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Tampa: Marina Development Shored Up


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Marina Development Shored Up


The Tampa Tribune

TAMPA - A St. Petersburg- based developer wants to turn the Imperial Yacht Basin on Gandy Boulevard in Tampa into a $350 million, high-end residential development and marina.

Grady Pridgen bought the yacht basin for $25 million Tuesday and announced plans to build as many as 500 homes there over the next eight years.

``I think this is the best site in Tampa Bay,'' Pridgen said. ``Within 15 miles, there are 500,000 jobs. It's an opportunity I couldn't pass up.''

The site has been approved by the county for up to 500 homes, as well as buildings up to 200 feet high. Pridgen said his firm is still shoring up its plans and hasn't filed for building permits.

The firm wants to meet with local residents about the development.

``We'd like to be good neighbors,'' the developer said.

Pridgen said he anticipates building a mix of town homes, low-rise condominium buildings and four high-rise towers. He also plans to renovate the existing marina and add retail space.

Pridgen said home prices haven't been set, but he expects most condominium units will sell for $300,000 to $600,000. Construction of a retail building could begin this year. Construction on the first condominium tower is expected in about a year, he said. It should take eight years to complete the development.

Gandy Civic Association President Al Steenson said he has seen preliminary plans.

``I told him, `You're going to have a very tough sell with everything else going on down here,' '' Steenson said he informed the developer.

Pridgen said Jimmy Mac's Waterfront restaurant, near South West Shore and Gandy boulevards, will remain.

Notice of the land sale hasn't made it into Hillsborough County's property records yet. The property appraiser's database lists Imperial Yacht Basins Inc. as the owner of the yacht club, and pegs the site's market value at $3.1 million.

Pridgen said he's been working on the Imperial Yacht Basin deal for five months. He's not the first developer to eye industrial sites in South Tampa for high-end residential development: WCI Communities Inc., based in Bonita Springs, has announced plans to convert 68 acres last used by Westinghouse Electric Corp. into a community with nearly 500 homes and a marina.

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Grady Pridgen does have a lot of projects proposed right now. I'd like to see at least one of his large proposals built, particularly the Bayway Lofts project. This project looks ok -- more suburban than urban. However, isn't there a plan to extend the Leroy Selmon Expressway across the Interbay Peninsula and merge it with Gandy (eventually creating one unified expressway route from I-275 in St. Petersburg to Brandon)? I wonder has this been taken into consideration.

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