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Temple Terrace preps for battle, but also extends olive branch to developer

TEMPLE TERRACE — The City Council voted this week to send a default notice to the estranged developer of Downtown Temple Terrace, while at the same time voicing a desire to mend the riff.

Vlass Temple Terrace notified the city in March that it wants out of the deal to build a $160 million complex of offices, stores, restaurants, residences and a cultural center on 30 acres on the east side of 56th Street from Bullard Parkway to the Hillsborough River.

City Attorney Mark Connolly announced at Tuesday's council meeting that he has not been able to pin down a date for the city and Vlass representatives to meet and discuss disengaging.

Though stressing he hopes this can be done without a lawsuit, he recommended taking the initial step toward a lawsuit in case negotiations fall apart. He recommended sending a default notice to the company for not taking timely steps to construct the Arts and Education Center and another building.

Council member David Pogorilich said it would be better for both parties if they can amicably work things out, but he agreed with Connolly that the city needed to be ready to protect its interests if they don't.

Mayor Frank Chillura voiced a desire to keep working with Vlass.

"The goal is to move forward with this developer if he wants to move forward, based on the agreement that's in place. Obviously if he doesn't want to do that, it's his choice and we have to take it one step at a time,'' Chillura said.

The city turned over the land to Vlass to build the project according to the city's vision. A key disagreement is on the city's desire to have retail stores along the bottom floors of the residences, a plan Vlass has said is not economically viable.

The contract calls for the city to get back the land in a business breakup, after reimbursing Vlass for money it has spent.

Philip Morgan an be reached at pmorgan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3435.

Temple Terrace preps for battle, but also extends olive branch to developer 05/09/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 12:43pm]
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