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Corey Landing in St. Pete Beach may get jump-start

ST. PETE BEACH — Corey Landing — an apparently abandoned $85 million mixed-use project, including a hotel, condominiums and a marina — may be getting a fresh breath of life.

A Michigan contractor has informed city officials that financing for the project is expected to be completed by the end of April and that construction could begin by October.

The proposed development encompasses about 4 acres at the east end of Corey Avenue and includes the sites of the former Leverock's restaurant, the Bay Winds motel, apartments, a warehouse and the Bridgeview Restaurant.

The properties were originally purchased in 2006 by William Karns Enterprises, a local developer, and later sold to investors operating as Corey Landing Development.

Tony Morrow, senior project manager for D&S Project Management, said his firm has been hired to "formulate a plan of action to move forward with the planned development" as approved by the city in 2008.

Morrow told community development director Karl Holley in an e-mail that once financing is complete, his firm will hire "a team of architects and engineers to provide complete documents to submit for construction permits."

According to a site plan approved by the city, Corey Landing would include 200 hotel rooms, 60,000 square feet of retail space, a 200-space dry boat storage facility and a 136-slip marina.

The project was controversial from the beginning and became embroiled in political fighting led by Citizens for Responsible Growth over high-rise hotel redevelopment. Supporters of that political action group are suing the city to block implementation of a comprehensive redevelopment plan approved by voters last year.

The city eventually rezoned the property to allow development and approved a final site plan.

But when the city rejected the requested closing of Corey Circle, a small section of road between two remaining businesses, the project stalled.

At one point, the city threatened legal action against the property developers for failing to demolish the vacant buildings on the site.

By early 2008, the property was simultaneously in foreclosure and developers were negotiating for a franchise agreement with Wyndham Hotels. Dave Przygoda, owner of D&S Project Management, confirmed Tuesday that his company had been contacted by "the previous owner" of the Corey Landing property to pursue the possibility of restarting the project.

He confirmed the content of Morrow's e-mail to the city but cautioned about assuming the project will be revived.

"It is premature to say anything about the status of the project at this time, and I do not know who the present owner is," said Przygoda. "We are just asking the city what would be needed to update the project."

Corey Landing in St. Pete Beach may get jump-start 03/31/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 5:37pm]
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