Demolition creates lots of debris
January 20, 2010
Demolition workers now are the only tenants at Georgetown, a former
apartment complex on a sprawling parcel that stretches between West Shore Boulevard and Old Tampa Bay.
Razing the 624 units is the latest progress in redeveloping the 164-acre waterfront site, half of which
might become a public park or nature preserve.
Demolition of the concrete-and-brick buildings is
expected to yield 50,000 cubic yards of debris, most of which will be recycled by the Lutz company doing
the job, Cross Construction Services.
"We can knock a whole building down in 15 minutes," Tyler
Lillibridge, the company's vice president for demolition, said as an excavator operator last week pushed
in the front of another two-story apartment building.
Sorting the debris for recyclable material
takes substantially longer, but is worthwhile both environmentally and economically, Lillibridge said. "The
goal is to throw away the least amount possible," he said.
"We will recycle all the concrete; the
majority will be reused at this site," Lillibridge said. It will be crushed on-site and stored there for
use during future construction, reducing truck traffic on and off the site, and conserving fuel, he said.
The appliances and air conditioners - Freon removed - will be sold at prices just above salvage value,
Lillibridge said. Broken ones will be sold as scrap.
Demolition preparations began in mid-November,
including asbestos abatement. "It was early December before we started really wrecking any buildings,"
Lillibridge said. Work is expected to continue until March.
Georgetown was a thriving apartment
complex for decades.
In 2005, the Motta Group of Fort Lauderdale bought the property for $125 million,
planning to raze the apartments to make way for a proposed luxury development mix of 1,249 condominiums,
townhouses and single-family homes.
Grant Donaldson was among the Georgetown tenants ordered out
by Oct. 31, 2007.
"It was luxury on the cheap, right on the waterfront. It was really quite a nice
address," said Donaldson, 68, who retired from the University of Tampa's public relations department in 2007.
"It was such a bargain," he said of paying $600 monthly for a unit with two 12-by-14-foot bedrooms and
Georgetown had a health club and other perks, but it was the marina that attracted
Donaldson, an avid angler. A slip for his 27-foot boat was $15 monthly. "I needed to be able put that where
it wouldn't cost me a fortune," he said.
The Motta development plan fizzled, a victim of the slumping
real estate market. The property went into foreclosure in 2008, and mortgage holder Bank of America listed the
property for sale.
In October it was purchased for $30.5 million by DeBartolo Development and its
partners in the project, Christian Tyler Properties and Validus Group, both of Tampa, and Avanti Properties
Group, Winter Park.
Additionally, DeBartolo has a contact to allow The Trust for Public Land to buy
and preserve the undeveloped half of the property fronting Old Tampa Bay. The former Georgetown site fronting
West Shore Boulevard, just north of Gandy Boulevard, will be redeveloped as housing.
The trust is a
California-based national nonprofit that conserves land for parks, community gardens and the like. For this
acquisition it will partner with Hillsborough County's land conservation program.
Last fall a citizens'
panel that advises Hillsborough County's Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program voted to add
Georgetown to a list of properties that need to be acquired.
Since its 1987 creation, ELAPP has preserved
nearly 45,000 acres of shoreline, river swamp, wetlands and lakes, most in unincorporated Hillsborough County.
The Georgetown site is in Tampa.
"I think that's one reason ELAPP is excited about this," said Alex Size,
project associate at the Southwest Florida Office of The Trust for Public Land. "It's rare to have such a property
in the city limits."
Details of the plan, including purchase price, are not finalized.
redevelopment plans determined.
"There are no immediate plans to develop the land," said Edward Kobel,
president and chief operating officer of DeBartolo Development. "We are exploring many options and meeting with
several public home builders who want to build extraordinary products for a very special master-planned community
in South Tampa," he said.
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