Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Straz performing arts center decides not to build parking garage

TAMPA — The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts needs more parking, but it has concluded that building a 600-car garage is not the way to go.

The center's board recently discussed a study it commissioned on the feasibility of putting a $10 million to $12 million garage next door on a parking lot that serves the Times building.

"They decided that it looked challenging, and it's not something they're going to pursue themselves," said Paul Bilyeu, the center's director of public relations.

But the developers of a proposed 36-story apartment tower near the Straz still have an interest in doing the garage as a project that's separate from their high-rise. Developer Phillip Smith said Friday that they are looking at the Straz's feasibility study and have commissioned one of their own. He's confident that a garage would solve many of the Straz's ongoing problems with parking and access.

"I don't think there's really any debate about how clean a solution that is for that area, particularly for the Straz," he said.

Still, he said the idea is a long-range pursuit, with no announcements expected in the near future.

Presumably, city officials have said, building a parking garage would allow the owner of the Times building, Denholtz Associates, to consolidate parking now spread across two lots — the one next to the Straz Center and a second one north of W Fortune Street, next to the Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa. That, in turn, would allow Denholtz to develop the lot next to the hotel.

"If it's doable, it's a win-win for everybody," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. "It makes sense for a lot of reasons, and it doesn't matter to me whether or not the Straz chooses to do it or whether a private entity does it."

But the city, which has an operating deficit of $5 million to $6 million a year in its parking division, is not in a position to participate in the project.

"More parking garages are not on my agenda right now," Buckhorn said. "I'm still trying to fix the ones I've got."

Meanwhile, Smith and his partner on the tower, Greg Minder, have said they don't expect their tower, with an estimated 500 new residents, to aggravate the parking shortage in the area immediately around the Straz.

That's because the high-rise is expected to have a garage with 635 parking spaces of its own — enough for residents, merchants on the ground floor of the building and even some people going to the Straz.

The tower would rise on a spot just south of the Straz, behind the annex to the John F. Germany Public Library. As part of the project, the city plans to reconfigure Cass and Tyler streets into two-way streets. That would create the site for the tower development, plus be expected to improve the flow of traffic in the area and create more on-street parking for the Straz and the library.

Smith said a rezoning petition for the tower has been filed with the city, and he expects it to go to the City Council in the third week of May. Construction to realign Cass and Tyler could start this summer and take about 90 days. Once that's done, work on the tower would begin, with an opening in late 2014 or early 2015.

"Everything's on track," he said.

Straz performing arts center decides not to build parking garage 03/15/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 15, 2013 11:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Christian to win state baseball title

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a perfect 30-0 …

    Matheu Nelson of Calvary Christian celebrates scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning.
  2. Mayor: Men stabbed after anti-Muslin rant died as 'heroes' (w/video)

    Nation

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Police said Saturday they'll examine what appears to be the extremist ideology of an Oregon man accused of fatally stabbing two men who tried to intervene when the suspect yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim on a Portland light-rail train.

    A sign of thanks rests against a traffic light pole at a memorial outside the transit center on Saturday in Portland, Ore. [Associated Press]
  3. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  4. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Wing Jonathan Drouin could be the only piece that Tampa Bay has to acquire a badly needed top-tier defenseman.
  5. Ryan Hunter-Reay running strong as he seeks a second Indianapolis 500 title

    Auto racing

    Ryan Hunter-Reay isn't a big jewelry fan.

    Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won Indy in 2014, is a contender for a second title in today’s 101st running. He qualified 10th, had the third-fastest practice lap and his team is looking strong.