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· Senior Button Pusher
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So people know, the land is zoned CBD-1, with a 120ft height restriction.

Since the city has established a precedent in recent years to regularly flout its own downtown development rules for downtown developments, the rumored proposal that was detailed in the Trib would have not only been approved by the city, but would be approved without the ability of city council or anyone in the community having any input. It would have gone through staff plan review and that's it.

I'll add more later.
 

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^The problem isn't that this project is going to be low-rise, it's that it is also low density... And will cover half a city block directly adjacent to the Straz with nothing but a 2 story shit ass parking garage.

350 units on 7.5 acres is not appropriate for any downtown in a city the size of Tampa, least of all its cultural 'hot spot'. Again, Tampa is not 'desperate', we are no longer at the point where any urban development is good development, because there is none. Now we have downtown transforming into a vibrant urban district. Every project must add to that vibrancy, not merely occupy space.
 

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I know some of you will disagree, but I don't think height is the only thing to consider in a downtown area. Not every block needs to be a highrise. That would make the area bland and boring. I would be okay with a 5 or 6 story european style perimeter block development on the northern lot, since that would add hundreds of apartments and create an urban feel. However, I would hate to see a garage developed on the lot across the street from the Straz. In my opinion the city should buy that lot and use it as an expansion area for the Straz since Tampa should have a separate symphony hall. Both large halls in the Straz are not really made for symphny concerts.
I wanted to come back to this, because I think you really hit the nail on the head for this particular part of downtown.

Height isn't an issue on the northern lot imo. Do an 8-10 story tower at the far NE and far SW corners, and a 5-6 story band of apartments in between, towards the corner of Laurel and Doyle Carlton, where the building would set back to create a mini-plaza to act as a architectural focal point. That would be enough room for more like 500+ apartments (which on 5 downtown acres is still low, but is double what is rumored to be in the works on the full 7.5). Ground floor retail along Laurel (maybe 5-8k sqft? Doesn't need to be much there, but it's vital that there be space for a few merchants, for the viability of the lengthy portion of the riverwalk between the Straz and Waterworks Park. Plus this project is the keystone for this overall corner of downtown, which is presently d-e-a-d, and offers residents virtually no retail options without hoofing it several blocks.). I would also cover the entirety of the lot with a two floor parking garage which goes under the band of apartments as well, and then cover that on the backside with the pool area and make the rest greenspace for residents. Yes, it abuts the off ramp, but if the choice is a view of some grass and ornamental trees, and a place to walk your dog right out back, or a view out onto a sea of parked cars, we all know what any sane resident would choose.

Look at a map, as I mentioned above, this lot will be a key to the vitality of the riverwalk between the Straz and Waterworks Park which needs destinations where there presently are none. More importantly, this is one of a few lots which sit at the epicenter of the city's vision to extend downtown across the river to the west. A key to making that link real, is to bring foot traffic right up to the river and across it, and this is one of just two lots which sit adjacent to a river crossing (the other being the old HRT site at the Kennedy Blvd bridge), giving us the opportunity to create those links. With the city controlling the redevelopment of the park across the river, there is an opportunity to make Lane Park an attraction of similar magnitude to Hixon Park after its redevelopment. Have a kick ass park on one side, a nice mixed-use project anchoring the other side, and places to go on the riverwalk beyond that, and you actually get people out and about, and that boost desirability, livability, land values and commerce. Which means more tax revenues downtown, bolstering the entire city's budget.

These pieces need to be considered in their whole by all stakeholders, and acted on as a whole. The old approval with blinders on planning process simply has to end if this city is going to become a better place to live.

And I also strongly agree that if there is not going to be a compelling project built on the southern parcel, which contributes to the vibrancy of the neighborhood, then leave it the hell alone until there is. I'm not sure and don't have the time to really research it, but I believe the city can (and hopefully will) deny a garage only structure if that is what is submitted for approval. A parking garage next to the Straz? Ludicrous!

(I have some ideas on what I would do with this land, but I'm out of time for now)
 

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^You make repeated mention of this being a 'family" type development, when according to the info available in news reports, it isn't being designed as that at all... If it sounds like anything to me, it sounds like it's intended to be an off campus dorm for UT... Small apartments built as cheaply as possible, which inevitably devolve to be lower rent workforce housing in a few years when the cheap materials used inevitably succumb to the Fl climate and heavy use by renters. Everything written about the project suggests that outcome... Several small buildings spread out in what the industry terms a 'garden style' layout on the lot. They will have to almost all be 1 and 2 bedroom to fit... There is no mention of ground floor retail at all. Some residents will have to walk hundreds of feet to get to the remotely located parking garage. There is no mention of any land being reserved as greenspace on the site, and given the lowrise sprawling design, there won't be. How does this sound like a family oriented development? It doesn't to me at all. Lastly, the plan for a 2 story parking-only structure next to the Straz is blatantly inappropriate for the site, based on the city's own planning guidelines for downtown.

And I think we've all made it clear that height itself is not an issue. But proposing a development that sucks as much as this one appears do, that matters a great deal.
 

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I took some time to drive up and down the downtown core yesterday evening. These lots are one of the few close enough to the water to be developed as major multi-high rise projects. Yes, other downtowns have smaller four and five story buildings in neighborhoods or as you pointed out above, "mid town". No city in it's right mind would allow such a wasted opportunity right on a major public investment in it's waterfront.
I strongly believe the city should find a way to block this proposed development or buy the land itself to preserve for future opportunities.
Driving around there last night just made my position stronger on it. The politicians should take a breather and do the same.
Yep, I did much the same twice last week. I spent over an hour on two different days just driving around on virtually every street downtown.

I thought the same thing you were thinking about this site, especially as I drove south from Tampa Heights on Doyle Carlton Dr to the Straz. They are already doing a lot to improve the corridor with the riverwalk and so on... I just cant comprehend letting a developer fill in such a big piece of land with what sounds like a cheap shit project.


Im totally with you on that last post Brian... Some of these developers need to do a better job providing what's actually needed, not just what they can sell most easily for the quickest profit.
 
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