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Don Banks spouts concrete umbrella

MUSIC STORE HITS HIGHER NOTE: Neighborhood institution Don Banks Music has a second story.

Is the business expanding? Did they need more storage?

No. "The roof kept leaking," Banks said.

Thousands of dollars in repairs over several years proved unsuccessful for the 36-year-old shop at 3628 Henderson Blvd. Banks tried everything, from many layers of roof gravel to different composite coats. Still, the ceiling tiles browned, the stains grew on the carpet and water dripped on the guitars.

"We were on our way to having a sick building," Banks said.

So rather than keep messing with the existing roof, he decided to build a new story.

Banks thinks he has finally licked the problem. There have been a few good rains since he started construction on the corrugated metal and concrete structure two months ago and, so far, no leaks.

The second story doubles the shop's square footage to 6,400, but Banks says it won't be used for his music business.

INTERBAY PLAZA COMING: The Shoppes at Interbay Village are scheduled to open at the end of February at the intersection of Interbay Boulevard and MacDill Avenue.

Whether that's a shot in the arm for the neighborhood _ or through the heart _ probably depends on whether you took up a stool at the bar that once stood there.

JD's MacDill Tavern was demolished last summer to make way for the 7,500-square-foot retail and office project. Brenda Hildebrand, co-owner of the project's Tampa Bay Property Developers, says the $1.3-million project will consist of five store fronts on the ground floor and two office units upstairs.

The plaza will have the all-too-familiar Mediterranean style but also extra touches that many other new Med buildings don't take advantage of, including extra colors and awnings. Rather than all yellow or all peach, the Interbay Village will boast those colors along with orange and rose. Awnings in bold stripes will help evoke the original Mediterranean muse.

Hildebrand said a coffee shop, sushi bar and dry cleaners have inquired about the site.

LANDCRAFTING ON PEARL: Two more Mediterranean-style townhome projects are under way south of Gandy Boulevard near Pearl Avenue.

Groundbreaking started this week on Manhattan City Homes on the southwest corner of Pearl and Manhattan avenues. Escena continues to take shape on the northeast corner of Pearl and West Shore Boulevard.

James Landers, chief executive officer of the projects' developer, Landcraft Development, says Manhattan City Homes will have four buildings with 22 units. They will range from 1,300 to 1,550 square feet, have two or three stories, two bedrooms, 2{ bathrooms and one-car garages. They will be priced between $160,000 and $180,000.

Landers said nine units of the $3-million project have been reserved.

Taking the place of a former recreational vehicle park, Escena will yield eight buildings with 30 townhomes. They'll range from 1,300 to 1,600 square feet, have two or three bedrooms with 2{ bathrooms and a one-car garage. A pool area will top off the $4-million project.

Landers said all of the units, which were priced from $159,000 to $185,000, have sold.

By the way, Escena means "scene" in Spanish.

_ Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call 226-3382, or e-mail mikecanninghotmail.com.

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