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Tampa: 630ft tall tower approved

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630ft tower rendering

Tampa's skyline set to gain towers

The City Council approves plans for one of two residential projects planned for downtown.

By DONG-PHUONG NGUYEN and KEVIN GRAHAM

Published March 26, 2004

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TAMPA - Downtown Tampa could get a double-shot of high-rise, luxury living, with one proposal unveiled Thursday and another that gained unanimous approval from the City Council.

Swiss investors want to build a 51-story, 472-unit urban residential tower at 602 E Whiting St. Keith Bricklemyer, an attorney for the developer, told the City Council on Thursday night during a zoning hearing that the project promises to "dramatically change the skyline of Tampa."

Earlier in the day, officials announced that a yet-to-be-named residential high-rise will be built on the Hillsborough River next to the Brorein Street bridge in early 2005, also making it among the tallest structures on the west coast of Florida.

The lawyer for that developer, Ron Weaver, said all the initial paperwork has been completed for the 50-story building, putting an end to the controversy over a part of the site's ownership.

The proposed name for the tower along Whiting Street is Four Seasons Residences. Plans call for residential dwellings to range from a simple 715-square-foot apartment with one bedroom and one bathroom, to a sprawling two-story, 4,041-square-foot, four-bedroom, five-bathroom penthouse. Developers plan to outfit the tower with retail stores, a coffee shop, restaurant, health club, dry cleaning and day care for residents, said Peter Gottschalk, the project designer, who works for the Architectural Practice.

"This is very exciting," said council Chairwoman Linda Saul-Sena. "This is the first residential proposal for downtown in decades."

Bricklemyer presented the council with a letter from the Tampa Downtown Partnership, which said while the partnership members don't endorse specific projects, "they endorse these kinds of projects," he said.

Tampa Downtown Invest Ltd. has owned the property for the proposed Four Seasons Residences since 1998, Bricklemyer said. The property had been zoned for a 50-story, 700,000-square-foot office building. Years ago, the lot was a car dealership, city officials said.

Council members unanimously approved the rezoning Thursday to allow building the 700,000-square-foot Four Seasons.

Bricklemyer said the next step is to find a joint venture partner and "move forward on an expeditious basis."

The maximum height of the proposed Four Seasons is 630 feet.

The second project is along the Hillsborough River and includes a site that was the subject of some controversy last month, when broker Alexander Miran advertised plans to build a high-rise called the Presidential Tower along S Ashley Drive. Questions arose about the background of Miran, his financial backing and whether he had title to the property.

New owners now have acquired the land and plan a similar project. Weaver said his client, Whiting & Ashley LLC, bought the property last week.

"This is a project that is very real," he said.

A managing partner of Whiting & Ashley LLC, Dr. Howard Howell, is an orthodontist with offices in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, Weaver said.

The architect is Alcides Santiesteban, whose firm has an office on S Howard Avenue and has designed high-rises in such cities as Bonita Springs, Naples and Clearwater.

The plan for the riverfront condominium calls for 213 units with views of South Tampa, the Hillsborough River and the University of Tampa.

"This will be world-class," Weaver said.

Nine of the condominium units will be classified as luxury and take up the 44th to 50th floors. They will range from 5,600 to 7,700 square feet each, and cost from $1.5-million to $2-million.

The remaining units will feature 2,300 square feet of space. And an outdoor pool is planned on the 10th floor.

There are also plans for a restaurant that will seat 300 to 400 people and lush landscaping along 356 feet of riverwalk that runs 25 feet wide.

Construction will begin in early 2005 and take about two years to complete, Weaver said.

The site of the project includes a slice of land along the river that was the subject of some dispute over ownership after Miran announced plans to build condominiums there. The property was owned by the family of the late Michael Scionti, former chairman of the Hillsborough Democratic Executive Committee.

Whiting & Ashley purchased the plot for more than $2-million, Weaver said.

Howell, the managing partner of Whiting & Ashley, said they have owned land adjacent to the plot for years, and decided to buy the rest.

"It complemented what we were doing well," he said.

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Tampa's skyline is very impressive, especially when one considers Tampa's size. All those new projects are not tiny and I can't wait until DT Tampa gets a major boost from all those towers that have been proposed. Amazing!!!

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In four years, (if all of the proposed projects are build) Tampa's skyline will really distinguish itself as a "big city skyline".

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So it is, but I have seen nothing in terms of marketing yet. Hopefully it will be another stealth classic - selling out before anyone notices.

by the way . . .

Smiley is in.

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