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bobliocatt

3 historic Downtown Buildings Purchased

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By MICHAEL SASSO

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TAMPA - Three downtown buildings, which are in an area being redeveloped with new condominium projects, have been bought by a Largo-based company for almost $5 million.

It's unclear what the new owner, Westwind Development V LLC, will do with the buildings, at 200 and 220 E. Madison St. and 510 N. Franklin St. The Franklin Street building is around the corner from the Madison Street buildings.

Jeffrey A. Chadwick, who has a business address in Largo, is listed as the manager of Westwind Development V. Chadwick did not return two calls from the Tribune this week.

However, with a number of new condominium projects slated for downtown, including one just blocks away, nearby business owners say they are concerned that yet more condo projects may be on the horizon.

``I hope they don't pull the whole corner down and have another big condominium planned,'' said Ellen Brown, co-owner of Old Tampa Book Company, at 507 N. Tampa St.

For full article, click here.

http://www.tampatrib.com/MGBEZK8C28E.html

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There's alot of activity in the central business district (Franklin, Zack ,etc) this area's ready to blow-up. Lots of political support and money being poured into this area, as I believe the leaders are seeing what cities like Jacksonville and St.Pete are doing. This is a historical part of Tampa that's been largely overlooked as developers have pounced on the Channelside district. I look for BIG announcements in the very near future regarding this area.

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"I hope they don't pull the whole corner down and have another big condominium planned,'' said Ellen Brown, co-owner of Old Tampa Book Company, at 507 N. Tampa St. "

?? What, is she worried that with all the new potential customers, she might actually turn a profit and lose her tax right off? Or is the risk that she may actually have to get off her butt more than once a week to sell a book too much for her to stomache?

I just don't get some of these Tampa residents/bussiness owners. On Harbour Island I lived across from a restaurant that was not open in the evening or on weekends. ??

hjack

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On Harbour Island I lived across from a restaurant that was not open in the evening or on weekends. ??

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It's interesting that all of these buildings are right outside of our window here at work... But, I digress...

When I first moved to Tampa a couple of years ago, I was working the day shift at work (I now work nights). It just so happened that my lunch time was usually around 2 or 3pm (usually a little later). I was annoyed just about every day because most resturants downtown (within walking distance of my job) close right around 3pm. (Franklin street turns into a ghost town until rush hour.) My only option was usually Subway or Quizno's, and if I got out early enough I could go to the Original Grill Station (right next to the buildings that were just bought) or maybe find another resturant that hadn't locked their doors yet. I'm amazed that so many resturants can make all of their money by being open less than 30 hours per week...

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As a patron of Ms. Brown's I can't quite agree with the characterization of her given above, but the point is still fair. What, precisely, would the downtown business owners want to have instead? Blight? Vacant buildings? Additional small businesses to compete with? Or a condo filled with potential customers?

The office market is still several years away from warranting any significant office development in downtown, so as I see it we're look at either no development or residential development. Perhaps Ms. Brown and her fellow business owners have something else in mind. I'd love to know what it is.

I will admit, however, that I strongly suspect we're at or approaching market saturation for both downtown condominiums (at the current going prices, anyway) and, especially, downtown hotel rooms. Much as I'd love to see the Floridan go off as a luxo hotel, how much demand is there for such things in downtown? There are, what, two other such projects on the board, and the Embassy Suites under construction. I sure as hell wouldn't invest in hotel development in downtown right now. I just wonder--and perhaps this is what Ms. Brown is thinking--whether we aren't at the same point with luxo condos. How much room is there in the market for $600k+ condominium units? If I had a piece of property downtown to play with, I'd be looking to build a residential building with units starting at, oh, $105k. I know it can be done, because One Laurel Place is still selling one bedroom 980 sf units for under $110k (on the lower floors).

The hesitation I'm beginning to feel about each new high dollar condo project is probably the same thing Ms. Brown is feeling.

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