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New Hyde Park plan: No condos; more restaurants, a theater

TAMPA — Managers for Hyde Park Village touted a drastically different development plan this week than the outdoor shopping center anticipated for years.

Under the new plan, gone are the condo towers that some residents argued were out of synch with the area's architecture.

Instead, a 10,000-square-foot Canadian furniture store would open on the southeast end of the village by next June.

And a family-run, six-screen intimate dinner theater will open on Swann Avenue, in the same location as the old Sunrise Cinemas.

These were among details revealed Thursday to about 30 managers for the businesses in the village, according to several who attended.

Jeff Manzutto, owner of A Source for the Home, said everyone in the room was ecstatic to hear the new plans. They also were told that three to four new restaurants are coming, including one with rooftop dining, he said.

"I think the community is going to love this," Manzutto said. "No condos, more restaurants, a theater. … What more could you ask for?"

Village general manager Susan Martin would not confirm details, nor did Hyde Park Village developer David Wasserman when reached by phone Friday. Wasserman, however, did say he hoped to make an announcement soon.

"They're all just theoretical ideas at this point," he said. "We're going to make a final decision very soon. I wish I could tell you tomorrow, but these things move slowly. We just wanted to keep the tenants informed."

Business owners took the news as a sign of life at the struggling complex.

"We're all really excited," said Steven Ashworth, owner of City Street Sweets. "In these tough economic times, it's good to hear something positive like this happening here."

Debbie Graham, assistant manager of Abbott's Frozen Custard, wasn't at the meeting, but said her store manager went and came back with the buzz. "What I know is that there are not going to be condos now," she said. "We also heard that the median strip (on Snow Avenue) is coming out and we're going to have 30-minute parking on the street.

The plans are a stark contrast from those that Hyde Park homeowners have fought for years. Many spoke out against the $100-million redevelopment, which included condo towers up to nine stories high.

The city approved the project in December, but there were no signs it was progressing until last month when some businesses, including the popular Georgette's boutique and an art gallery, received eviction notices.

Some will move to other locations in the village. Others are searching for homes elsewhere.

The businesses will be replaced by an unnamed Canadian furniture store, Manzutto said attendees at the meeting were told.

"They said this should all be in place by next summer," he said. "They even gave us little maps showing us where everything would be. It'll be great. The people of South Tampa should be ecstatic."

Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3431.

New Hyde Park plan: No condos; more restaurants, a theater 10/03/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 3, 2008 10:07pm]
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