TEMPLE TERRACE — A bit of sunshine may have broken through the cloud that has hung for years over the effort to create a true downtown in this city.
Roy L. Eriksson, a longtime resident and founder of a growing engineering and software design firm called Eriksson Technologies, told the City Council in a work session last week that he's exploring the possibility of buying land in the redevelopment area and erecting a five-story building there for his world headquarters.
According to Eriksson's projections, by 2020 he will have about 125 employees earning an average of nearly $60,000 a year. Eriksson said he was considering — the corner of Bullard and 56th as the site for the building, which would anchor the northwest corner of the development.
Once complete, Downtown Temple Terrace would extend along the east side of 56th Street to the Hillsborough River.
"We like it here. We've got deep roots here,'' Eriksson told the council.
City redevelopment director Marty Hudson, addressing the council after Eriksson left, said he thinks the proposal is a great opportunity for the council, a great way to start the downtown.
"It sets the tone to make other developers become interested, because some corporation has decided to put their world headquarters in that location,'' he said.
Council members authorized the redevelopment director to continue discussions with Eriksson. Some questioned whether his firm would be the right kind of "anchor'' building on that corner, and Hudson was directed to see if Eriksson would be agreeable to locating elsewhere in the development.
Hudson emphasized that the talks were in the early stages, and no agreement has been made.
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