Thursday, November 23, 2017
Business

Holiday Tower coming down? Current owner says 'no'

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HOLIDAY — The Holiday Tower, a highly visible but aging six-story office building with a distinctive pagoda-style decorative roof, could be demolished to make way for three new businesses, according to documents filed with Pasco County.

Except the current owner of the building said he knows nothing about it.

"We, the current owners, have zero plans to tear the building down, and the building is not under contract,'' said David Spezza of Trinity, the manager of EPRE Plantation Plaza LLC, the building's owner.

The structure, built in 1971 and formerly the home of Great Western Bank, now houses first-floor retail and upper-floor office space. It is at the southwest corner of Darlington Road and U.S. 19 in an area where the county is encouraging redevelopment.

European Equities Corp., a Clearwater-based development company, filed preliminary plans with the county indicating it wanted to knock down the building and replace it with three separate commercial properties that would include a bank, a drive-thru restaurant and potentially a larger restaurant or retail building with a combined 150 parking spaces.

On Monday afternoon, David McComas, president of European Equities, and representatives of the AVID Group, a planning and engineering firm, were scheduled to meet with Pasco County planners to discuss the project in what is commonly known as a pre-application meeting.

Another McComas company, 2508 U.S. 19 Crossings, is part owner of the parcel across the street on the east side of U.S. 19 and plans to build a 6,000-square-foot retail space there. A McComas company also owns the corner lot at U.S. 19 and Flora Avenue that used to be operated as a pre-owned car lot.

McComas, who got his start in business as a Subway restaurant franchisee before branching out to real estate development, could not be reached for comment.

Spezza said that McComas, at one time, had a contract to acquire the Holiday Tower property, but the deal was never finalized. He said McComas might be "exploring what his options are if he can put the contract back together, but we do not plan on tearing it down.''

EPRE Plantation Plaza obtained the property at a foreclosure sale in 2012. Prior owners flipped the property four times over a five-year period, with the sale price escalating from $1.6 million to $3.75 million between 2000 and 2005.

Spezza said he was concerned that the speculative plans could affect current tenants and the owners' ability to lease the available space.

"We don't want to hurt that in any way or jeopardize or do anything that will hurt our tenants,'' he said.

The idea of a redevelopment project, however, generated enthusiasm from Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, whose district includes Holiday.

"Awesome,'' Starkey said. "We've been working hard to clean up the U.S. 19 corridor, and people are starting to notice.''

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