The University of Tampa will present updated plans to the city that call for a trim of the south side of the tree.
By GRACE AGOSTIN
Published June 11, 2004
An old oak tree is forcing the University of Tampa to change plans for a new residence hall along Kennedy Boulevard.
Originally designed as a seven-story building, the dorm at 404 W Kennedy Blvd. must grow to at least 10 stories, said Erick Kreher, of Kreher Architects Inc. in Ybor City.
Construction is scheduled to begin in July on the as-yet unamed dorm .
"We're going to go out there and show the arborist where the building would have to be and see if it's acceptable to trim the south side of the tree," Kreher said. "There's not much room left."
An abandoned building at the intersection of Kennedy and Hyde Park Avenue, across from Plant Hall, will be demolished to make room for the residence hall. Because of the tight location, Kreher said, the building will house slightly fewer students than the original plan, which called for 200.
Accommodating the tree is expected to increase the cost of the project by $5 to $10 a square foot, Kreher said. At 55,000 square feet, that's up to $550,000.
Environmental lawyer Andrea Zelman submitted a rezoning application to the Tampa City Council meeting last month and has been working with the university and Kreher to come up with a workable plan.
"One of the things that the city asked us to do was explore the possibility of designing a building around the tree," Zelman said. "We have come up with a plan that will enable them to save the tree and not to slow down the university's plans."
She expected to present the revised site plans to the city of Tampa zoning staff sometime this week. UT spokesman Grant Donaldson said relocating the huge tree would probably be too costly.
"We moved a couple of trees in 2000 and it was quite expensive. The removal of this tree, as I understand it, would be a lot more complicated process than what we encountered," he said. "I think the root system encroaches under Kennedy, so it's a little different challenge I think for the developer."