A three-tower complex with more square footage than International Plaza has won final City Council approval, setting the stage for a huge transformation of the area south of the University of Tampa.
John Avlon, president of the Hillsborough River Realty Corp., which owns the property, said the company can now move to the next stage of design for the project, which does not have an announced start date.
"City Council's unanimous approval of Lafayette Place reflects public confidence in the emerging development which brings new urban density to the west bank of the Hillsborough River," Avlon said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.
Lafayette Place will be anchored by Lafayette Tower, a 40-story building rising south of Kennedy Boulevard at the foot of the bridge leading to downtown. It is planned to include 12 floors of hotel rooms and 24 of offices, plus retail.
Lafayette Tower will be connected by a skybridge over Parker Street to the Lafayette Parkview, a neighboring 26-story tower with high-end residential, retail and a parking garage.
A couple of blocks away at Cleveland Street and Hyde Park Avenue will be Lafayette Central, another 26-story residential tower.
The project represents an ambitious update of a plan approved in 1997 that called for an office tower and retail space.
By comparison, the newly approved plan includes nearly 1.8 million square feet of offices, hotel, multifamily housing, parking, stores, restaurants, bars and boat slips.
"Before it was just a giant office building," said Bob McDonaugh, the city's top development official. "This is, I think, more reflective of the existing market."
Avlon's company has owned the land near the bridge for three decades, and the project's name harkens to the days when Kennedy Boulevard was named Lafayette Street. In the 1990s, when the Florida Department of Transportation rebuilt the bridge, the company took advantage of the opportunity to sink pilings that will hold up a walkway similar to the city's Riverwalk on the east side of the river.
Lafayette Tower will be Tampa's tallest building on the west side of the river, but the fact that Tampa's urban building boom is already jumping the river means that it won't be rising in isolation.
Just to the south, the Related Group of Miami is tearing down the old Tampa Tribune building to make way for 400 apartments and a waterfront restaurant along the river. Several blocks to the west, Altman Development of Boca Raton has city approval for a complex of six- to eight-story buildings for more than 300 apartments, plus ground-floor stores, just south of Mise en Place and the Oxford Exchange.
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"City Council's unanimous approval of Lafayette Place reflects public confidence in the emerging development which brings new urban density to the west bank of the Hillsborough River."
President of the Hillsborough River Realty Corp.