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New apartments raise hopes for Ybor

(ran SS edition of METRO & STATE)

You wouldn't think city leaders could get philosophical about a new apartment complex going up in Ybor City, but some couldn't resist waxing poetic at a news conference Wednesday.

"Life, I see, is recycling itself," said City Council Chairman Charlie Miranda. "The Ybor City where I grew up is finally coming back."

Tampa officials have high hopes that 450 luxury apartments will help transform Ybor from an area best known for its clubs and bars into a family-friendly neighborhood. At the news conference, Mayor Dick Greco announced that Camden Subsidiary Inc. of Houston will be the developer of the $33-million project.

Camden competed against two other companies and won for a few reasons, Greco said. Its plan for brick, Spanish-style buildings blended well with Ybor's turn-of-the-century buildings. Its placement of two garages in the middle of the complex was the safest parking plan, and the company didn't ask for any public financing or incentives.

The developers needed approval from the city because the city and Hillsborough Community College own the five blocks where the apartments will be built. Camden has agreed to pay $5-million for the land between 18th and 21st streets and Palm and 12th avenues. The city will split the money with HCC and reinvest its share in Ybor, Greco said.

Camden is expected to break ground on "The Park at Ybor City" before October.

_ JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

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