Foreclosed property in Seminole to be sold at auction

SEMINOLE — In what has become a common event in these harsh economic times, a bank has foreclosed on undeveloped land and will sell it at auction next month.

The property — five lots — is owned by Lake Seminole Park Trails Inc., which owes about $855,300 in principal, interest and costs on a mortgage to Palm Bank of Tampa. The land is north of Park Boulevard, just east of Lake Seminole. It is divided by 82nd Avenue N.

The sale is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 20 at the St. Petersburg Judicial Building, 545 First Ave. N.

The lots are part of a larger tract once owned by the family of Dan Johnson. Johnson got county permission to place four cell towers and, later, to build 26 houses on the land.

He annexed part of the larger tract into Seminole in 2000, said Mark Ely, the city's community development director. The remainder became part of the city in 2003.

Ely said Johnson sold most of the lots and was preparing to build common areas, sidewalks and other amenities for the subdivision when the economy soured. Like many others, Johnson's fortunes went downhill.

Johnson also ran into trouble with his cell towers.

A worker on a piece of heavy equipment clipped a tower's guywire in 2007, causing it to collapse. Johnson obtained a city permit to rebuild the tower but never got around to it, and the permit expired.

In the meantime, the Seminole City Council passed new rules governing the replacement of cell towers.

"Under the city's current code, a permit would not be issued for that tower," Ely said.

Johnson's is not the only Seminole property to be foreclosed on this year.

A court in April ordered the sale of land where the landmark Jesse's Landing restaurant once stood. That property, which is near Johnson's, is on Park across from Lake Seminole. A developer had wanted to build upscale townhomes there.

Despite the gloomy foreclosure news, Seminole has seen some good business news.

Needlin Enterprises LLC of Largo paid $1 million in July for the former Lone Star Steakhouse at 4360 Park St. The restaurant, in the Target shopping center, has been closed for a couple of years. A sign out front indicates that a Cody's Original Roadhouse steak restaurant plans to locate there.

And, a month earlier, a developer paid $2 million for 22.3 acres that a bank foreclosed on two years ago. The developer said he plans to build an apartment complex on the property when the economy improves.

The acreage is at the far east end of 70th Avenue N behind the Home Depot on Park Boulevard. It fronts on Long Bayou.

Reach Anne Lindberg at alindberg@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8450.

Foreclosed property in Seminole to be sold at auction 08/17/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 5:15pm]

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