Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo Towne Center project gets a 20-year agreement from city

Almost three years ago, city leaders embraced the idea of a walkable community with stores, restaurants and homes at Roosevelt Boulevard and U.S. 19.

Now city commissioners have given their initial approval to a development agreement for the Largo Towne Center.

The 20-year agreement outlines obligations for both the city and the developers, Houston-based Weingarten Realty Investors and Clearwater-based Boulder Venture South LLC.

For example, the developers must create and maintain a public plaza for city events and provide a bus transfer site operated and maintained by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.

In return for the plaza and other amenities, the city would credit the developer $3.1-million toward its parkland dedication and facility fees.

Without any credits, the project's impact fees would be expected to exceed $6-million.

The project also would receive credits for building the bus transfer facility. But officials don't know the size of those credits because they have to figure out what the eligible expenses will be first, said Community Development Director Carol Stricklin.

The city has agreed to hold 12 community events at the plaza each year. Largo plans to budget $40,000 annually to staff and run the events.

The city made that commitment to help ensure the success of the project, Stricklin said.

At a meeting last week, City Commissioner Mary Gray Black said she was concerned about that type of expenditure at a "shopping mall."

But Vice Mayor Andy Guyette said he thought it was money well-spent, especially since the city expects to receive about $365,000 in annual property tax revenue from the project.

"I see a lot of value with bringing people into this area," Guyette said.

And Commissioner Harriet Crozier said the project wasn't a "mall" at all.

"I call it a town center," she said. "I think there's a definite distinction between the two."

With an estimated cost of more than $150-million, the project will bring the community $85-million in sales and 850 new jobs, said Lynn Dehlinger, regional director of new development for Weingarten.

Plans for the pedestrian-friendly center include about 260 homes called the Lofts at Largo Towne Center, offices, shops, entertainment and restaurants with outdoor cafe seating.

Another public hearing for the development agreement is scheduled for March 18.

Originally proposed in 2005, the project has had its share of setbacks.

Shortly after the project was announced, the developers opposed a proposal submitted by a pool retailer to build its headquarters next door. The parties worked out that matter, but then the developers had to pitch their plans to city staff and satisfy traffic mitigation issues with the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

Later this year, project partners plan to break ground. Utilities could be laid this spring, and project construction could be complete within two years.

"One of the major anchors hopes to be in business for Christmas," said City Manager Mac Craig.

Project developers are mum on what businesses will go in the center's 645,000 square feet. Weingarten won't be able to announce tenants until leases are signed in a couple of months, Dehlinger said.

City officials say they've heard rumblings about possible tenants, but say the names seem to change from month to month.

Dick's Sporting Goods may be in the mix and possibly Wal-Mart and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Craig said. Crozier said she'd also heard talk about JCPenney at the center.

City leaders say the project will attract other developers to Largo and revitalize the community as a whole.

"I think it's going to be the spark we need for some economic boom," Crozier said. "I just see so many possibilities."


Largo Towne Center

What: $150-million project with 260 homes, offices, shops, entertainment and restaurants with outdoor seating.

Where: Former site of CrossRoads Mall.

Estimated benefits: $365,000 in annual property tax revenue, $85-million in sales generated and 850 new jobs.

History: The project was initially proposed in 2005. Partners plan to break ground later this year.

Largo Towne Center project gets a 20-year agreement from city 03/08/08 [Last modified: Saturday, March 8, 2008 5:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Mom accused of burying guns after fatal teen shooting declines plea deal


    TAMPA — The Valrico mother accused of hiding the guns after her teenage son shot and killed another boy in their garage told a judge Tuesday that she wants a trial, not a plea deal.

    Heidi Quinn is accused of hiding two guns after her son, Cody, fatally shot 17-year-old Jayquon Johnson in their garage. She faces charges of tampering with evidence. Her son was not charged in Johnson's death because authorities ruled it self-defense. He does face related drug charges. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Stone says no coordination between Trump campaign and Russia

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Longtime Donald Trump associate Roger Stone said Tuesday he's "aware of no evidence whatsoever" that Trump's campaign coordinated with Russians during the 2016 election.

  3. Pasco deputies: Citgo gas station was selling pipes for crack and meth


    TRILBY — A Citgo gas station is facing hefty fines after Pasco County Sheriff's deputies said clerks weren't just selling gas, but doling out pipes for crack and meth.

  4. What to expect from the Florida Orchestra's 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' show


    With just a few short tings from the celesta, a small piano-style instrument, and you're instantly transported to Harry Potter's wizarding world.

    Courtesy of the Straz Center
  5. Police: Boy, 12, burglarized Melrose Elementary during Hurricane Irma


    ST. PETERSBURG — A 12-year-old boy is facing a felony charge after police say he burglarized Melrose Elementary while the school was closed for Hurricane Irma.

    Melrose Elementary at 1752 13th Ave. S in St. Petersburg was burglarized while the school was closed for Hurricane Irma. A 12-year-old boy has been charged, police said. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]