Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Survey shows Straz Center trustees favor Riverwalk apartment tower

TAMPA — A proposed 36-story apartment tower near the Riverwalk won a big vote of confidence Thursday from the trustees of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

In a survey of the boards of the center and its charitable foundation, 32 board members favored the tower project at its proposed site, an acre next to the Straz Center and behind the John F. Germany Public Library.

Sixteen trustees opposed it and 14 did not cast ballots.

On Monday, trustees had asked questions of developer Phillip A. Smith, then spoke both for and against the proposed Residences at the Riverwalk. The tower would include 380 apartments, a 620-space parking garage and 10,000 square feet of first-floor shops and restaurants.

"We were able to present all the pros and cons of the project to the board," Straz Center board chairman Dr. Martin Silbiger said in a statement. "After thorough discussion and reflection on all aspects of this proposal, a very clear majority of our board is in favor of the project."

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn welcomed the trustees' support and noted they are the latest to weigh in favorably on the tower.

"It is a clear indication that they share the developers' and my vision for a vibrant, active waterfront and downtown," Buckhorn said in a statement.

The city says the project also has picked up expressions of support from the Uptown Council, an association of downtown residents, business owners and property owners; plus the Tampa Museum of Art; American Institute of Architects; Tampa Downtown Partnership; and the Friends of the Riverwalk.

On the other side, the SkyPoint Condominium Association's board favors more housing downtown but opposes the tower's location.

Straz Center president Judy Lisi said it was "important that we now have a significant mandate in favor of the project from our board."

The center looks forward to working with the city and developers, she said, and she and Silbiger like the idea that the project will improve the streetscape around the Straz Center — something it has long wanted.

As proposed, the city would sell the land to the developers for $4 million, at least twice its appraised value.

Money from that sale would then be used to turn both Tyler and Cass streets from one-way streets to two-way streets that carry slower traffic. Traffic that now goes west on Tyler to cross the Cass Street bridge would be diverted to Cass. Developers and city officials said that will result in a safer traffic pattern.

In addition to reworking the streets, the project will bring a bigger and improved arrival plaza to the Straz Center.

To win the center's support, developers also agreed to buy business interruption insurance in case construction interferes with Straz Center shows, keep the elevated skybridge from the William F. Poe Parking Garage and give the Straz Center an unrestricted gift of $1 million.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the project Aug. 8.

Survey shows Straz Center trustees favor Riverwalk apartment tower 07/18/13 [Last modified: Thursday, July 18, 2013 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.