Make us your home page
Instagram

Oldsmar will get a Thorntons and redeveloped shopping center

OLDSMAR — Joe Osmani and his wife, Susan, chose to open Joe's Produce Market at the Forest Lakes Village Center because they knew it would get a lot of business in the Tampa Road corridor.

"It's very busy here,'' Osmani said. "Business is good. We're selling lots of Plant City strawberries and lots of tomatoes, lots of pretty much everything.''

By the end of this year, business at the center, on the southeast corner of Forest Lakes Boulevard and Tampa Road, could get even busier.

The Oldsmar City Council has approved a site plan for a Thorntons convenience store and gas station at the shopping center. Though there are six Thorntons stores in the Tampa Bay market, this will be Oldsmar's first.

The owners of the Forest Lakes Village Center include Nick and George Pappas, who also operate Flamestone American Grill in Oldsmar and Besa Grill in Clearwater, and Paul and Trifon Houvardas, owners of Foresight Property Services of Oldsmar. The group purchased the center for $2.9 million in 2006, according to Nick Pappas.

Approval for the Thorntons has not come easily. On Tuesday, the City Council devoted two hours to discussing the proposed site plan, including talk of color schemes and architectural compatibility.

Under the Tampa Road Corridor Plan and Architectural Standards added to the land development code in 2013, new businesses in the area are required to follow stringent standards, including this one: "Franchise architecture shall be prohibited in favor of unique solutions that will create a sense of visual continuity along the Tampa Road Corridor.''

Marie Dauphinais, city planning and redevelopment director, acknowledged last week that the center is in disrepair and needs redevelopment, but she recommended that the City Council deny the Thorntons application.

She said that even after Thorntons' design group heard concerns from the city staff on several occasions, it still submitted a plan that showed "lack of architectural harmony within the development and incompatibility with other development along the corridor.''

"This is franchise architecture," she said. "It would provide the business with an unfair advantage.''

Council member Linda Norris agreed and encouraged Thorntons to change some of its signature red paint to maroon. Council member Gabby McGee pointed out that if the black louvers on the building were switched to a light stone, that would soften the overall effect.

However, the conversation took a sharp turn when former mayor and newly appointed council member Jim Ronecker expressed his opinion.

"We have a parcel of land here that is looking to be developed that is an eyesore. It doesn't even meet our current land development codes, and we really need to be business friendly,'' he said. "We are beating these guys up who want to redevelop in our city, and I don't understand why.''

In the end, the City Council voted 5-0 in favor of the project, contingent on half a dozen conditions, including toning down the color scheme and adding embellishments like molding and parapets.

The owners of the 4-acre Forest Lakes Village Center plan to demolish two of the three buildings on the property. Several tenants that have been leasing space will move to another building owned by the Pappas and Houvardas families, the Oldsmar Town Center, at St. Petersburg Drive and Tampa Road.

After the meeting, Pappas said he thinks the conditions can be met.

"I don't have a problem with the rules. I understand where the city is coming from, I really do,'' he said. "When I was a kid, I'd come to Oldsmar to play soccer; there was nothing but land out here. Oldsmar is unique, and I think it is pro-business."

Piper Castillo can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4163. To write a letter to the editor, visit tampabay.com/letters.

Oldsmar will get a Thorntons and redeveloped shopping center 03/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 21, 2014 6:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. City Council approves $5 million for Clearwater Marine Aquarium expansion

    Briefs

    CLEARWATER — The City Council on Thursday approved contributing $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for its massive expansion project.

    Clearwater has agreed to contributed $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium 
's $66 million expansion project.. [ Clearwater Marine Aquarium] 


  2. Trigaux: Florida, Tampa Bay lagging in growth of their startups

    Economic Development

    The annual assessment of how entrepreneurs are doing across the country is out from the Kauffman Foundation — among the best watchers of the nation's startup scene. How do Florida and Tampa Bay fare?

    Lured by financial incentives, startup GeniusCentral relocated from Manatee County in 2015 to St. Petersburg, promising to creatye 40 new jobs. It took downtown space in an appropriately creative workpace for entrepreneurs. It did not last there, later moving back to less expensive space in Manatee. A new Kauffman Index report on entrepreneurship found that Florida is a good place to launch startups but a tougher place to grow them.
[SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  3. Pleasant dreams: sleep travel site gives high marks to Tampa airport

    Airlines

    TAMPA — Traveling might be considered closer to a nightmare than a dream for many. But that might be different for those who travel through Tampa International Airport. It was ranked the No. 3 overall best airport in North America by Sleeping in Airports, a travel site that tracks the best airports to catch some …

    Tampa International Airport was ranked as the No. 3 best overall airport by travel site Sleeping in Airports. | [Times file photo]
  4. Google parent leads $1B Lyft investment, deepening Uber rift

    Business

    SAN FRANCISCO — Google's parent company is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber.

    This  file photo shows a smartphone displaying the Lyft app.Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber. [Associated Press, 2016]
  5. ReliaQuest opens storefront in mock city of JA Biztown

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — ReliaQuest, a Tampa-based cybersecurity company, opened a "storefront" Wednesday at JA Biztown. The storefront is part of a mock city where students learn economic concepts and run businesses. About 20 real-life Tampa Bay companies sponsor storefronts that local students get to run for a day as part of a …

    ReliaQuest, a Tampa-based cybersecurity company, opened a "storefront" Wednesday at JA Biztown, a mock city where students learn to run businesses. | [MALENA CAROLLO, Times]