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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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Good points... As others have stated this lot is such an important piece of land for the viability of downtown. It's location is perfectly situated where it has the potential to be a GATEWAY to the west side of the river aka future "West Downtown area" as well as a popular checkpoint for the riverwalk as well as an open opportunity to improve our "cultural district". Filling up this space with single use low density apts and a sprawling detached parking garage would do nothing but solidify that area as "dead space" and ruin a golden development opportunity.

I believe It would best serve downtown as a mixed use residential and plaza type development capable of numerous points of interest. I don't see why a developer wouldn't want to build more density and build a tower even If it's a mid rise. I would think the demand would be there plus it's on the river and wouldn't you want to provide as many people with spectacular views and be able to charge for it. Why sell themselves short.. I mean I understand most developers only care about what's the most return on investment they can get with what they're budget is but as community member or an authoritative figure of the community there should be a shared vision and standards for properly designing our downtown.

Again this is an important junction and should be treated as such..honestly I wouldn't be upset at all if it was only 4 stories but had plenty of available commercial space to serve the people coming to and from Julian b lane park and as well as people coming to and from both ends of the riverwalk. If you think about that is last spot before you hit a huge dead space walking all the way to water work park as well as the last place before you enter Julian park which has zero places to eat or drink. I would hope that they make whoever develops on the land accountable for building enough retail space. At least 10000 Sq feet to go with the 10000 that will be apart of the straz.
 

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It would be nice if they built something similar to the pedestrian only corridor on Franklin st. Running east to west of the whole span of the lot with Plenty of shade and seating with fountains with the retail on both s running along that corridor on both sides and two towers on the north and south side of the lot with attached parking garages..

Plus a nice gateway marker paid for by the city as well as some public art before entering Laural bridge
 

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I am fine with this, sure it's not a high rise but this slightly lower density and height will serve families much better than the Straz project.

I know people have their desire for density and height, I get it but families need room to breath and I took note of plenty of buildings in Manhattan, especially in the Greenwich Village / Chelsea area that were full of 3 - 6 story buildings. If you want to see families move into downtown, it won't happen in places like the Straz. Especially with small toddlers, its a huge pain to go that far just to get to the car or walk someplace.

4 stories is the cutoff for the fire alarm systems requirement too so there are many factors that might keep the size down.

It would be great to see taller units and maybe at least one high rise here. These beat parking lots any day in my book and the parks nearby will be great for the families that move in. I actually hope these have 3 - 4 bedroom unit options.

Retail in these locations is a must, that I agree with.
 

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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.
 

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The suggestion that this would be better for families was relating only to the low rise development.

I never dug into the story as it was mentioned to be bogus.

If and when there is a real plan for development, I would like to see larger units and some green space for families to enjoy DT but then again, the Heights project will have plenty of these low rise buildings suited for families.

Personally I would like to see at least 10 stories here.
 

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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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Has anyone reached out to various contacts that work within the city and invite them to become part of this forum?

That might go along way, especially in getting some answers to puzzling questions and other insights. In addition to reaching those who might not otherwise hear some concerns as mentioned here.
 

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I can understand if the council / commission members who are elected officials not being able to comment on forums as they are required to be together with the minutes recorded when discussing matters that concern the city.

Perhaps 'staff' and other non elected personnel could however communicate or even at least be invited to view the page, there certainly can't be a restriction for that.
 

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Heres the deal its all economics. Families won't move down because the price per square foot -- but they can live within walking distance of downtown (which is essentially what greenwhich village is).

This is a crap concept, but its also not true.

However the parking garage is what Straz wants -- not more building. They obsess over parking.
 
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