TEMPLE TERRACE — There is a light at the end of the tunnel for redevelopment of the city's downtown core.
"We are going to actually have a groundbreaking. This is pretty amazing," said Mike Dunn, city spokesman. "After all these years."
Officials made the announcement last week, scheduling the groundbreaking ceremony for 2 p.m. July 2 at the project site at the southeast corner of Bullard Parkway and 56th Street.
Redevelopment of the aging strip mall at the city's center has been in the works for nearly a decade.
The city bought 35 acres for about $22 million about 10 years ago with hopes of redeveloping the former Kash n' Karry Plaza. In 2004, the city paid $315,000 to a Maryland architecture firm to find out what residents wanted in a development. After two failed bids with other developers, the city forged an agreement with Vlass Group last year.
In the latest agreement, Temple Terrace will pay the roughly $20 million mortgage on the nearly 29 acres to be developed and retain the right to reacquire any undeveloped land if Vlass breaks the contract.
In addition to building retail shops, offices and residences, Vlass will make street, utility and infrastructure improvements, including creating a "main street" from the north end of the property to Chicago Drive on the south. Vlass has 13 years to complete all three phases.
The first phase of the project includes construction between Bullard Parkway and Chicago Avenue and will take place in two steps. A new Main Street will be paved from Chicago Avenue north to Bullard Parkway. The Sweetbay Supermarket will be renovated, and two other buildings will be destroyed. A community park will be built, as well as a new 26,000-square-foot building, which will house the 14,000-square-foot community arts and education center.
Jared Leone can be reached at (813) 226-3435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.