TAMPA — Tampa General Hospital's proposed Corporate Center near downtown Tampa won initial City Council approval Thursday night, complete with its proposed 6-foot-tall fence.
The hospital is asking for a rezoning that would allow it to renovate a two-story building and put 450 employees and 457 parking spaces on 5.6 acres on W Kennedy Boulevard.
The city's development review staff had objected to the project's security fence, which would run along Kennedy for 490 feet. City rules allow a wall no higher than 2 feet along Kennedy.
But council members had little problem with the ornamental metal fence, which is designed to match the 6-foot spiked fence at the University of Tampa across the street.
"I don't think it's so terrible," Council member Mary Mulhern said.
The project is part of Tampa General's plan to spend nearly $127 million on two Kennedy Boulevard projects.
The hospital spent $9.7 million buying the land it needs for the Corporate Center. It plans to spend another $5 million renovating an existing office building on the site for information technology and finance staff.
Tampa General spent another $12.25 million buying 10 acres on Kennedy that once was home to the Ferman car dealership. It plans to spend $100 million building a six-story rehabilitation complex with 59 patient beds, plus room for expansion, and a lodge for family members of long-term patients.
The rehab center received City Council approval in October.
The rezoning for the Corporate Center, plus a requested closure of Brevard Avenue from Kennedy to W Cleveland Street, is scheduled for a final council vote at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 6.