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New mixed-use project for Dale Mabry

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Office, Town House Plan May Boost Dale Mabry, Kennedy Corner

By JOSH POLTILOVE [email protected]

Published: Sep 30, 2004

SOUTH TAMPA - A proposed development may change the face of one of Tampa's busiest intersections.

Jim Mikes plans to construct a 100,000-square-foot, five- story building just east of Dale Mabry Highway on Kennedy Boulevard. He said the project, next to a CVS pharmacy, would cost more than $20 million.

``This is the premier intersection in town,'' Mikes said. ``We'll make it look great.''

The first two floors would house restaurants and other businesses, and the top floors would have offices. A parking structure would be built in the rear with maybe 10 town houses above it, Mikes said.

He said construction should begin in about a year, with occupancy in a few years.

Mikes said his other projects include apartments in Plant City and an office building in Bloomingdale.

City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena said Kennedy needs properties with residential and commercial uses. Saul-Sena, who pushed for a 2003 technical report on the boulevard commissioned by the Metropolitan Planning Organization, said Kennedy is undergoing a resurgence.

The report on the stretch of Kennedy from Memorial Highway to Ashley Drive determined congestion can be reduced and safety and appearance improved by adding a third northbound through lane on Dale Mabry at Kennedy.

The report also suggested Kennedy west of Howard Avenue needs an updated look.

Phil Graham, a St. Petersburg urban designer who worked on the report, said a one-block stretch near 4329 W. Kennedy Blvd. could get uniform signs and some curb cuts may be removed.

Mikes said renderings of his project should be available in about two months.

He owns the properties earmarked for the development, including the Faith Cafe, which serves free food to the needy. He said the cafe will move in about a year, but a location hasn't been chosen.

This year, Mikes bought the now-defunct Impressions Furniture just west of the cafe. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's campaign has leased a local headquarters site at the former furniture store, 3710 W. Kennedy Blvd.

Mikes said the development will be ``very pedestrian-traffic friendly, very friendly to the overall community.''

Nearby resident Brad Krantz doesn't like the sound of the project.

``I imagine that would face some fierce opposition from the neighborhood,'' he said.

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