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Developers drop Sun City proposal

SUN CITY — Plans for a 2.6 million-square-foot warehouse in Sun City are no more.

Developer Inland Port Systems withdrew its application for a proposed distribution hub off U.S. 41 and does not plan to refile in Hillsborough County.

The project received criticism from locals and the Planning Commission, which recommended that the county deny Inland's application, citing issues including the warehouse's potential impact on environmentally sensitive lands nearby and the fact that it's outside the county's urban service core.

The company withdrew that application and refiled in August.

If Inland hadn't withdrawn its latest application Dec. 10, it would have been considered in early 2010. However, county planner Krista Kelly said the Planning Commission would have likely denied that application too because it didn't contain any changes.

Inland's vice president, Paul D. DeMariano, blamed the project's failure on local officials, the media and a general "lack of comprehension" on the part of the Planning Commission and Tampa Port Authority.

"If Hillsborough is going to continue to act like a Third World county, we're going to take our business elsewhere," DeMariano said in a phone interview.

He declined to say where that might be.

Inland's president, Richard Ellison, said the company put a lot of time, effort and money into the project and felt it wasn't getting enough support.

"It's a lose-lose-lose situation," Ellison said. "We have to move on, and Hillsborough County will have to move on."

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2443.

Developers drop Sun City proposal 12/24/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 24, 2009 3:30am]

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