TAMPA — Tampa City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a land swap deal with 717 Parking that will enable restoration of downtown’s historic Jackson House to begin.
To create a city-required 10-foot fire code buffer between property boundaries, the restoration required 717 Parking to provide the Jackson House with 2,100 square feet of their neighboring surface lots.
In exchange, 717 Parking will receive a 9,172-square-foot vacant public right-of-way that runs behind the Jackson House and the parking lots, plus another 3,400-square-foot neighboring lot on the corner of Nebraska Avenue and Twiggs Street that is owned by the city and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
“We are excited that this has been approved by the council,” 717 Parking co-owner Jason Accardi said. “We are happy for everybody. This is a great asset for the city and the Jackson House Foundation.” The nonprofit owns the structure at 851 E. Zack St. that will become a Black history museum once restored.
There is still more that must be done before the swap becomes official, such as FDOT agreeing to vacate its piece of the land. FDOT and the city are in negotiations.
“There is progress, and progress means that we are moving forward,” council member Gwen Henderson said.
The 24-room, 4,000-square-foot structure was built at the turn of the 20th century. James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald and Cab Calloway stayed there, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. visited. It closed to the public in 1989 and has since fallen into such disrepair that the foundation worried that a strong storm could blow it over.
“I want to thank John and Jason Accardi and their family for working with the city to try to resolve this,” council member Bill Carlson said.