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23-story apartment tower for students proposed near Straz Center in Tampa

TAMPA — A New York City developer plans to build a 23-story apartment tower on the northern end of downtown Tampa within walking distance of the University of Tampa.

The $70 million project at 102 E Tyler St., between Ashley Drive and Tampa Street, is being described as student housing, according to public records. It will include 188 units in a mix of one-, two- and four-bedroom apartments, plus 422 parking spaces in a garage that will take up the first seven floors of the building.

Plans for the tower were originally filed by a previous property owner, the McKibbon Hotel Group of Warner Robbins, Ga., which sold the land to a subsidiary of the Development Ventures Group, or Deven Group, in June for $7.3 million.

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Neither a construction schedule nor proposed rents have been announced, but the city has issued a demolition permit for a small vacant office building on the site, which is about a block east of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. And on Thursday, the project got a go-ahead from the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority.

The aviation authority had to approve the tower's height of 270 feet because it is just 2.3 miles north of Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Islands. Safety rules require buildings within 3 miles of the airport to receive a waiver for any construction taller than 200 feet. The Federal Aviation Administration posed no objections, and the board required the developer to put red warning lights atop the building and correct any problems that develop with light that glints off the building.

Those are standard conditions that were applied not only to the Tyler Street apartments but to four other towers approved by the aviation authority board on Thursday. Still, board member Gary Harrod had a question about the idea of correcting for the problem of reflected light after construction begins.

"Do you not know that beforehand?" he asked. "Don't they do models" of potential glint or glare problems?

"They do," said Tony Mantegna, the aviation authority's height, zoning and land use manager. "But those studies don't always show you the exact impact of that glint and glare, because it's directed right towards a certain point," and whether that light distracts a pilot can depend on how high the aircraft is flying. "Once a building is up and we identify there is a glare problem, they must mitigate that problem, either by filming the glass or doing some other measures."

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The four towers that also received height variances on Thursday are clustered in the $3 billion Water Street Tampa project near Amalie Arena. All are about 1.7 miles north of Peter O. Knight Airport at:

• 500 Channelside Drive, a 28-story, 319-foot-tall building. The project will include a 173-room Marriott Edition luxury hotel, topped by 46 hotel-branded condominiums.

400 Channelside Drive, a 19-story, 303-foot tall office and mixed-use commercial building.

• 1010 Water Street, a 24-story, 277-foot-tall residential building with some commercial space.

• 1050 Water Street, a 23-story, 259-foot-tall residential building with retail space and a parking garage.

As part of its approval, the aviation authority also required that condo buyers, renters or occupants in the towers be told that their new homes are close to an airport, so they may see or hear planes taking off or landing.

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Contact Richard Danielson at or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times