But some Bayshore Boulevard residents voice concerns over the planned tower at a meeting with the developer.
By CORY SCHOUTEN
Published July 18, 2003
While concerns about traffic and construction hassles linger, many neighbors of a planned Bayshore Boulevard condominium tower now say they support the project.
JMC Communities of St. Petersburg plans 64 upscale condominiums ranging in price from $600,000 to $1-million for the Bellamy on Bayshore, on a 1.8-acre site between Knights and Wallcraft avenues. The developer shared its plans with neighbors last week at 2601 Wallcraft Ave., in a house that was slated for demolition in an earlier site plan.
A newer plan saves the house, along with two grand oak trees. The 21-story condominium building is named for Francis Bellamy, a New York native who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. Bellamy lived on Wallcraft in the 1920s.
"We want to be able to drive by this in 20 years and still be proud of what we have here," said JMC Communities President John Hobach, who showed neighbors an artist's rendering of the building, aerial map and site plan.
Neighbors raised only two concerns - construction and traffic.
Sue Lyon, president of both the Bayshore Beautiful Neighborhood Association and Tampa Homeowners, an Association of Neighborhoods, suggested the city channel traffic on Knights Avenue so cars have to use Bayshore. Most of the tower's traffic will flow onto Knights, but the developer also plans a U-shaped driveway on Bayshore and a guest parking area that will exit onto Wallcraft. The complex will include a total of 130 parking spaces.
Lyon said she was pleased at the developer's commitment to consider her suggestion and explore ways to limit the tower's traffic impact. But she hopes developers don't line up to build more condos.
"I don't want any more condominiums on Bayshore," Lyon said. "But this project meets all the city requirements and the (developers) are willing to work with the neighbors."
The condo tower will feature Mediterranean, Palm Beach-style architecture, with three penthouses priced up to $2-million. Zoning on the 1.8-acre site would allow for up to 138 units.
Sheela Chokshi, who lives on Knights, said she appreciated the meeting but still isn't excited about the new condo tower.
"The developers would have some concerns if they lived here," she said.
But Ken Morin, who also lives on Knights, said he supports the project because the developer is following code. Overall, it will benefit the neighborhood.
"Having a high-end condominium at the end of my street does nothing but increase my property value," he said.
Developers have been trying to put a high-rise on the property since 1992.
Construction is expected to begin in February or March, with an opening date set for late 2005. The building will feature a wine cellar, fitness center and spa, a library, a swimming pool, guest suites and concierge services.