Park could precede homes
April 21, 2010
Residential construction at the former Georgetown Apartments site is years away, but the park planned for the waterfront half of the 162 acres could be built sooner, officials involved with the project.
The Trust for Public Land has an option to buy from the owner, DeBartolo Development, half of the acreage that stretches between South West Shore Boulevard and Old Tampa Bay.
The 624-unit apartment complex has been demolished, but the housing market will dictate when homes will be built on the site, DeBartolo's director of development said at the April 12 meeting of the Bayside West Neighborhood Association.
Residents at the meeting asked repeatedly what will be built and when.
"It's really impossible to say right now," Monte Rosenberger told the 100 residents at the meeting at Regency Cove, just south of the Georgetown site. "It really depends on how the real estate market recovers. It could be two years; it could be four or five years," he said. "It all depends."
The outlook for the planned "passive" park is clearer.
"The park would move forward whether they develop the other part of the property or not," said Alex Size, project associate at the Southwest Florida office of the Land for Public Trust. The trust, which has an option to buy the waterfront portion of the property, would turn it over to Hillsborough County's Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program.
"I do know the county has two appraisals in hand," Size said. The price the nonprofit San Francisco-based trust pays for the park portion of the property cannot exceed the appraised value. Concluding the sale may take weeks, if not months, Size said.
Plans for the park include a kayak/canoe launch, but no boat ramp. Nor will there be recreational courts for tennis or the like, Size said in response to residents' questions.
A recent draft of a memorandum to the city of Tampa from ELAPP says the site to be managed as a park could accommodate four 300-square-foot picnic shelters, an outdoor shower and benches. Other suggested amenities include a playground with climbing structures, a fishing pier, an observation tower, a boardwalk, bathrooms and drinking fountains.
Development of the site dates to the mid-1960s, when Georgetown opened. Tenants were evicted in October 2007 after the property was sold to Motta Group, a Fort Lauderdale developer planning to raze the apartments and build 1,249 condominiums, townhouses and single-family homes.
That plan fizzled with the slumping real estate market. The complex remained empty after the property went into foreclosure.
In October, DeBartolo and its partners bought the property from the mortgage holder, Bank of America, for $30.5 million.
Demolition of the 50 two-story red-brick buildings began in early December.
Asked about the fate of the matching brick wall, Rosenberger said it, too, will be razed.
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