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Ybor City's historic Ferlita Macaroni Factory gets a helping hand

TAMPA — Help could be on the way for the decaying Ferlita Macaroni Factory building.

A solution to shore up the crumbling brick building in Ybor City could come within 30 days, Mark Huey, the city's economic development manager, told the Community Redevelopment Agency on Thursday.

The Ybor City Development Corp. has already pledged $100,000 to support preservation of the aging building at 1607 N 22nd S.

Joe Capitano, an Ybor businessman who has worked to save other historic buildings in the area, said the money from the nonprofit group would pay for the steel and labor to stabilize the 87-year-old building.

"It is not going to be usable," Capitano said. "It would just stop it from deteriorating further."

The development corporation, which works as an advisory committee for the city, pledged the $100,000 in tax increment financing dollars, a program that funnels property tax money back into neighborhoods.

But Capitano estimates it would cost about $460,000 to make the building usable. That includes replacing windows, the ceiling, a roof and floors.

Capitano said he will work to find a tenant for the building and solicit the remaining money needed to make the building functional. He will tell board members his findings at an April 9 meeting.

Giuseppe Ferlita built the factory with ornate columns and entries, similar to the social clubs in the area, in 1923. Over the years, it fell into disrepair. Les Thompson bought the building in 1985 with hopes of renovating it, but that never happened.

Over time, the building's roof collapsed, its walls buckled and mortar crumbled to the point that bricks could be removed by hand.

In February 2009, Thompson applied for a demolition permit. After neighbors protested, he offered to donate the building to a nonprofit group, drawing interest from the Italian Club. After months of negotiations, the Italian Club acquired the building in January.

"Hopefully, within the 30 days, we will have a tenant and get the money to do the balance," Capitano said. "We are going to need help."

Jared Leone can be reached at (813) 226-3435 or jleone@sptimes.com.

Ybor City's historic Ferlita Macaroni Factory gets a helping hand 03/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 12, 2010 9:19am]
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