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City will buy, renovate GTE Credit Union

With little discussion, the Tampa City Council voted Thursday to spend nearly $4-million to buy and renovate the GTE Federal Credit Union building in West Tampa.

The building, 3402 W Columbus Drive, will be used to house the city's parks and recreation department, utility accounting and fire marshal offices.

The move is necessary because the current parks department building, on Tampa Street next to Interstate 275, is in disrepair, said Cyndy Miller, the city's director of growth management and development services.

The move also benefits Lowry Park Zoo, which wants to expand but is limited by a parks department maintenance building.

This year's budget includes no money for the building's purchase. Instead, Miller said, the city plans to recoup the expense by selling city property, including the old parks building.

"This will free up basically a city block, and it's a great redevelopment opportunity," she said.

The property has an appraised value of $1.5-million, according to the Hillsborough County property appraiser's Web site. The city will issue a request for proposals for the sale of the property.

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