Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Safety Harbor to pursue 15 acres of resort land for park

The Safety Harbor Resort and Spa may sell this 15 acres of Old Tampa Bay shoreline north of the Safety Harbor City Marina to the city for about $4 million. The city may use it for a park.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

The Safety Harbor Resort and Spa may sell this 15 acres of Old Tampa Bay shoreline north of the Safety Harbor City Marina to the city for about $4 million. The city may use it for a park.

SAFETY HARBOR — A sandy beach with volleyball courts could be in the future for Safety Harbor residents after the City Commission decided to pursue buying up to 15 waterfront acres that wind behind the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa.

Trying to put a close to a 2010 bankruptcy filing, the spa is selling the land that runs north from Veterans Memorial Lane at the city's marina to Mullet Creek. The property abuts Old Tampa Bay.

"This is an opportunity that came at a very difficult time economically," Mayor Andy Steingold said at Monday night's commission meeting. "You can't be shortsighted and say we don't have the money.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime — not for my lifetime, not anyone up here, but the lifetime of our kids."

Commissioner Nina Bandoni agreed.

"It's a win-win for the spa and residents of Safety Harbor," Bandoni said. "People were concerned about other types of housing going back there. … People would like to see the property remain natural. I think it's a good thing for us to pursue."

City Manager Matthew Spoor presented the proposal to commissioners. The 15 acres could cost the city $3.8 million. Safety Harbor could borrow the money, or it could use Community Redevelopment Area or Penny for Pinellas funds to buy the property, Spoor said.

Safety Harbor Resort and Spa filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last fall. The spa, one of Florida's largest and oldest, was nearly $30 million in debt. A bankruptcy hearing will be held Wednesday at Tampa's Federal Courthouse.

"The spa is doing fine and with the restructuring, we expect operations will be financially healthier," said Steve Berman, the resort's attorney. "With a reduced debt load, things will be easier to manage and that's what was the purpose of the Chapter 11 in the first place. The goal was to continue the operation and scale back the debt load."

Berman said the resort's debt has been cut from $30 million to just under $14 million. The resort's original Wells Fargo loan was sold to German American Capital Corp., part of which will be repaid by selling property.

The city and the resort owners are preparing a contract for the city to purchase the land.

"It's a good relationship to have the Safety Harbor Spa and the city of Safety Harbor to partner up to utilize all of that space on Old Tampa Bay," Berman said. "That's going to be a positive for both the spa and its guests as well as the residents of the city to have that space preserved as park space, which is generally what the intent is."

For 60 years, the 22-acre hotel and spa has been a part of Safety Harbor's downtown and is listed on the state's register of historic places. It's known for the mineral springs that run beneath the property.

Commissioner Nancy Besore, who initially wanted a pool, was pleased with the possibility of having more park space in the city.

"This is similar to Christmas to me," she said of the possible land purchase. "This is so far superior as a legacy. It's fabulous."

Contact Demorris A. Lee at dalee@sptimes and (727) 445-4174.

Safety Harbor to pursue 15 acres of resort land for park 05/18/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 20, 2011 6:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dodgers close in on World Series with 6-1 win over Cubs

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Yu Darvish pitched into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

    Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor hits a home run Tuesday during the third inning of Game 3 of baseball's National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. [Associated Press]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  4. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  5. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse

    Politics

    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …