Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Latest town center plans disappoint Largo commissioners

After seeing a presentation of the developer's latest plan for the Largo Towne Center, most city leaders lamented Tuesday that the much-anticipated project may not be much of a town center after all.

"To me, it's just another Largo Mall or Clearwater Mall setup," City Commissioner Robert Murray said at the commission's work session.

"As someone responsible for the vision and dreams of this city, what we're seeing on paper is not what we were hoping for," said City Commissioner Rodney Woods.

Boulder Venture South LLC, the developer of the project at Roosevelt Boulevard and U.S. 19, said the economy has dashed its plans for a walkable mega-development with homes, offices, trendy restaurants, funky shops and a public gathering plaza.

Its latest site plan has 326,000 square feet of retail, including two large anchor stores, 50,000 square feet of office space and two large parking lots. The plan no longer has homes or a public plaza. And most of the restaurants and small shops have been eliminated as well.

Robert Schmidt Jr., chief executive of Boulder Venture, says the plans are a work in progress.

"In this market, we're just trying to find something that works for everybody," Schmidt said.

Largo understands that, Community Development Director Carol Stricklin said Tuesday. But the city still wants to work with Boulder Venture to create opportunities to maintain some design features of the original plan.

For example, the initial concept included a series of small shops along walkways, creating a walkable shopping and entertainment center. The city has suggested developing the site in phases so smaller shops near walkways could be added later.

While most commissioners pushed for maintaining the city's vision, Mary Gray Black said Largo shouldn't interfere in the plans of a private developer.

Woods said working with the developer isn't about taking away its rights.

"We still have a responsibility to put the best facility that we can there," Woods said.

Earlier this year, Schmidt said his company was struggling to get financing. It had a commitment from two major anchors, but it was having difficulty luring boutiques, coffee shops and tenants in general.

Stricklin said the project could still become a destination, even if the city doesn't get everything it hoped for early on.

"I'm confident in the long term, with a different tenant mix," she said, "that we can meet their needs and the city's objectives."

The latest on the Largo Towne Center

Old plan Latest plan
Retail 584,000 square feet 326,000 square feet
Offices 30,000 square feet 50,000 square feet
Apartments 258 none
Public gathering space? yes no


City of Largo

Latest town center plans disappoint Largo commissioners 03/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 9:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Commentary: Ten years later, the iPhone owns us

    Science

    Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in January, 2007, before an adoring congregation, in his signature "Sermon on the Mount" style. On June 29, it became available to the public. Ten years later, the phone has spread like Christianity. The device represents "the pinnacle product of all capitalism," as Brian Merchant …

    Apple is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iPhone's release on June 29, 2007. [Associated Press]
  2. Florida education news: School grades, teacher pay, transgender lawsuit and more

    Blogs

    SCHOOL GRADES: Florida's school grades showed improvement as the state's revised accountability system entered its third year in its current form. …

    Bear Creek Elementary principal Willette Houston celebrates her school's A grade with students in a summer program at the school.
  3. Whiskey wasn't my thing, but then I visited the Teeling Distillery in Ireland

    Travel

    DUBLIN

    If you drink your way through a four-day trip to Ireland, can you make an honest recommendation on anything?

    The focal point of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin is the copper pots used in the process.
  4. Faulty AC leaves Chinsegut manor house, supporters steaming

    Human Interest

    BROOKSVILLE

    As summer temperatures climb, volunteers at Chinsegut Hill Manor House say a faulty air-conditioning system has put them in a hot spot.

    Thomas Hoops of Tampa, left, takes a breather with his 1-year-old daughter, Zoe Hoops, on the porch of the Chinsegut Hill Manor House.
  5. Looking Back: Adele and her baby koala come out of hiding (December 27, 1991)

    Attractions

    This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on December 27, 1991. What follows is the text of the original story, interspersed with photos of the event taken by Times staff photographer Tony Lopez.

    BABY KOALA IS NOW OUT OF POCKET

    By Amber Grimes

    Times staff …

    Kunara, Busch Garden's shy baby koala, has been working his way out of his mother Adele's pouch since his birth.

TIMES | Tony Lopez