Council delays considering new redevelopment proposals

Charles Stephenson is the Temple Terrace city manager.
Charles Stephenson is the Temple Terrace city manager.
Published Aug. 15, 2018

TEMPLE TERRACE — Temple Terrace's real estate consultant this week presented proposals from two companies to buy run-down properties in the city's downtown redevelopment area, but the council voted to delay considering them until developers of another part of the property take steps to start the work.

The Richman Group, which plans to build about 200 apartments on six acres, is already doing soil testing on the site, according to Patrick Berman of Cushman Wakefield.

But the contract with Paragon Property Group — which has announced its intention to build a bank and retail stores on the corner of Bullard and 56th — lapsed because of land platting questions and other issues. City Manager Charles Stephenson stated that he expects a new contract to be signed within a couple of weeks.

Council Member Frank Chillura told the other bidders this week that he wasn't saying no to their projects.

"I'm just saying we have to get our house in order before we continue ... I don't want to bite off more than we can chew.''

The properties are part of the land the city bought last decade on the east side of 56th Street from Bullard Parkway to the Hillsborough River. The city borrowed about $24 million 15 years ago to buy and improve the land in hopes of creating what was to be called Downtown Temple Terrace. Disputes with three developers left much of the property idle, and as the deadline to refinance the loan approached, the city council abandoned the original idea in an effort to sell the land for whatever uses the market would bear.

The Paragon and Richman Group projects are located in the northern section of that property, closer to Bullard Parkway. The two new proposals are for abandoned buildings and surrounding property south of the Winn-Dixie store and north of Riverhills Drive.

One group, Ali/Malkeya/Barameh, is offering $1.6 million for 3.7 acres of property, which would include a large old building that has been home to a tire store, dollar store and post office, and the former Indian restaurant just south of it. The company plans to build retail stores and put in a banquet center.

Another firm, Al Aqsa Corporation, is offering $800,000 for the large building only and surrounding property, about 2.06 acres. It plans a strip center with retail outlets and perhaps a restaurant.

Berman, as he has in the past, warned the council about getting proposals and putting them on hold, saying it makes developers wary of doing business with the city.

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