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TECO plans downtown development

TECO Properties Corp., a subsidiary of TECO Energy Inc., is planning a development that could include office, retail and residential development and a hotel on three blocks it controls in the heart of downtown, an executive said Wednesday. James Kostoryz, president of TECO Properties, said the company owns two blocks bounded by Cass, Zack, Tampa and Ashley streets and either owns or is under contract to own five of the six parcels in a third block bounded by Tampa, Cass, Franklin and Polk streets. The company is negotiating to buy the sixth parcel, he said.

At a speech to the Real Estate Investment Council at the Hyatt Regency Tampa, Kostoryz said the company is "master-planning a large, mixed-use project" that will be built with a joint venture partner.

He said later in an interview that the company has no immediate plans to build the project and probably wouldn't reveal details until July. He did say that most of the project would be office space and that it would be built in phases.

"This market or any market can't absorb three full blocks at one time," he said. Kostoryz said the market, where vacancy rates are currently running high and where several builders are planning skyscrapers, is not in need of new office space. But the company wants to "get a plan ready so if the market dictates we can respond quickly," he said.