Friday, May 25, 2018
News Roundup

Citing traffic, Tampa neighbors take on proposed SoHo Flats apartment proposal

TAMPA — South Tampa neighborhoods are marshaling their residents against the proposed SoHo Flats apartments, with some organizers even looking into chartering a bus to take opponents to Thursday night's City Council hearing.

As proposed, SoHo Flats includes 212 apartments, a 518-space garage and 15,000 square feet of restaurants, shops and offices.

The project site covers a little less than 3 acres and would replace a largely vacant strip center on S Howard Avenue, north of W Morrison Avenue. The site once was home to Xtreme Total Health & Fitness, owned by Joe Redner, but also includes a laundry equipment supply company.

The key issue is traffic, the developer and residents say.

"It's a big deal, and it will affect a lot of people," said Anneliese Meier, vice president for Parkland Estates Civic Association.

Already, residents note, Post Properties is building Post SoHo Square, with 231 apartments and retail, near Swann Avenue to the north. On the south is the 137-room Epicurean Hotel, scheduled to open late this year across from Bern's Steak House.

"Now, we're talking right between the two, here's another development," said Laura Barber, who has distributed fliers to her neighbors in New Suburb Beautiful in advance of the 6 p.m. hearing. "It just seems like it's a little out of control. ... I don't see how these roads can handle it."

Anthony Everett, Central Florida partner for project applicant Pollack Shores Real Estate Group, said he is sympathetic. He grew up in Tampa, and has friends in those neighborhoods and a sister who lives five blocks from S Howard.

"I've tried to design this project in a responsible manner that minimizes traffic impacts on Howard," he said.

SoHo Flats would generate an estimated 2,900 vehicle trips per day, Everett said. That's about 1,300 more than what would be generated if the previous businesses were still operating there.

Project plans try to direct some of that traffic away from Howard, and Everett would expect a little less than half of the trips to be generated in the morning and a little more than half in the evening.

Everett also notes that the garage would have 518 spaces, while city code requires 500. That should create excess parking capacity that the public could use and shouldn't exacerbate the area's parking crunch.

But if this project is defeated, something worse could come along, Everett said. In that case, he said, the Miami-based owners of the company would likely look to maximize the return on their investment.

The site has a commercial zoning that would allow the development of other uses, including a large shopping center or fast-food restaurant, which could generate much more traffic than the apartment complex, he said.

Some of those uses could generate as much as 10,000 trips a day, he estimated, many of them at lunch or at night, when S Howard is congested.

Everett said he has had more than 30 meetings with residents and neighborhood groups about the project, which he said he has tried to ensure would be well thought-out and create the "least impact of anything that could go on the site."

Still, skepticism remains, and there are rumblings that residents are organizing for a big turnout.

That would not surprise Council member Harry Cohen, who represents South Tampa.

"Those are very active neighborhood associations," he said.

Comments
Two accused of turning St. Petersburg test drive into carjacking

Two accused of turning St. Petersburg test drive into carjacking

MADEIRA BEACH ó Two men were arrested Thursday after a carjacking during a test drive led to a crash on Gulf Boulevard less than an hour later, according to the Pinellas County Sheriffís Office. According to deputies, 30-year-old Robert Gajate went t...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Potential tropical system still on pace to drench Tampa Bay

Potential tropical system still on pace to drench Tampa Bay

TAMPAó Memorial Day weekend plans may have to move indoors this year.RELATED: Sunset Music Festival, more outdoor concerts could be soaked by weekend rainForecasters with the National Weather Service in Ruskin say a low-pressure system in the Caribbe...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Indianapolis 500: How Danica Patrick changed racing

Indianapolis 500: How Danica Patrick changed racing

Tampa's Carlie Yent was at a racing banquet a few years ago when someone asked her to name the driver who influenced her the most.The answer was easy and obvious: Danica Patrick."She was someone I could look up to," Yent said, "and she was the most i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
After Danica Patrick, why arenít there more women in auto racing?

After Danica Patrick, why arenít there more women in auto racing?

If you assumed Danica Patrick's success would lead to a tidal wave of female drivers into racing's top series, you're not alone."I kind of thought the Danica thing would bring out a lot of people, honestly," said Tampa's Megan Rae Meyer, a 21-year-ol...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Latest on potential tropical system; taking action along dangerous Bayshore Boulevard; Denis Philips talks hurricanes and beer; Memorial Day things to do

The Daystarter: Latest on potential tropical system; taking action along dangerous Bayshore Boulevard; Denis Philips talks hurricanes and beer; Memorial Day things to do

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.ē Todayís forecast calls for warm and humid weather up until lunch time. Then in the late afternoon thereís an up to 80 percent chance of thundershowers and the rain wonít let up until ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

SAFETY HARBOR ó Denis Phillips cracks a pop-top and pulls a can that looks a lot like him to his lips."Itís got that citrusy feel to it," he says. "Which is a Florida thing. Thatís not bad." Indeed, thereís a grapefruit finish to Rule #7 Hurricane Sa...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Felled by fire, popular tower at Wall Springs Park to reopen soon

Felled by fire, popular tower at Wall Springs Park to reopen soon

PALM HARBOR ó The long, strange saga of the Wall Springs Park observation tower is finally coming to a close as county officials hope the rebuilt structure, along with refurbished decking leading up to it, will be open in time for the Fourth of July....
Updated: 3 hours ago
Carlton: Senseless death on a street like no other

Carlton: Senseless death on a street like no other

On a Wednesday morning, a mother and her little girl, not quite 2, went for a stroll along one of Tampaís prettiest streets.It was nearly lunchtime when they were crossing back over Bayshore Boulevard, headed to the home nearby where they were stayin...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Calvary Christianís record win streak ends in state final

Calvary Christianís record win streak ends in state final

FORT MYERS — One of the most impressive streaks in high school baseball came to an end early Friday morning.Calvary Christian lost the Class 4A state championship 5-1 to Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian at Hammond Stadium in a game that ended ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
National NAACP leader to speak at Clearwater banquet

National NAACP leader to speak at Clearwater banquet

CLEARWATER ó The NAACP Clearwater Upper Pinellas branch will have a heavy hitting guest for its 44th annual Freedom Fund Banquet on June 1. National NAACP President Derrick Johnson will be the keynote speaker at the fundraiser, which will be held at ...
Published: 05/25/18