Condo Project May Go To Pieces
Piece by piece, Ed Oelschlaeger's dream is being dismantled.
Last year, Bank of America began foreclosure proceedings on the Tampa developer's New Port Tampa Bay "green" housing project, a 54-acre site near West Shore and Gandy boulevards where he planned to build 1,200 condos, a marina and shops.
Oelschlaeger, president of Tampa-based EcoGroup, said he had hoped to salvage the $50 million project by finding a new development partner to take over the construction.
But he couldn't make it work.
So he's selling the property and has asked the city to reduce the size of his community development district so the owners of a commercially zoned parcel where he planned to build several restaurants and shops can put their land on the market.
The property consists of numerous parcels pieced together by different owners. A public hearing on the request is expected to be held before the city council in early March.
"We just couldn't put it together, Oelschlaeger said. "Hopefully someone else will."
In November, EcoGroup returned deposits to buyers who had contracts to purchase condos, telling them the project was on hold until the real estate market improved.
New Port Tampa Bay was billed as the first of its kind in the Bay area.
Touted as the next great gateway to Tampa, the project was to be a mix of high-end condos with restaurants, unlimited waterfront access, parks and a boardwalk. Prices for the exclusive waterfront condos ranged from $400,000 to upwards of $3 million.
Sales were launched in early 2006 at an elaborate party, which included a buffet, open bar and presentations by performers in the style of Cirque du Soleil. At the time, the developer hoped the housing slowdown would not affect the luxury condo market.
But like many other projects in the Tampa Bay area, it fell victim to the housing crisis.