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Treasure Island redevelopment concept gets mixed views

TREASURE ISLAND — Initial plans being floated for a resort hotel, condos and marina at John's Pass are garnering some opposition.

Conceptual plans to build a 14-story and a 10-story building on more than 10 acres of waterfront property has drawn the ire of Key Capri Condo owner Shelley Eckert, who lives adjacent to the property.

City Commissioner Phil Collins, whose district includes John's Pass, said he wouldn't support building heights above five stories. Anything higher could be approved only through a voter referendum, according to development regulations.

Greenleaf Capital, the real estate arm of HCI Holdings, is considering plans to develop its property at John's Pass, which includes 8.4 acres on the east side of the bridge and 2.2 acres on the west side along with several less-than-an-acre parcels.

The developers have called it a "marquee property" that will cost between $100 million and $150 million to build. They have a team of designers working on concepts and have been attending city meetings to learn more about new zoning regulations being considered.

A representative of Greenleaf could not be reached for comment, but Collins said company representatives had met with city commissioners individually to present some development ideas.

"They have a model showing what it would look like," he said. "But everything they talked about is conceptual. There is nothing in writing and nothing's been submitted or approved."

Eckert said buildings being considered would block some residents' views and expanding the existing marina would scare off dozens of dolphins that now congregate in the area.

"I'm trying to find out every bit of information I can," she said.

Eckert said she is afraid that if Greenleaf keeps plans for the taller buildings and there is a referendum, voters in other parts of Treasure Island might approve it because it isn't in their back yard.

But Eric Glossop, a Realtor and president of the Key Capri Condo Association, is supportive of the development.

"It will be a first-class hotel property and we need the area redeveloped," he said. "I think it would probably be a good value for everyone."

Glossop, who learned of the plans when Collins came to speak recently at an association meeting, said the west building at the condo complex probably would have views blocked if plans go ahead for the taller buildings.

He called the east side of Gulf Boulevard "borderline slum" dotted by old buildings that need to be replaced. Greenleaf's plans for the property that now houses Gator's Café and Salon, a marina, a former fish house and undeveloped land, sound like an improvement, Glossop said.

"It's not realistic when you live in this area that you expect people over time to not develop the property," he said. "People look at things myopically."

Treasure Island redevelopment concept gets mixed views 09/10/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:05pm]
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