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Development plan approved for dome area

A plan to encourage and guide development in a 73-acre district around the Florida Suncoast Dome received preliminary approval Thursday. The blueprint for growth would increase city officials' ability to acquire property through condemnation and pay for public projects to improve the area.

"The principal purpose is to control the type of development what will occur around the dome," said Jan Norsoph, manager of urban design and development for the city.

City Council members, sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, unanimously approved the plan on first reading. A public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 15.

The dome is expected to generate more than $75-million in private sector development during the next 10 years, according to city documents. City officials want to be ready.

According to the plan, dubbed the Intown West Redevelopment Plan, the area has many problems.

Twenty-seven percent of the buildings around the stadium are deteriorated and dilapidated, a disproportionately high percentage, according to the plan. Vacant lots are not maintained well. Many industries there do not meet the city's landscaping requirements.

The plan's goal is to focus development around the dome and capitalize on the opportunities generated by the activity at the dome.

The plan calls for $18-million of projects that would provide, among other things, parking in the stadium area and a streetscape improvement program known as Plaza Parkway.

The district would be bounded roughly by Interstate 275 on the west and M.L. King (Ninth) Street on the east. Most of its southern boundary would run along the north side of the stadium's main parking lot. Its northern boundary would run roughly along Burlington and Arlington avenues N.