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New Developer Proceeds With Town House Project


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SOHO - A new developer has taken over a prized site at South Howard and Bristol avenues, scrapped a proposal for hotel rooms and condominiums, and is moving ahead with a brownstone-style town house project.

Though the hotel plan met stiff neighborhood opposition and eventually was doomed by the Tampa City Council, the plan to build about 40 town houses will follow a different path.

Because the project will be built following city codes for setbacks and height already in place on the commercially zoned property, no public hearings or special waivers are necessary, said Jason Wood, co-owner of Statewide Associates Inc.

The current tenant, Mac's Sports Pub, will move after the Super Bowl, with demolition of the building to follow.

Factoring in the time needed to obtain building permits, the project could be completed in about one year, said Woods, whose Statewide partner is his father, Arthur Woods Jr.

Woods said he and his father bought the property about two months ago, several months after the city council refused to grant construction waivers to build the hotel.

Statewide's first development attempt involved 50 condominiums, but that would have required a variance from the city to exceed the maximum allowable height of 45 feet by an additional 10 feet.

When word of that request began circulating around the SoHo business district last week, neighborhood opposition surfaced again. Woods said he decided to save time and money by redesigning the project for town houses that wouldn't exceed the height limitations.

The reduction in height and density doesn't make Anneliese Meier any happier. She was among the organizers of opposition to the earlier plans.

``We realize they can build on that property if they stay within the limits of the city zoning,'' Meier said. ``But there already is so much heavy traffic. This will only make it worse.''

Woods said he was familiar with the property's history.

``There's opposition in South Tampa everywhere you go,'' he said. ``We're not looking for opposition from anyone.

``We would like the people in the community to be excited about this,'' Woods said. ``I think they're going to love the finished product.''

The town houses, each with two- car garages, are expected to sell for $300,000 to $500,000, Woods said.

The smaller town houses will be about 1,350 square feet range, with two bedrooms and two baths. The more expensive units will be 1,500 to 1,620 square feet, with three bedrooms and three baths. Standard features will include crown molding, hardwood floors and granite kitchen counters.

Reporter Ivan Hathaway can be reached at (813) 835-2103.

This story can be found at: http://www.tampatrib.com/News/MGBJBYV174E.html

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