HYDE PARK — After five years in Hyde Park Village, A Source for the Home owner Jeff Manzutto found himself in need of a new home last month.
He found shelter, as it turns out, with another store owner who knows what it is like to have to leave the village in a hurry.
Manzutto moved his store into Shelby Boggs' Tampa Artist Emporium at 3415 Bay to Bay Blvd. on Dec. 1. He was in need of a new space, he said, after Hyde Park Village told him he could not stay.
Manzutto said his lease at Hyde Park was up at the end of August. He said he told village officials that he could no longer afford to pay his current rental rates because his sales had declined steeply during the recession.
"The rent was at its highest peak, and my sales were at their lowest," he said. "I said, 'I can't pay this anymore.' "
Manzutto said he tried to work something out with the village, but eventually he received an eviction notice saying he had to relocate by November.
Hyde Park Village leasing agent Sheila Lynch declined to field any questions about the departure of A Source for the Home. "I can't make any comment," she said. "It's company policy."
Manzutto said he had no complaints about the village's on-site staff and believes the decision to evict him came from corporate headquarters. Officials at Vornado Realty Trust, which the village's Web site lists as its owner, did not return a call from City Times.
Last month, a Vornado vice president also declined to comment on the future of the entertainment and retail complex.
"I was really hurt, because I was so supportive of them," Manzutto said. "I kept a nice store and spoke (on the village's behalf) to the ARC (Architectural Review Commission)."
A Source for the Home is subleasing about 1,200 square feet of space from Tampa Artist Emporium. Boggs moved the gallery to the location on Bay to Bay a year ago after she and several other tenants were evicted from Hyde Park Village in anticipation, they were told, of new tenants. Those spaces remain empty.
Manzutto said he was glad to team up with Boggs because the stores seem to share a similar clientele.
"When they had the store in Hyde Park, we saw an increase in our sales when they were having shows," he said. "It was such a great fit. We feed off each other."
From Roberts Framing to a pile of rubble
Meanwhile, across the street from Manzutto's new digs in Bay to Bay Center, the 1928 building that housed Roberts Custom Framing for three decades was torn down this month.
The building at 3404 W Bay to Bay Blvd. was demolished because it was in poor condition, said property manager Kathy Schulz.
The owner, Maxworth Inc., also owns the Bay to Bay Center, the complex across the street with Starbucks, Feet First, the Tampa Artist Emporium and several other retailers.
"We're putting up a 'build to suit' sign," Schulz said. "(The owner) is going to wait and see (who might be interested in the property). We want to mirror what he has across the street."
Roberts Custom Framing owner Robert Whisnant left the building three months ago. He said the building has "black mold in it" because of ongoing roof leaks. Maxworth Inc. has sued Whisnant for failure to maintain the building per his contract. Whisnant denied responsibility for the roof.
Schulz declined to discuss the details of the dispute. "Because of the lawsuit going on," she said, "I can't really comment."
Whisnant, 68, said he has moved his framing business to 4710 W Coachman Ave.
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