LOWE'S IN, TWIN BAYS OUT: The nearly deserted Twin Bays Plaza on S Dale Mabry Highway won't suffer much longer.
Not long after it's final tenant, Inspiration Furniture by Scan Design, moves out in late December, the shopping center will be demolished to make way for a Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse.
Lowe's spokesman Matt Van Vleet said the new store will look like others in the national chain _ 150,000 square feet, including a 28,000-square-foot garden center. The project will cost $16.5-million, and bring 175 jobs.
It's currently scheduled to open in the fall of 2003.
Twin Bays has struggled for years. It lost the Twin Bays 4 cinema, a longtime neighborhood landmark, as well as Big Lots and Phar-Mor.
HOPPIN' WILLOW: Maybe Willow Avenue's latest developers know something we don't about its intersection with Platt Street.
Or maybe they just like the view of the Florida aquatic murals on the nearby Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway overpass.
Either way, the adjacent lots of 307, 309 and 311 S Willow Ave. are being developed simultaneously. Two of the lots, 309 and 311, have former Tampa Electric Co. storage buildings, which are being converted for the new project.
Owner David Scher had extra windows cut out, stucco added, and the facade heightened to transform 311 into a 2,800-square-foot office building. Awnings, paint and landscaping are on tap. He expects it to be ready for occupation by the end of the year.
Next door at 309, the old brick building is getting a wood framed second story. Co-owner Bill Henry, of Reliable Group Architects, said the horizontal wood siding will conform with the historic look of the building and neighborhood. After its January completion, he estimated the building's new square footage at 3,300. It, too, will be used as an office building.
In a break from South Tampa's Mediterranean-crazy convention, the new building at 307 Willow will be neoclassical with Corinthian columns, moldings, marble and limestone veneers. Think of the Port Tampa library, says owner Wayne McClain.
His company, Keystone Custom Homes, should break ground by the end of the year. The 3,000-square-foot two-story will house Keystone's offices on the ground floor. The second floor will be a condominium that McClain hopes to pass on to his children.
YIPPIE FOR YA YA'S: The former Burger King at 2514 W Kennedy Blvd. will finally be occupied by a Ya Ya's.
The Michigan-based grilled chicken chain is re-establishing a Tampa presence after a several-year absence. Ya Ya's has six stores in Pinellas County.
One of them, on Gulf to Bay Boulevard in Clearwater, is owned by franchisee John Cox. He's opening the Kennedy location and in the future wouldn't mind opening more.
"I would like to populate Hillsborough County with Ya Ya's," he said.
The recent decline of grilled chicken chain Gladstone's, which closed a downtown location last year, opens up his market niche.
Cox, an eight-year Outback Steakhouse veteran, said he has few changes planned for the former Burger King building, which is relatively new and well-equipped. After some decor and kitchen equipment changes, the restaurant is tentatively scheduled to open Dec. 16.
NEW BANK BRANCHES: Southern Exchange Bank cut the ribbon Nov. 19 on its new location at 719 Harbour Post Drive on Harbour Island.
Temple Terrace-based Terrace Bank recently opened a branch at 4005 S Dale Mabry, across from Britton Plaza. Check out the art on display from the collection of Jay and Ann McKeel Ross. Mrs. Ross is one of the bank's directors.
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