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Tweaks added to Oldsmar Galleria plan

Tall palm trees will replace bushes, and an outdoor cafe also will be a part of the $9-million retail, office and residential development.

By NICOLE JOHNSON
Published January 21, 2005


OLDSMAR - The pioneer of revitalization in Oldsmar's sleepy stretch of downtown just got an upgrade.

An outdoor cafe and 26 large palm trees will be added to the Oldsmar Galleria, a 59,000-square-feet development planned for State Street and St. Petersburg Drive. The development is designated for retail, office and residential.

The city approved plans for the Galleria in October. The final construction plans were approved Tuesday, but not before a few changes were made by Clearwater developer JES Properties Inc. The buildings are expected to be made of stucco and have a European architectural influence.

"We're trying to enhance the European concept of the project," said Douglas Weiland, president of JES Properties. "In European towns, the restaurants are often on the bottom floor and spill out into the city center."

The outdoor dining area would be along the east side of the project. Weiland would not give details about what restaurant would locate there, but he said the outdoor section would seat 25 to 30.

"The outdoor dining area, I think, is a positive because the restaurant that comes in will be of a higher standard," said Jerry Paradise, director of planning and redevelopment.

The $9-million Galleria development is set to have about 15,000 square feet of retail and office space and 19 residential units. The buildings will range from three to four stories tall. Prices for the residential units was not available.

With the lack of tall buildings in Oldsmar's downtown, developers are hoping the addition of palm trees will offset the buildings' heights. The trees, which will be about two stories tall, will be planted along the front of the buildings between the sidewalk and the angled parking lot.

Before the change to palm trees, low bushes were to be planted.

"It gives people the opportunity to have a barrier," Weiland said. "It helps make the buildings blend with the rest of the scenery."

Another change to the plans includes installing a white fence between the southwest portion of the development and a home. The original plan was to use a landscaped buffer. The white fencing is used to separate homes from a nearby development - Rampart Square.

"I consider it a better deal for both parties," Paradise said. "They won't have to maintain the landscaping, and the property owner will have a solid barrier."

Weiland said the developers will begin accepting contracts in the coming weeks for retail, office, restaurants and residential companies.

Developers expect to break ground about two months after tenants have signed on.

Nicole Johnson can be reached at 727 771-4303 or njohnson@sptimes.com

[Last modified January 21, 2005, 00:30:24]


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