Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

Safety Harbor completes purchase of 13 waterfront acres

SAFETY HARBOR — City residents now own 13 acres on the Tampa Bay waterfront, following completion Wednesday of the city's long-delayed purchase of property from the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa.

"It's a landmark purchase for the city. I couldn't be happier," said City Manager Matt Spoor after attending the closing, adding that "150 years from now, someone will look back and say, 'Those people were pretty smart.' ''

The city paid the spa's owner, Olympia Development Group, $2.75 million for the undeveloped land behind the spa complex, which is on Bayshore Boulevard at Main Street. The purchased property extends from the city marina to Mullet Creek and includes both wetlands and uplands.

The land will be developed into a park, but not yet. For now, it remains fenced off from residents.

Spoor said the first improvement to the property likely will be a decorative fence to separate the city's property from the spa's land. For now, the city has no money in its capital improvement budget for developing the park. There is some money in next year's capital budget, but that doesn't take effect until Oct. 1, Spoor said.

The city expects to spend months developing a master plan for the acreage, Spoor said. Though the City Commission will have final approval, the public, city government and spa representatives will have input.

Spoor said the city is looking forward to a positive partnership with its neighbor, the spa. The city's purchase of the land will be a good thing for the spa, too, he said.

"Spa guests can walk right out their door and be in a city park," he noted.

However, the spa and city had some difficult negotiations. They initially disagreed over a fair price for the land, which is being sold as part of the spa's debt restructuring plan through federal bankruptcy court.

The two sides originally talked about a price of $3.3 million, then a new survey showed less dry upland than previously thought, lowering the calculation of value to $2.9 million, contingent on an appraisal. The appraiser placed the value at $1.9 million.

Some city commissioners believed $1.9 million was too low but that $2.9 million was too high. The city counter-offered $2.75 million, but didn't even get a response from Olympia Development and negotiations ended. Talks got back on track in December after the bankruptcy judge declared the city's offer a fair price for all parties.

Another delay was caused by discussions over two power poles that supply power to the spa complex. The poles were located on the land the city planned to buy and were expensive to move. The spa eventually agreed to move the poles at its own cost.

Diane Steinle can be reached at (727) 445-4184 or [email protected] To submit a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Comments
Atlanta airport power outage cancels 1,000 flights; more Delta cancellations Monday

Atlanta airport power outage cancels 1,000 flights; more Delta cancellations Monday

ATLANTA — A sudden power outage brought the world’s busiest airport to a standstill Sunday, grounding more than 1,000 flights in Atlanta just days before the start of the Christmas travel rush. Authorities announced that electricity would be restored...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

TAMPA — The Bucs and Falcons have each won three straight games on Monday nights as they face each other on a national platform tonight at Raymond James Stadium.How can Tampa Bay continue its streak and stop Atlanta’s? It won’t be easy, but given the...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Bitcoin futures begin trading on CME, price little changed

NEW YORK — Another security based on the price of bitcoin, the digital currency that has soared in value and volatility this year, began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Sunday. The CME Group, which owns the exchange, opened up bitcoin f...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Woman shot and killed in apparent drive-by shooting in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — A woman was shot to death Sunday night in an apparent drive-by shooting, according to Clearwater police.Authorities said they received an initial call at 8:19 p.m. originating from 800 Belleair Road. The shooting is believed to have occu...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

TAMPA — The beers and the "love ya, bros" were flowing Saturday night at the Hooters in Tampa. Jon Gruden, who will be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor at halftime of tonight’s home game against the Falcons, worked the room, greeting family, frie...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

TAMPA — It’s ridiculous that it took this long to give Jon Gruden a night all his own, given the nights he gave Bucs fans. But it will happen this evening at Raymond James Stadium, a salute to the thermonuclear source of that Super Bowl season, that ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Massachusetts rolls 100-foot-long joint; McCain likely to miss tax bill vote; Cherokee Nation’s fear of losing heritage drives opioid lawsuit; more in U.S. news

Massachusetts rolls 100-foot-long joint; McCain likely to miss tax bill vote; Cherokee Nation’s fear of losing heritage drives opioid lawsuit; more in U.S. news

Massachusetts Rolling a fat one — 100 feet longMarijuana aficionados have rolled a 100-foot-long joint. The effort was led by Boston-based cannabis club and advocacy group Beantown Greentown during an exhibition of pro-marijuana vendors and supporter...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia inquiry that has shadowed the White House for much of his ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Friendly competition

Friendly competition

 
Updated: 5 hours ago

More than 300 cruise passengers fall ill with stomach virus

PORT EVERGLADES — More than 300 passengers on a cruise ship that docked at Port Everglades fell ill with a stomach virus. The Naples Daily News reported that the Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited’s ship Independence docked Saturday in Florida reported ...
Updated: 6 hours ago