15 miles of the armory unless the Guard agrees otherwise, Bentley said.

Heritage Square's $93 million project would include a hotel, day spa, farmers market, cafes, restaurants, boutiques, a park and cultural center.

The 80,000-square-foot armory building must remain intact.


The developer also must reimburse the Guard for $830,000 in building improvements and pay an estimated $250,000 in relocation costs, Bentley said. The cost of a new location and facility hasn't been determined.

'We are moving forward with it,' said Chris Duffy-Waldman, spokeswoman for Heritage Square. 'We are very excited.'

The historical armory was built in 1941 and was a popular venue for concerts, dances, wrestling and speeches, including appearances by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Kennedy. The Guard moved most of its operations to Pinellas Park in 2005.

About a month ago, the Guard submitted proposed land-use changes to the Hillsborough Planning Commission to allow for private redevelopment. The Guard must also request a rezoning from the city, but that probably won't be considered until November, Bentley said.

Jon Myatt, spokesman for the Florida Department of Military Affairs in St. Augustine, said the process might seem slow to the private sector, but the sale of government property takes longer because of state criteria.

Two other groups were named as finalists for the property's redevelopment.

The Armory Partners Group of Tampa proposes a video, film and sound studio, and creative arts businesses. The estimated $64 million project also would include retail, a grocery store, restaurants and apartments.

Reliant Development of Tampa's $65 million proposal includes an ice rink and multipurpose facility in the armory building. The rink could be converted for concerts, basketball and indoor soccer. Stores, restaurants and condominiums also would be built.

If the Heritage Square plan falls through, Armory Partners will have the next chance to meet the Guard's requirements.

Reporter Jose Patino Girona can be reached at (813) 835-2110 or [email protected].

http://southtampa2.tbo.com/content/2007/jun/13/st-deal-near-on-armory-property/?news
 

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Glad to see this project will be underway soon. I personally had hoped for another developer to win the bid, but as long as the armory will be restored this project is better than some of the others. The area between Kennedy and 275 has so much potential
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Council seeks armory update
By ALEXANDRA ZAYAS Times Staff Writer
Published September 14, 2007


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NORTH HYDE PARK - The City Council expected to hear a report last week on the status of the contract between the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory board and the Heritage Square hotel group, which intends to redevelop the property. But attorney Mark Bentley told them the hotel, which signed a contract with the board on July 19, was still in its "due diligence process."

But for how long? What was next? Council members wanted more information. "We're still grasping around looking for an update on the armory negotiations, and I really don't understand how we ended up where we are today for that information," council member John Dingfelder said. Council member Mary Mulhern added that if the council will be making ultimate decisions in zoning and land use changes, it's best that they're clued in as early as possible.

City staff members are expected to provide a more detailed report Thursday at 9 a.m. in the City Council chambers, 315 E Kennedy Blvd.

[Last modified September 13, 2007, 07:58:47]

http://www.sptimes.com/2007/09/14/Citytimes/Council_seeks_armory_.shtml
 

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What does the site look like? Does anyone have pictures?
 

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Armory Project Land Use At Issue
By JOSE PATINO GIRONA The Tampa Tribune
Published: Sep 20, 2007

TAMPA - The proposed redevelopment of the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory to a luxury hotel, farmers market, restaurants and more is alive with debate, namely over land-use changes, financing and the project's viability.

The Tampa City Council is set to discuss the $93 million project today, two weeks after a councilman and another developer raised concerns.

Heritage Square, one of three finalists to redevelop the 10-acre site, 522 N. Howard Ave., signed a deal July 19 with the state's Department of Military Affairs' Armory Board. The armory, built in 1941, was a popular spot for concerts, speeches and dances, including appearances by Elvis Presley, President Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mark Bentley, the Armory Board's Tampa-based attorney, said Heritage Square is looking for a property to relocate the remainder of the Florida National Guard's operation.

He said a property is being considered in Pinellas Park adjacent to where most of the Guard relocated in 2005.

However, an official for one of the other finalists said Heritage Square should already have presented specifics about its plans, including financial feasibility, as required by the city last year.

"It seems the [city] administration is stonewalling requests for information as has the counsel of the Armory Board," said Matthew Henry, development manager for Reliant Development of Tampa.

"Without a five-star hotel operator and an operator to manage the farmers market this proposal lacks tenants with which it can finance its project," Henry told the council Sept. 6.

Reliant's proposal calls for an ice rink and gymnasium facility for the 80,0000-square-foot armory building, and residences and retail for the rest of the property. The developer has talked with the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA about operating the rink and gym.

Bentley said Heritage Square submitted financial information in its initial proposal and has not been asked to do more.

He called the concerns a misunderstanding. "There is no requirement under the contract for additional financial disclosure," he said.

Heritage Square hasn't reached the point of naming the project's financial backers, spokeswoman Chris Duffy said.

"We have provided everything the National Guard has asked us," Duffy said.

The Hillsborough County planning commission is scheduled Nov. 5 to consider a land-use change to allow for private development at the armory site. The Armory Board also needs zoning approval from the council, but that request probably won't be presented until early 2008, Bentley said.

http://news.tbo.com/news/metro/MGBDNXYOS6F.html
 

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I hope that this project goes through! This will really fix up West Tampa.
That area has amazing architecture and its a shame to not take advantage of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Armory Redevelopment Argued
By JOSE PATINO GIRONA, The Tampa Tribune

Published: September 21, 2007

TAMPA - The city attorney halted discussion Thursday on redevelopment of the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, telling the Tampa City Council he needs to review documents and potential liabilities.

City Attorney David Smith said an attorney for the state's Department of Military Affairs Armory Board told him the city could be liable for breach of contract.

'I have no reason to believe we have not met our requirements,' Smith said.

Council members had argued with city staff that the council should have been more involved in selecting a finalist before a contract was signed in July between developer Heritage Square and the Armory Board, which owns the 10-acre property, 522 N. Howard Ave.

The council rescheduled its discussion to Oct. 18.

Heritage Square proposes a $93 million project that includes a luxury hotel, farmers market, restaurant, cafes and a museum. A city-created review committee ranked the project top among three finalists.

Mark Bentley, a Tampa lawyer representing the Armory Board, said he presented Smith with minutes from a March 10 meeting in St. Augustine at which the Armory Board agreed with city administrators to negotiate with Heritage Square.

The developer is looking for a site to relocate the remaining Florida National Guard operations from the armory property.

'The Armory has proceeded in good faith over the past several months investing significant time and expense in the process, and has acted at all times in complete compliance,' Bentley said in a statement released after the council meeting.

Senior Assistant City Attorney Julia Cole told the council it will have an opportunity to approve or deny land-use and zoning changes for the project. The council also would have to relinquish a reverter clause that calls for most of the property to be returned to the city if it isn't used for military or government purposes.

Cole said a memorandum of understanding, which was approved by the council in December 2005, and a request for proposals are unclear as to whether the selection process had to be presented to the council.

Council members said they interpret the documents as saying they must approve the selection along with the Armory Board.

'I don't think our decision should come at the end,' said Councilwoman Mary Mulhern, who was elected in March. 'We are talking about a big piece of property.

'I would like to have seen us get a better deal in the first place,' Mulhern said.

Reporter Jose Patino Girona can be reached at (813) 835-2110 or [email protected].

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/sep/21/me-armory-redevelopment-argued/?news-metro
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Armory Redevelopment Vote Is Today

The Tampa Tribune

Published: January 10, 2008

TAMPA - A vote on the future of the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory is finally at hand.

The Tampa City Council will decide today whether to allow Heritage Square at the Armory to proceed with its plan to build a luxury hotel, day spa, farmers market, museum, restaurants, cafes and artist studios on the 10-acre property, 522 N. Howard Ave.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 315 E. Kennedy Blvd. A final public hearing is set for Jan. 24.

Heritage Square signed a contract with the state's Department of Military Affairs Board, which owns the property. The developer also found a location in Pinellas Park to relocate the remaining National Guard staff by 2009.

Heritage Square anticipates spending more than $90 million and completing the first stage of the project in 2010.

The developer cannot tear down the armory building. The armory was built in 1941 and was the site for many historical events, including speeches by President Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and performances by Elvis Presley, James Brown and Nat King Cole. It was also a spot for community events, boxing and professional wrestling.

Jose Patino Girona

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/jan/10/me-armory-redevelopment-vote-is-today/
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Approved!

Armory Steps Off To A New Mission

By JOSE PATINO GIRONA, The Tampa Tribune

Published: January 11, 2008

TAMPA - Swank, style and luxury are on the march in West Tampa and could help transform the working-class neighborhood into a destination.

The Tampa City Council late Thursday approved rezoning the historic Fort Homer Hesterly Armory and its 10-acre property, paving the way for a 300-room five-star hotel, day spa and fitness center, farmers market, restaurants, cafes, artist studios, park and cultural center.

Heritage Square at the Armory predicts its $93 million project would boost the local economy by $250 million annually, attract 2,000 jobs and be completed by 2011.

"Right now it is an economic black hole," said Alex Spassoff, who owns a Howard Avenue business a block from the armory. "There is no revenue stream coming out of that 10 acres. This can be a village center similar to what you will find in European towns."

The council's unanimous vote is the latest step in a process that began in 2006 when the city received a half-dozen proposals to redevelop the 80,000-square-foot armory building and the property, 522 N. Howard Ave. A final public hearing is set for Feb. 7; if the rezoning is approved, Heritage Square can close on the property.

"I think this is not the end, but the beginning of a new West Tampa," said Councilman Charlie Miranda, who represents the neighborhood.

In March, the state's Department of Military Affairs Armory Board selected Heritage Square and the two parties signed a contract in July. There were two other finalists: an ice rink with multipurpose center and residences; and a creative industry center with film, video and sound studios as well as apartments and stores.

The developer is obligated to pay the armory board $830,000 for work that was done to the armory, and also must find a new location and build a facility for the remaining Florida National Guard staff.

Heritage Square says it has found a location in Pinellas Park across the street from where the Guard relocated most of its operation in 2005.

The city has a reverter clause on the armory property, which will be released in conjunction with Heritage Square closing on the property, officials say.

The armory was built in 1941 and has been home to the Guard since. It also served as an entertainment venue for decades. President Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke there and Elvis Presley and James Brown performed there. It held community events, dances, boxing and professional wrestling.

The developer cannot tear down the armory building, a local historic landmark. Heritage Square proposes stores and restaurants on the building's first floor. Upstairs will have artist studios and offices for creative industries, Heritage spokeswoman Chris Duffy said.

Critics say the project isn't appropriate for a working-class area and raised questions about its financing. One opponent at the hearing said it would bring too much traffic.

"It is a project that is too large for the community," said Pat Locker, who has lived near the armory since 1984.

"It is going to stifle the people who are living there now," she said.

Some council members also had complained that they were left out of the selection process.

Intelident Solutions, which owns Coast Dental Services, is a principal investor in Heritage Square. Intelident bought a former cigar factory near the armory and plans to move its headquarters there from Rocky Point.

Maura Barrios, a West Tampa resident and historian, credited Heritage Square for honoring the area's history and seeking neighborhood input. She asked the council to support the armory project.

"They wanted to know us," Barrios said. "They were impressed with us. They fell in love with us.

"I trust these folks," she said.

Reporter Jose Patino Girona can be reached at (813) 835-2110 or [email protected].

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/jan/11/na-armory-steps-off-to-a-new-mission/?news-breaking
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
paving the way for a 300-room five-star hotel, day spa and fitness center, farmers market, restaurants, cafes, artist studios, park and cultural center.
Sounds like some good stuff that even nearby residents can use. Not just the people that stay at the five-star hotel. Which I didn't realize the hotel would be 5-star.
 

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The Heritage Proposal definitely wasn't my favorite, but it also wasn't the worst. I think the proposed uses and clients for this project are too ambitious and non-community oriented, but what can I do? I would have liked to have seen the Tampa Armory Partners/Tampa Digital Studios pitch win, seemed like a great mix of clients and uses. Seems to me that any development in Tampa that starts off with a proposed "5-star" hotel always falls through, but that is just my pessimistic rant.
 

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Don't click on the link!!!
Diagnostic page for sohotampa.com/onthestreet/

What is the current listing status for sohotampa.com/onthestreet/?

Site is listed as suspicious - visiting this web site may harm your computer.

Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 10 time(s) over the past 90 days.

What happened when Google visited this site?

Of the 44 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 7 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 09/29/2008, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 09/29/2008.

Malicious software includes 25 trojan(s). Successful infection resulted in an average of 2 new processes on the target machine.

Malicious software is hosted on 2 domain(s), including 61.155.8.0, wp-stats-php.info.

Has this site acted as an intermediary resulting in further distribution of malware?

Over the past 90 days, sohotampa.com/onthestreet/ did not appear to function as an intermediary for the infection of any sites.

Has this site hosted malware?

No, this site has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days.

How did this happen?

In some cases, third parties can add malicious code to legitimate sites, which would cause us to show the warning message.

Next steps:

* Return to the previous page.
* If you are the owner of this web site, you can request a review of your site using Google Webmaster Tools. More information about the review process is available in Google's Webmaster Help Center.
 

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^^Are you running AVG? AVG picks up tons of false alarms (I run it on my home machine), I run Norton on my business laptop and the site is fine. Its just a very localized news/word on the street site. Its very reliable regarding the bar/rest. business in SoHo.
 

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^^Are you running AVG? AVG picks up tons of false alarms (I run it on my home machine), I run Norton on my business laptop and the site is fine. Its just a very localized news/word on the street site. Its very reliable regarding the bar/rest. business in SoHo.
Yea and Google Sitewarn..just wanted to make sure it was not infected.:)
 
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