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Neighborhood Report

Development details dispensed

Seaboard Square developers provide 50 people with a look at the 5.8-acre hotel, condo and retail project.

By RICK GERSHMAN
Published July 28, 2006


There isn't much so far to the Web site for Seaboard Square, one of the largest proposed residential/retail additions to the Channel District.

The site boasts a photo of Tampa's skyline, an e-mail address and the marketing line, "Hip. Square. Now." And that's about it.

Developers provided more details to about 50 people at a Channel District Council meeting July 19 at the Florida Aquarium.

The development is bordered by 12th and Meridian streets, E Whiting Street and E Cumberland Avenue. Sembler Investments bought the original developer, West Bay City Homes, and took over the project earlier this year.

Sembler president Darian Johnson told attendees the 5.8-acre development will include a 10-story, 120-room hotel, condominiums, townhomes, and retail and office space.

Plans also include one 29-story building, two 25-story buildings and one 16-story building, significantly taller structures than originally presented. Most of the 725 residences would sell in the $300,000 to $500,000 range, Johnson said. Penthouse-level homes would sell between $600,000 and $900,000.

The development has contracted with SpringHill Suites by Marriott for the hotel. Sembler, a St. Petersburg company, developed Centro Ybor in Ybor City and BayWalk in St. Petersburg.

The project has its first public hearing before the Tampa City Council on Aug. 17, said Jean DeFries, Sembler's development manager. If built as planned, the project would take about five years to build, Johnson said.

Also at the neighborhood meeting, the city's urban development director, Michael Chen, talked about Channel District's Community Redevelopment Area, which funnels money from increased property values into neighborhood improvement projects.

Chen said the redevelopment area will have a budget of more than $1.4-million in fiscal year 2007. That's compared with $626,000 for this fiscal year and $253,000 for 2005, he said.

"Those are fairly healthy gains, and I assure you, you ain't seen nothing yet," Chen said. "Because that does not include all of this construction we have going on now."

Within a few years, he said, the district's budget should be about $7-million.

Chen proposed that more than two-thirds of the 2007 budget - more than $1-million - be spent on engineering and consultant fees to deal with the district's many upcoming infrastructure needs.

Another $240,000 was budgeted for remedial infrastructure projects, with the remainder going toward such issues as marketing and promotion, the TECO streetcar and a partial-year salary for a Channel District arts administrator.

Chen, who is on HARTline's streetcar board, also said he was hopeful officials will be able to promote more ridership for regular daily commuting, in addition to tourist and occasional specialty use.

Rick Gershman can be reached at rgershman@sptimes.com or 226-3431.

[Last modified July 27, 2006, 09:48:24]


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