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Complex, offices, on drawing board

By BILL COATS and EVE LEBERSON

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 20, 2001


LUTZ -- A complex of 650 apartments and 71,000 square feet of office space has been proposed for N Dale Mabry Highway east of Calusa Trace.

The development would occupy the northern 70 acres on the biggest vacant land tract along the highway, nearly 500 acres owned by rancher Peter Geraci. It tentatively is called the Landings at Lake Pearl, named for the lake just to the east, where Geraci lives. The lake is named for his mother.

A rezoning for the development is to be heard by a zoning judge on Aug. 6. It's set for a vote of Hillsborough County commissioners on Sept. 25.

Geraci and his brother Nick once owned miles of land in Lutz, including the property where Calusa Trace was built and where Heritage Harbor is under construction. They own even more in Pasco and Manatee counties.

The square mile at the northeast corner of Dale Mabry and Van Dyke Road, which includes these 70 acres, is the remaining crown jewel of the Geracis' Hillsborough holdings. For nearly a decade, they tried to develop a regional shopping mall there. The quest led to a storm of litigation against government agencies and ended last November when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the Geracis' appeal.

As the mall struggle died down, the Geracis nailed down the future of the rest of the property. They sold the southeast quarter 15 months ago for $4.4-million to Idlewild Baptist Church, which plans one of the biggest Baptist churches in Florida there. The Geracis had proposed houses and apartments for that land before Idlewild entered the picture.

The northeastern section of 181 acres, including Lake Pearl, was rezoned last year for 205 houses. But Peter Geraci has indicated that won't be developed for decades.

The office proposal may be a hint of things to come. The Geracis' options for rezoning the would-be mall property include millions of square feet of office buildings. Their attorney has said office developers were negotiating for the land.(Petition 01-0962)

* * *

CITRUS PARK: Bellamy Road might soon house another subdivision.

Thomas Development Inc. wants to rezone 49 acres at the end of the street to a planned development designation that would include 92 homes. A traffic study concluded that the development would not adversely affect the Ehrlich and Bellamy roads intersection.

A zoning hearing master is scheduled to hear the plan August 6. (Petition 01-0957)

NORTHDALE: An 8,000-square-foot business office is proposed for a .92-acre site at the west side of Casey Road, north of West Bank Avenue.

Jim Stutzman of Stutzman Consulting Inc., who filed the petition on the property owner's behalf, seeks a rezoning for a planned development designation. The new building would replace a mobile home now used as an office.

The project should be completed by December 2003, pending county approval. A zoning hearing master will hear the petition Aug. 6. (Petition 01-0959)

CARROLLWOOD: CVS could be headed to Original Carrollwood.

Gustine Properties Inc. wants to open the drugstore on 2.4 acres at the southwest corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Hudson Lane. The company wants a 10,880-square-foot retail store with a drive-through.

A zoning hearing master will hear the petition Aug. 6. (Petition 01-0961)

LAKE MAGDALENE: Another planned CVS store at the northeast corner of Bearss Avenue and North Boulevard seeks permission to sell beer and wine. According to the petition, CVS will lie within the county's minimum distance requirement from community uses, such as Buchanan Baptist Church and Buchanan Middle School.

A land use hearing officer will hear the petition June 19. (Petition 01-0939)

UNIVERSITY NORTH: Beverly Ortiz wants to operate a day care center at her home.

According to the petition, her 2,000-square-foot on E. 143rd Avenue would serve up to 30 children. It include a 5,489-square-foot backyard play area and a one-way circular driveway with 9 parking spaces.

A land use hearing officer will hear the petition June 29. (Petition 01-0944)

County commissioners are scheduled to hear the following petitions Tuesday: KEYSTONE: John and Patricia Rew want to rezone 22 acres at the northeast corner of Race Track and S. Mobley roads. The Rews plan to develop the parcel with 10,000 square feet for retail and office space and four large-lot homes. County staff, the Planning Commission and a zoning hearing master approve of the project. (Petition 01-0211)

UNIVERSITY: The Veteran's Administration wants a temporary parking facility for employees at the James A. Haley Veteran's Hospital on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. It also wants to build a permanent four-story parking garage, eliminate two driveways from its site plan and expand medical buildings. (Petition 01-0602)

Zoning hearing master Martin H. Smith Jr. recently endorsed the following petitions:

KEYSTONE: The Zambito family is seeking to rezone 111.8 acres of rural land on the north side of Van Dyke Road, east of Ramblewood Road, to planned development. They are proposing a 10,000-square-feet shopping center and 26 large-lot homes. County staff and the Planning Commission also approve of the project. (Petition 01-0339)

LUTZ: Waterford Construction and Development wants to build a 27,250-square-foot office complex on 3 acres at the north side of Dale Mabry, south of Cheval Boulevard. County staff and the Planning Commission also endorse the plan. (Petition 01-0352)

A land use hearing officer was scheduled to hear the following petitions Friday: TAMPA PALMS: Wire Warehouse of New Tampa sought a waiver to allow for beer and wine sales at its 1,500-square-foot store at the Oak Ramble Plaza under development on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. (Petition 01-0619)

CITRUS PARK: The Publix under construction at the Shoppes of Citrus Park on Gunn Highway also needs a permit to sell beer and wine. The store plans to offer cooking classes, which may use wine in some recipes. (Petition 01-0513)

Coming up in June:

NEW TAMPA: A public hearing has been set for 10 a.m. June 21 to act on a petition from Steak and Ale to sell alcohol at its restaurant planned for The Walk at Highwoods Preserve in New Tampa. The hearing will be held at City Hall, 315 E. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa.(Petition WZ-01-94)

Where and When

Hearings of county zoning hearing masters and land use hearing officers, and land use meetings of the County Commission, are held on the second floor of the County Center, 601 E Kennedy Blvd. The zoning hearings begin at 6 p.m., and the commission meetings begin at 9 a.m. Both are televised on government access channels. The land use hearing officer hearings, which are not televised, begin at 9 a.m. For information, call (813) 272-5920.

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