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Tampa's Kress Building is still structurally sound
By CHRISTIAN M. WADE [email protected]
The Tampa Tribune
Published: June 26, 2009

TAMPA - The façade is deteriorating, the paint is peeling and the roof is leaking, but the landmark former Kress Building is not at risk of collapsing, city officials said.

In a memo to city council members, Jake Slater, director of Tampa's code-enforcement and business-tax division, said the city's most recent inspection of the vacant building found no "imminent threat of structural failure" despite its dilapidated appearance.

Slater said the building's owners have been reluctant to allow regular inspections, which has complicated efforts by code enforcement to check for structural deficiencies.

"Attorneys representing the owners of the building have made it clear that no further interior inspections of the property will be allowed until further notice," he wrote.

The owners, Doran Jason Group, are facing a litany of code fines for failing to fix up the building. In January, the city's four-member code-enforcement board found the owners guilty of code violations, but gave them until July to resolve the problems.

The building on Franklin Street used to house the S.H. Kress department store.

In September, the city council created an emergency fund with $100,000 available for owners of the building to make repairs. But the fund offers loans, not grants, and so far the owners have not asked for financial help from the city.

The loss of the 95-year-old landmark Gary Adult School last year highlighted the plight of Kress and other historic downtown buildings, many of which have been neglected.

Reporter Christian M. Wade can be reached at (813) 259-7679.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/jun/26/na-tampas-kress-building-is-still-structurally-sou/
 

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^That might be what happens in July.

The owners, Doran Jason Group, are facing a litany of code fines for failing to fix up the building. In January, the city's four-member code-enforcement board found the owners guilty of code violations, but gave them until July to resolve the problems.
 

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It's amazing to me that the city has the power to condemn property and seize it under the guise of "eminent domain" yet they somehow don't re-write the rules to do the same for historic preservation??? Why not force the owners to do something within "X" amount of time and if not, the city takes over. These buildings and other areas should also be seen as public property IF the owners are not keeping them up. It's rediculous that this particular building has been an eyesore for years and no one is being TRULY held responsible. The term neglect is an understatement!
 

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You can't just take it. You have to pay for it - and there is a law that does not allow taking property for a private purpose, which is not eminent domain anyway. If the city was going to use it they probably could get it, but they have to pay fair market value - which, with these folks, would likely involve litigation too
 

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According to the Draft Agenda for Tampa's City Council meeting on the 6th, the Department of Code Enforcement went to Element recently to view if the Kress building had any holes in the roof.

Wonder what will happen if everything looks fine. They city should be on their asses trying to get this redeveloped.
 

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I wonder if there are any actual plans on the table or if the city is just planning what to do.
 

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It is a bit odd that the city is being barred from inspecting the building.
 
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