Saturday, June 16, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa close to deals for Ybor City hotel and apartments

TAMPA — City Hall is getting close to deals to bring a new hotel and apartment complex to two sites in Ybor City.

The hotel site is at the northeast corner of Nick Nuccio Parkway and E Seventh Avenue, the gateway to the historic district.

Tampa-based Liberty Group offered $650,000 — a little less than the appraised value — for about a third of a block the city owns at the corner.

Liberty proposes to develop an $11.3 million hotel with 70 guest rooms and suites, interior lap pool, ground-floor lounge and rooftop bar.

About a half-mile away, the apartment site consists of about half a block the city owns just south of Interstate 4 between N 16th and 17th streets.

A partnership between the Intown/Framework Group and Forge Capital Partners, both based in Tampa, is offering $660,000 for the land. It proposes a $27 million project with 220 units and a brick-and-tall-window design inspired by Ybor City's historic cigar factories.

City officials hope to reach agreements on both projects within the next couple of weeks. But first they have to nail down a few key points before taking sales agreements to the City Council.

"We're pretty close," Tampa economic opportunity administrator Bob McDonaugh said Tuesday. "It makes a lot more sense trying — prior to entering into a contract — to work out all the details."

The city had inquiries about both properties, but because they are in the Ybor City community redevelopment area, officials had to issue an open request for proposals before moving to sell either parcel.

The invitation went out in December and responses came back in January. Details of the proposals became public this month after a 30-day waiting period.

The hotel

Two development groups submitted proposals for the hotel site.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a recent interview he understood that the Liberty Group's proposal was "much, much better."

McDonaugh said Liberty's proposal had more detail than the competing bid, with a site plan, floor plans, development time line, project budget, architectural renderings and a development team with an identified general contractor.

Then there's the price.

On one hand, Liberty's offer of $650,000 was more than twice the other bid. On the other, Liberty's offer was less than the land's appraised value of $690,000.

McDonaugh said two factors mitigate accepting an offer "marginally below" the appraised price. First, the offer is within 6 percent of the appraised price. Also, he said Liberty's time line envisions "a relatively quick close and aggressive completion and opening schedule," which would mean the land would soon start generating property taxes.

Liberty specializes in hotel investment, development and management, with $300 million in assets in the United States and Europe. Its president and chief operating officer, Punit Shah, is a partner in a $14 million project to transform the old Mercantile Bank building into an Aloft boutique hotel overlooking the Hillsborough River.

Shah also is a partner in a group seeking to acquire a lease for the Channelside Bay Plaza retail complex.

Originally, Liberty said its Ybor City project would be a Hotel Indigo, a boutique brand of the InterContinental Hotels Group, whose flagship is Holiday Inn.

It has since indicated to the city that the hotel might have another brand.

In response, McDonaugh has asked Liberty to confirm its intentions to build a hotel similar in design and materials to the rendering in its proposal.

"We want to make sure that what they say in the proposal is what they deliver to us," Buckhorn said.

McDonaugh also wants to know the hotel's brand. Considering that Liberty may need to negotiate with several hotels to determine which flag is most appropriate, McDonaugh said he would be willing to agree to a list of three or four specific brands, assuming they're of acceptable quality.

The city rejected a proposal from YC Hospitality LLC, a partnership between South Florida developers Neal Margo and Arnold Gitten.

Margo and Gitten proposed a 118-room hotel and offered to pay the city $285,000 for its land.

The apartments

For its land near I-4, the city received one proposal.

The Intown/Framework Group, a partnership between Tampa developers Greg Minder and Phillip A. Smith, first offered $350,000 for the city's half-block along E 12th Avenue.

In response, city officials said there was much to like about the Intown/Framework proposal, but rejected the price.

After McDonaugh said the sales price would have to be at least $660,000, the appraised value of the land, the developers increased their offer to that.

Minder and Smith, who also have received city approval for a 36-story apartment tower near the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, plan to build a parking garage with about 368 spaces as part of the Ybor City apartment project.

Comments
Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

ST. PETERSBURG — Mazzaro’s Italian Market will be closed throughout the weekend after a warehouse fire broke out Friday.A St. Petersburg Police officer noticed smoke coming from the market at 22nd Ave. N around midnight Friday, said St. Petersburg F...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Climate change is moving fish around faster than laws can handle, study says

Climate change is moving fish around faster than laws can handle, study says

Fish don’t follow international boundaries or understand economic trade agreements. Different species live in regions all over the globe. If that wasn’t complicated enough, they also migrate as they age."It’s like trying to raise cattle when you’ve t...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

UPDATE, 11:49: Cash said he played Cron at 1B in an effort to get him more involved in the game, indicated he may do so again Sunday (with Bauers off vs. LH Sabathia) and should have done so more as Cron struggled. … Cash reiterated that CF Kev...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Your barista is a robot. Should it be friendly?

Your barista is a robot. Should it be friendly?

SAN FRANCISCO - The cold, steely arm of Fernando the Barista swirled the foam of my matcha latte, set it down gently, and waved goodbye from inside a glass case. San Francisco, 2018. Where you can get robot pizza and robot salad, and now, a robot mat...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

TAMPA — Loueita Hargens had known for years how her son Bradley Dykes would die. She had seen him cycle through drugs of choice, had lost track of the number of times he’d wound up in the hospital or prison.A recovering alcoholic herself, she cut him...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

NEW YORK — So what does the boss — lowercase, of course, around here — think of this up-and-down, hot-and-cold Rays season so far? Appropriately, a variety of things.In a 30-minute chat with the Tampa Bay Times before Friday's 5-0 l...
Published: 06/15/18
Rays journal: Nathan Eovaldi pitches well against his ex-team but gets no help

Rays journal: Nathan Eovaldi pitches well against his ex-team but gets no help

NEW YORK — RHP Nathan Eovaldi made an impressive return to Yankee Stadium on Friday to face his high-powered former teammates.It's too bad he didn't get any help from his current mates, in what ended up a 5-0 Rays loss.Eovaldi was in command an...
Published: 06/15/18
St. Petersburg police make arrest 31 years after sexual assault

St. Petersburg police make arrest 31 years after sexual assault

ST. PETERSBURG — Police arrested a man Friday in connection with a 31-year-old sexual assault case and believe he’s connected to other unsolved cases from decades ago.Anthony Stokes, 56, faces a charge of armed sexual battery, according to St. Peters...
Published: 06/15/18