TAMPA — A La Carte Pavilion, home to scores of weddings, charity galas and other events over the years, is making way for residences.
Taylor Morrison, one of the nation's largest homebuilders, closed this week on the 13-acre waterfront site for $10.5 million, a year after another builder backed out.
The seller, Egypt Shrine Holding Corp., has received $3 million and will hold a $7.5 million mortgage while Taylor Morrison goes through the permitting process.
"The deal was structured in a manner that allow us to have some dollars to go out and find a new home," James Lich, chief rabban of Egypt Shriners, said Friday. "We remain as tenants and all our (event) rentals are honored through the end of this year as stated all along.'"
Taylor Morrison executives could not be reached for comment but Lich said his understanding is that the company plans single family houses and some condos on the site.
Another major builder, Texas-based David Weekley, had a contract to buy the property but backed out last summer after discovering a considerable amount of fill would be needed in order to support the large multi-family housing project it planned.
"What Weekley wanted to do was put significantly more residences on the property," Lich said. "In the case of Taylor Morrison, the price is a little lower than what Weekley offered and (its project) is quite suitable for the property."
Lich has said the decision to sell the pavilion was easy, given the rising value of waterfront land and the declining membership of the Shriners' Egypt Shrine chapter. Covering a seven-county area, the chapter is responsible for providing transportation for children and their families from the Shriners hospital on the University of South Florida campus to other Shriners facilities around the country.
Lich said the chapter wants to remain in Hillsborough County and added this plea:
"We need everybody to help us to find a new property to continue to take care of kids in our hospital."
Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate