Friday, July 20, 2018
Business

Holiday Tower coming down? Current owner says 'no'

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.''

Comments
Open office plans are as bad as you thought

Open office plans are as bad as you thought

A cubicle-free workplace without private offices is supposed to force employees to collaborate. To have them talk more face-to-face. To get them off instant messenger and spontaneously brainstroming about new ideas.But a recent study by two researche...
Published: 07/21/18
Officials speak out against demolition plans for historic Jordan Park section

Officials speak out against demolition plans for historic Jordan Park section

ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas County School board chair Rene Flowers was fired up Friday. She talked about growing up in Jordan Park, the city’s first public housing project and a sentimental and historic marker of St. Petersburg’s African-American commu...
Published: 07/20/18
Florida is still paying SunPass contractor, even after officials said they would stop

Florida is still paying SunPass contractor, even after officials said they would stop

Florida has not stopped paying the SunPass contractor responsible for the tolling system’s outage, even after transportation officials said the state would suspend all payments.In a letter on Monday, FDOT secretary Mike Dew said the state would not p...
Published: 07/20/18
Florida among the top 3 states with the most income inequality

Florida among the top 3 states with the most income inequality

Florida is one of three states in the nation with the biggest income gap between the very rich and everyone else.In 2015, a family in the top 1 percent nationally had an average income of more than $1.3 million — or 26.3 times as much as the $50,107 ...
Published: 07/20/18
Tampa International Airport ranked in top 10 for defense against cyber threats

Tampa International Airport ranked in top 10 for defense against cyber threats

TAMPA — Tampa International Airport was ranked this week as the 10th safest U.S. airport to go online without being hacked, but the ranking is not only about the place, but also about how savvy its travelers are.The data security firm Coronet ranked ...
Published: 07/20/18
When suicide threats come calling: ‘I try to make a connection.’

When suicide threats come calling: ‘I try to make a connection.’

TAMPA — At first glance, it’s a typical office with more than a dozen cubicles under florescent lights. The operators wear headsets and stare into computer screens, some tinkering with handheld toys, others browsing Facebook or chatting with colleagu...
Published: 07/20/18

State record of $321 million in unclaimed property back to residents and businesses

More than $321 million was returned to Florida residents and businesses from the state’s unclaimed property in the past fiscal year.Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis took office in July 2017 and said this year’s total broke last year’s rec...
Published: 07/20/18
Trump ready to hit all Chinese imports with tariffs

Trump ready to hit all Chinese imports with tariffs

Associated PressPresident Donald Trump has indicated that he’s willing to hit every product imported from China with tariffs, sending U.S. markets sliding before the opening bell Friday. In a taped interview with the business channel CNBC, Trump said...
Published: 07/20/18
Tampa Bay and Florida businesses expect tariffs to drive prices up

Tampa Bay and Florida businesses expect tariffs to drive prices up

TAMPA — Tariffs imposed by the Trump administration and other countries are beginning to push up prices and depress demand in spots around the Tampa Bay area and Florida, business executives say."We’ve definitely seen that the tariffs have increased ...
Published: 07/20/18
Get this: Bank of the Ozarks is the country’s largest construction lender

Get this: Bank of the Ozarks is the country’s largest construction lender

This surprised me: Little ole Bank of the Ozarks is the country’s largest construction lender, loaning out more to the industry than financial heavyweight Wells Fargo and Bank of America.Those factoids were part of a lengthy profile of the bank pub...
Published: 07/20/18