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Lykes turns down settlement with city

Lykes Bros. has rejected the city's offer to settle its state and federal lawsuits over Tampa's historic preservation ordinance.

Tampa officials offered late last month to curtail the power of two local preservation boards if Lykes dropped its suits against the city.

The city also proposed leasing the vacant block where two Lykes-owned buildings once stood for a "nominal" amount of money over 10 years.

In a letter, Lykes chairman and president Tom L. Rankin responded that "Lykes will not encumber its property with a long-term lease to the city." But, he added, "Lykes would consider a sale or swap of our block for like-valued property."

Lykes has said it eventually plans to build its corporate headquarters on the site, which fronts the Franklin Street pedestrian mall and Kennedy Boulevard. City officials say the land would make a good temporary park in the meantime.

City Attorney Pam Akin, who received Rankin's letter Friday, said she would pursue more discussion with Lykes.

Lykes sued the city last year over decisions to designate the Tampa Gas Co. and First National Bank buildings as historic landmarks. Lykes later persuaded the City Council to issue demolition permits for the buildings because they were too old and run-down to use.

Although it tore down the buildings last summer, Lykes has not dropped its suits against the city.


10 sites on list for prison

Hillsborough County's list of potential sites for a new prison has grown.

Three new locations are under study by the county, County Administrator Fred Karl said. With the new sites, the county has a total of 10 locations under scrutiny.

One of the new sites may not even be in Hillsborough County. A large land owner on the Hillsborough-Pasco county line may be interested in selling property near the Zephyrhills State Correctional Institute.

"The idea was the expansion of (the) Zephyrhills prison could be a potential solution to a sticky problem," said Robert M. Thomas, president of Two Rivers Ranch. Two Rivers owns 15,000 acres in the area, Thomas said.

The second new site is next to the Southeast County Landfill. The landfill is on County Road 672 eight miles east of U.S. 301. The potential site sits just north of the landfill.

New site No. 3 is land near a 10,000-acre tract the county purchased to develop as a well field. The tract is east of County Road 39 near the Pasco County border. A property owner near the tract may be interested in a land swap, Karl said.

Wednesday, commissioners put off a vote on whether to remove the so-called Balm site from the list until a full board is present. The Balm site is 470 acres southeast of U.S. 301 and CR 672. Commissioner Sylvia Kimbell left the meeting early.

The county is still investigating all sites, Karl said.

"Balm is still in it as far as I'm concerned," he said.