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Council Approves Zoning For Tampa Ikea
By RICH SHOPES, The Tampa Tribune

Published: June 15, 2007

TAMPA - Furniture maker Ikea took another step Thursday toward building a massive store on Adamo Drive near North 22nd Street.

The Tampa City Council approved a zoning change to allow Ikea to build its 350,000-square-foot store at the former Tampa International Center, an industrial site at Adamo Drive and North 22nd Street.

Panattoni Development Co., the property's owner, still needs final approval from the council before demolition can start, but that is expected July 26. If all goes well, the company will demolish the 600,000-square-foot warehouse by December and start construction early next year.

The store would open in 2009. Two other Florida Ikea stores are under construction, in Sunrise and Orlando.

Not everyone backed the measure. Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena opposed the zoning change because she wants to see a more environmentally friendly plan with less asphalt and more landscaping.

She praised Ikea's environmental track record but said, 'I really believe you could do a better job.'

The plan calls for 1,700 parking spaces on 29 acres. Michael Maier, an Ikea representative, said the site would have less asphalt than it has now. Also, the company would plant 600 trees, as required by code, and install a reflective roof to lower the store's energy consumption.

David Mechanik, an attorney for Panattoni, said about one-quarter of the existing parking lot would be landscaped.

The measure passed 6-1.

In other action:

•Council members turned back a proposal to create a wireless Internet network in Tampa, opting instead for smaller 'hot spot' connection zones in downtown, Channelside and possibly the West Shore Boulevard business district.

James Buckner, the city's technology director, presented a study about how cities nationwide are setting up wireless connections.

A wireless network allows anyone with a wireless card on a computer to gain access to the Internet at any point within the coverage area. Buckner emphasized San Francisco as an example. It signed a deal this year with Earthlink to set up wireless Internet networks spanning the city.

Councilman John Dingfelder, who requested the study, told Buckner he was interested in a scaled-down version in certain city districts.

'If we're talking about getting new residents downtown and getting young people here. I think this is what we need,' Dingfelder said.

The council asked Buckner to return in 90 days with a report on confining the wireless area to those downtown districts and to contact the Tampa Downtown Partnership and other groups.

•The council approved a water department request to spend $780,000 to install a pipe connection to ensure South Tampa can receive fresh water if a problem occurs with its water supply.

The backup connection should have been installed years ago in case of drought or a water main break, said Brad Baird, director of the water department.

Reporter Lindsay Wilkes-Edrington contributed to this report. Reporter Rich Shopes can be reached at (813) 259-7633 or at [email protected].

13,967 Posts
Nice, now I'm one step closer to watching the store go up over the next three years. I've been to the IKEA in Atlanta and that place is HUGE. I'm certainly looking forward to the new development. Hopefully by the time the store opens, the I-4/Selmon connector will already be under construction.

1,047 Posts
Sitting Pretty

Sitting pretty

Its history in other cities indicates that if Ikea arrives, an area thrives.

By Rick Gershman

Published June 22, 2007

The change is still two years off, but if it happens, as expected, these two are going to make for strange neighbors. On the north side of Adamo Drive: Ybor City. The party district with the deep cultural heritage, built by Cuban, Spanish and Italian immigrants. Cigars and bars. Streetcars and sink-or-swim clubs. On the other side of Adamo, come summer 2009: Ikea. The popular Swedish furniture store best known for its modern, utilitarian design. The building, an enormous blue box with few windows. In a preliminary vote last week, the City Council approved a rezoning request that paves the way for Ikea to set up in the largely industrial area. A final vote is slated for June 28. In the meantime, we talked to business officials in numerous cities where Ikeas have sprung up in recent years. The word is that an Ikea will bring change to this area east of downtown.
It will bring jobs. It will bring customers.

It also will bring more businesses, everything from new retail to dining spots, and possibly even more residences.

The story is much the same, from Philadelphia to Tempe, Ariz., from Seattle to San Diego:

When Ikea arrives, the area thrives.

Spurring development

In Atlanta, a new Ikea delivered an enormous economic impact, officials said. And it also led the way to opening a 1.7-million-square-foot distribution center at the nearby Port of Savannah, which local officials point to as another coup for business and employment.

"Ikea's a great company, and it's certainly delivered economically, " said Jennifer Zeller of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

Renee Lopata, of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, saw similar advantages in her city.

"I know it sounds strange, but there really haven't been any negatives, only positives."

Dollar figures are hard to come by, but several chamber officials said Ikea's impact to their cities in tax dollars is considerable - thanks to the store itself, and the businesses it draws.

Tom Keating, president of the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce, welcomes the Swedes with open arms.

"I think everybody loves it, " Keating said. "Everyone feels it will bring people into Tampa from Sarasota to Crystal River."

In some cities, other home furnishing chains have opened near the local Ikeas.

That's what happened in Tempe, Lopata said: "It was kind of the last undeveloped area of Tempe. Now it's like a furniture mecca, with several other high-end midsize furniture stores."

In others, the store's impact has led a resurgence at nearby retail and dining options. That trend would be a positive for surrounding neighborhoods if it continues in Tampa.

Ikea would share the south side of Adamo, a.k.a. State Road 60, with Palmetto Beach. That community, long a sleepy working-class area with a waterfront stretch, soon will face new development in the form of condos and townhomes. Residents there believe Ikea will bring even more activity to their changing neighborhood.

"We think it's really going to open people up to Ybor - they'll come here, have lunch here, " Keating said.

"And home decorating has always been a focus for Ybor, with the art galleries. I definitely think it will give us more foot traffic as a base as a creative district."

The flip side

Still, something as huge and popular as an Ikea store is bound to create an issue or two. The Tampa branch would cover more than 350, 000 square feet on a 29-acre site.

When Ikea opened in Tempe in November 2004, traffic backed up so far on the nearest Interstate 10 off-ramp, police had to close it to spread the volume to other exits.

Similar traffic snarls have affected new Ikeas for several months after their openings. And if Tampa's Ikea prompts more businesses to open nearby, as is expected, that will just add to the volume.

Projections suggest the Ikea could approximately double the traffic coming off the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway during the afternoon peak traffic times.

The anticipated effect on Adamo Drive would be less severe, adding about 25 percent to the existing volume, according to estimates from city transportation officials.

Keating also shared a concern that was noted at a recent Tampa City Council meeting - Adamo Drive, eight lanes wide, is not easy to cross on foot. That could dampen Ikea's power to boost business in surrounding areas.

Without some pedestrian-friendly improvements, it's hard to imagine people splitting their day at Ikea with lunch in Ybor. Keating hopes a shuttle system would alleviate that problem.

And Ikea isn't completely without detractors.

A store being built in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, N.Y., drew protests. Among the chief concerns: the city approved plans to let Ikea pave over a Civil War-era dock to build its parking lot.

At a recent Tampa City Council meeting, council member Linda Saul-Sena questioned how Ikea could call itself environmentally friendly while planning a massive, 1, 615-space parking lot.

"This is a sea of asphalt, " she said. "It's acres and acres and acres of heat-producing asphalt."

Though Saul-Sena acknowledged being a fan of the store, she was the only council member to vote against the company's rezoning request at the most recent council meeting last week, noting her concerns about the parking lot.

Still, Ikea spokesman Joseph Roth says the positives Ikea brings to communities outweigh its negatives.

"In some cities we (attract) other great retailers, bookstores, movie theaters, electronics stores. We get the entire gamut of things we sell, and the things we don't sell."

Rick Gershman can be reached at [email protected] or 226-3431.

[Last modified June 21, 2007, 07:38:10]

13,967 Posts

I read that article just yesterday. In my opinion, it will be odd that IKEA will be in the same neck of the woods as the old industrial area. But give it time and the area will spring up with commercial and residential buildings. I understand that several old industrial lots are being gutted out and converted to lofts. Some of this work is already done.

I don't know what goes through Saul-Sena's mind these days. First she supports IKEA, then tries to vote it down. Then she proposes the Ashley Drive crap, which I still don't like cause the northbound lane is being taken away - will cause more congestion...

13,967 Posts
There is no denying IKEA would help the economy of Ybor.

I just hope the surface parking isn't right on Adamo and is behind the building. I would hope eventually Adamo could be a more pedestrian friendly corridor.
Agreed. I'm sure there will be vast improvements to Adamo, as well as 21st and 22nd Streets to make them more pedestrian friendly and allow traffic to flow better. Down the road though, traffic on the Crosstown could skyrocket, which may force FDOT to widen the 22nd St exit ramps. This is why I'm hoping that the I-4/Crosstown Connector will be under construction by the time IKEA opens. I don't even know how the tolls would be able to remain on the three ramps...unless the ramps themseleves were to be completely reconfigured. Otherwise there would be excessive backups.

I'm sure the THCEA already has ramp toll plaza reconstruction on their long-range project list...especially now that the plazas look like total crap.

1,047 Posts
Tampa Ikea Gets Final OK, Council Approves Rezoning

The Tampa Tribune

Published: July 26, 2007

TAMPA -- Tampa City Council gave its final approval today for rezoning a site just south of Ybor City to allow construction of an IKEA store.

The 6-1 vote allows the Scandinavian furniture retailer to go forward with plans to open a 350,000-square-foot store in 2009 at Adamo Drive and North 22nd Street. Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena voted against the rezoning.

The project will include demolishing the former Tampa International Center.

"IKEA is thrilled and honored at the support voiced by the Tampa City Council in favor of our opening a store in the area two years from now," said Michael Maier, real estate manager for IKEA.

Construction of the IKEA store is expected to start next year.

4,422 Posts
Yea, it would be nice - especially the odd arch looking thing - monuments are nice rather than the City of Tampa Terminal Disease Park and Recreation system (AIDS park, Cancer survivors park - where is the cariopulmiary disease recovery park?)

And you think our city council - which spent about an hour or more yesterday thinking about whether to vacate Waverly Court - a small sliver of a road (more like a driveway) with 5 driveways on it (the owners of at least two of which were opposed, mind you) because there is a little cutthrough traffic (I mean how much could there be?) and a couple of people complained - will allow this type of development over a large area?
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