Monday, December 11, 2017
Business

New town homes sprouting in Oldsmar

BY PIPER CASTILLO

Times Staff Writer

OLDSMAR — City officials have been chipping away for several years on a downtown development plan, bringing new life to a 7-acre site on State Street. One day in the not-far-off future, they want to lively streets and walkways used by residents and visitors alike visiting new businesses, boutiques and restaurants while enjoying Oldsmar's public parks and waterfront. Although much work still needs to be done, one piece of the plan is closer to becoming reality.

Two new townhome projects are in the works within the Oldsmar Town Center Commercial neighborhood district. The first, the Washington Park Village being developed by the Becklund family of Oldsmar, broke ground a few weeks ago. The second, proposed by Anthony Tanico and his company, Eastern Meridian Property Group of Palm Harbor, is in its planning stages with recent approval by the City Council authorizing the city manager to move forward on creating a development agreement.

When Washington Park Village, at St. Petersburg Drive and Park Boulevard, is complete, it will include 15 two- and three-story units ranging from $330,000-$430,000. For many years, the patriarch of the family, Steve Becklund, operated his fax and copy machine business, Alpha Omega, there. About 10 years ago, after closing the business, he and his wife, Marie, a Realtor, began talking with their adult children about what to do with the property.

"We've all owned rental properties for a long time, and we are all in this together,'' said Victor Becklund, 45, spokesperson for Washington Park Village. "We've seen how Oldsmar has transitioned from a sleepy town, and we wanted to be a part of the future.''

The family had launched a similar project at the same location before the recession, going so far as having the design and zoning in place as well as securing several deposits from future townhome owners.

"Back around 2007, I went to the city and got the zoning changed, and everything, and we were moving forward. Then, the market softened,'' Becklund said. "We ended up tabling the project and returning the deposits.''

About two years ago, the family began again. "We basically had to start all over because so many things had changed, concerning rules and zoning. We had to get things approved all over again.''

The Eastern Meridian project, if given final approval, will be built on land next to the Oldsmar Library currently owned by the city. The proposed development agreement calls for about four acres to be sold for $877,000.

At the Aug. 13 council meeting, members agreed that adding more townhomes to the downtown district works with the city's vision. However, some individuals, including longtime council member Jerry Beverland as well as resident Dale Renjbor, expressed caution over one of the items already mentioned for the proposed project — opening School Street to connect St. Petersburg Drive with Arlington Avenue. The two men cited a need for buffering for the surrounding residential neighborhood.

Marie Dauphinais, planning and redevelopment director for Oldsmar, said it was the city that recommended the connection.

"The opening makes sense for both safety and for connectivity,'' she said. "This is in a redevelopment area.''

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.

Comments
Major auto manufacturer offers longer hours, incentives to fix airbags

Major auto manufacturer offers longer hours, incentives to fix airbags

TAMPA — With nearly 200,000 people around Tampa Bay still driving around with defective airbags that could kill them, a major automaker is trying to dramatically cut that number down this week.Fiat Chrystler Automobiles U.S. has launched Airbag Recal...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
This 6-year-old kid made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on You Tube

This 6-year-old kid made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on You Tube

When most people think back on the child celebrities of their time, they likely think of child movie actors, the well-trained stars of showbiz. For some, these were stars like Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, or Macaulay Carson Culkin from "Home Alone." F...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ticket-fighting firm hires former Florida Bar president to sue the Bar

Ticket-fighting firm hires former Florida Bar president to sue the Bar

Times Staff WriterWell, this is awkward. A company that is suing the Florida Bar has hired a former Bar president to represent it. Ramon Abadin has joined the legal team of TIKD, a company that expedites the process of fighting traffic tickets in Pin...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

TAMPA — Hundreds rallied near the University of South Florida on Friday night to protest President Donald Trump’s recent declaration that the United States will recognize the divided city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.The protest was organize...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Duke outage leaves 7,700 without power near Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — Up to 7,700 customers across Pinellas Park, Lealman and Kenneth City lost power in a Thursday night outage, according to Duke Energy.The outage impacted a cloverleaf-shaped area of customers, with pedals extending in the cardinal dire...
Published: 12/08/17
Express lanes set to open on Veterans. They’re free -- for now.

Express lanes set to open on Veterans. They’re free -- for now.

TAMPA — Drivers on the Veterans Expressway will gain an extra lane from Gunn Highway to Hillsborough Avenue starting Saturday.But there’s a catch: Once drivers enter the lane, they won’t be able to leave it — not until a designated exit about six mil...
Published: 12/08/17
St. Petersburg chamber of commerce charts ‘Grow Smarter’ economic development strategy

St. Petersburg chamber of commerce charts ‘Grow Smarter’ economic development strategy

Times Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — What started more than five years ago as an exploratory conversation among a handful of business leaders blossomed Friday into a full-blown community discussion of how to nurture business while working to make sure ...
Published: 12/08/17
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater makes Orlando tourists a top target

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater makes Orlando tourists a top target

In a decision driven by some major data crunching, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater next year will focus its tourism advertising on three target markets: Orlando, New York City and its Tampa Bay home."Research is going to dictate our behaviors and direction...
Published: 12/08/17
Having JW Marriott run Water Street Tampa’s new 519-room hotel expected to help Tampa pursue more upscale conventions

Having JW Marriott run Water Street Tampa’s new 519-room hotel expected to help Tampa pursue more upscale conventions

TAMPA — JW Marriott, a luxury hotel brand new to Tampa, will run the new 519-room hotel that the Water Street Tampa project is building next to the Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, developers announced Friday.Construction on the 26-story hotel is ...
Published: 12/08/17

Gravel spill shuts down parts of northbound Howard Frankland Bridge

TAMPA — Authorities are cleaning up a load of gravel spilled onto the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge on Friday afternoon, shutting down at least two lanes of traffic.The incident was reported at 2 p.m. on the stretch of the bridge drivers approac...
Published: 12/08/17