Latest News (February 13th, 2005)

In August a small grassroots task force was created named the Citizens for Redevelopment. Their purpose is to “team with city officials to make sure Temple Terrace’s redevelopment efforts maintain momentum” and they’re responsible for developing the Downtown Redevelopment Powerpoint presentations that TTRA Director Ralph Bosek has been giving around town to inform our citizens about our Downtown Redevelopment. In addition to offering answers to many of the concerns and questions Redevelopment has received in the past few months, the new presentation will present answers to popular questions about our Downtown Redevelopment like “What and where is it?”, “How will it be financed?”, “How much will it cost?” and last but not least, “What will the Redevelopment mean to the Citizens?” The presentations are followed by a question and answer period. Redevelopment would like to begin targeting Temple Terrace homeowners groups for the Redevelopment presentation, so if you are a member of a local homeowners group, or know someone who is, please contact TTRA Director Ralph Bosek or Linda Brewer to set up a presentation at 989-7176 or

On December 11, 2004 the Strategic Teamwork and Redevelopment (STAR) redevelopment citizen focus group added four new members: Cheri Donohue, Executive Director of the Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce (Cheri replaces Ron Govin who was recently elected to the Temple Terrace City Council); Trent Green, Associate Professor at USF’s School of Architecture and Community Design; Rachel Rodgers, local Landscape Architect and activist; and Randy Simmons, Chairman of R.R. Simmons Construction Corp.

On January 27th, 2005 our stellar Town Planner Team (which consists of Torti Gallas and Partners, planners; Robert Charles Lesser & Co., LLC, financial feasibility and market consultants; Hall Planning and Engineering, traffic engineering; and King Engineering, site and civil engineering) presented their Final Master Plan (before the Developer phase). For details on this meeting please visit the City of Temple Terrace Redevelopment website. The Town Planning Team unveiled two important documents at the January 27th meeting. The first is a Draft version of the Master Plan document which contains the Master Plan for the entire 225 acre CRA Downtown Redevelopment area, detailed plans for each of the four downtown quadrants, and the implementation strategy. The Master Plan draft document can be viewed in PDF form. The Planning Team also presented the draft of the Design Code document which outlines the New Urbanist urban, landscape, and architectural standards which will be used to build our redevelopment. This document in conjunction with the Code recommended 5-step Developer Design Review Process will insure that even if small changes are made to the Master Plan, the intent of the citizens and the planning team will be followed. The Design Code draft document may be viewed in PDF form. It is worth noting that the Architectural Standards in the Design Code use Temple Terrace’s own 1920s Mediterranean Revival buildings as the springboard, and photos of our own local historic architecture/details are used to illustrate this Code.

There has been some discussion about whether the City should commission our Planning Team for one more round of revisions to the Master Plan for the chosen Master Developer, as is often done. It is inevitable that the Developer will want to modify the Master Plan in small ways once they’re on board: moving buildings and maybe the exact location of roads (though we do not expect large scale changes). It would be to the benefit of the City that they commission the original Planning Team to create these revisions for the Developer as they are well aware of the issues and citizen input that led to the creation of the Master Plan in the first place and thus would be best suited to modify it without sacrificing it’s quality.

On January 31, 2005 the City of Temple Terrace received five (5) Request for Qualifications (RFQs) for a Master Developer for our Downtown Redevelopment! This is a great turn out and once again represents the strength of our project. The five developers are:

1) Trammel Crow Company, representative projects include Addison Circle in Addison, Texas and the West Avenue Lofts in Austin, Texas.

2) UniCorp National Developments Inc., representative projects include Baldwin Park Village Center and Casselberry Town Center

3) Exceed Corporation, representative projects include Atlantic Station in Atlanta, Georgia and Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio.

4) Downtown Renaissance Alliance, the Alliance has retained Cooper Carry and local firm Elements as Urban Designers, their representative projects include Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Florida and Bethesda Row in Bethesda, Maryland.

5) Cherokee Investment Partners LLC, representative projects include Cherokee Ashley in Charleston, N.C.

A Developer Selection Committee has been created that will meet in late February to make recommendations for how many of the five firms should be short listed and move on to the Request for Proposals (RFP) stage. The committee consists of Kim Leinbach, City Manager; Ralph Bosek, CRA Director; Joe Motta, City Engineer; Woody Garcia, City Public Works; Lee Huffstuttler, City Finance; Raymond Chiaramonte, Assistant Executive Director of The Planning Commission; Dr. Patrick Finelli, STAR chair and citizen representative; and Grant Rimbey, C.R.T.T. president and citizen representative. There are also three outside advisors to the Committee: Ted Taub, City Attorney; Sheriar Khorsandian, Real Estate consultant; and Craig Dunlap, Financial consultant..

Mike Delk, our Community Development Director, has announced that he will be leaving the City of Temple Terrace for a similar position in Clearwater. This may be an opportunity for the City to hire a new Community Development Director with direct experience in New Urbanism, which is the planning direction of our Redevelopment. Since the Redevelopment has it’s own code that will allow good building practices such as building closer to the street and allowing mixed uses in a single building (mixed use), many hope that an expanded version of our Redevelopment Code will eventually be utilized alongside our existing Building Code, for the rest of the city. The new Code will be utilized by developers because of incentives like faster permitting times and an increased chance of project success. Sadly, our existing Building Code is in need of a massive overhaul as following it verbatim merely produces more mindless sprawl (as can be seen in some of the new construction north of Fowler). It makes little sense to eradicate sprawl in our downtown area and encourage it’s construction in other areas. A New Urbanist savvy Community Development Director would help speed the application of this city-wide New Urbanist Building Code.

There has been some paranoia lately about the proposed Density of our Redevelopment. First, the proposed density of the redevelopment is only 900 multi-family residential units, not 1500 as a recent door to door flyer mentioned. Secondly, our comprehensive plan limits us to a maximum average of 25 units/acre. Keep in mind that this density falls in between that of Channelside and the denser areas of Hyde Park Village. Neither of those projects have huge traffic problems, nor are they teeming with people. Lastly, some have claimed that our new downtown area will be as urban as New York City. Keep in mind that New York City midtown has densities of 400 units/acre!

There has also been fear generated regarding the issue of Eminent Domain as it applies to some of the property owner(s) in the Southeast Quadrant that don’t want the city to acquire their land for the Redevelopment. The issue seems to revolve around whether property taken under Eminent Domain includes an ultimate use by another private party. Since we envision the southeast quadrant parcels being turned into park land for public use it’s hard to see how this issue applies?

The Busch Boulevard Beautification that is being spearheaded by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has cleared another hurdle. The projects plan is to improve the appearance of Busch Boulevard between Interstate 275 and 56th Street. City and county officials have earmarked $570,000.00 in state transportation enhancement funds for the project. “MPO Chairman Shawn Harrison states the money will be available in 2008, but we hope construction can be well under way by then. The cost to implement the plan for the 4 mile stretch is estimated to be about $3 million.”

Regarding other Redevelopment activity in Northeast Hillsborough County, the County has been facilitating citizen workshops to collect input for a Thonottosassa Community Plan. The plan designates Main Street as the community’s future central hub. Many in the community envision their new Main Street as a central meeting place where senior citizens can visit a clinic, folks can drop by the sheriff’s substation, and others can get a cup of coffee.

There is also a grassroots effort underway to improve the appearance of Nebraska Avenue. The Florida Department of Transportation has agreed to reduce the number of lanes from four to two lanes between Zack and Hillsborough Avenue which makes room for “a left-turn lane in the middle, bike lanes on the side, and landscaping.” Asphalt repaving will occur between Sligh and Kennedy. Construction is expected to begin in early 2006 and take about 2-1/2 years. Frank Roder of the Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association envisions the future Nebraska “as a grand boulevard…that is an entry way into Tampa.”

Lastly, we’ll end with some Questions and Answers culled from questions we’ve received over the previous months.

Q. Isn’t the proposed eighteen story tower out of character in Temple Terrace?

A. The tower in our downtown will not be one of those awful Clearwater Beach glass condo towers, but will be more similar to the beautifully proportioned Snell Arcade tower, circa 1925, in downtown St. Petersburg. This tower is close to 14 stories but it doesn’t seem out of place even though it is immediately surrounded by 3 to 4 story buildings. This building also has an indoor/outdoor arcade on the first floor with shops and a post office.
1925 Snell Tower and Arcade, St. Petersburg, Fl.

There are many graceful and unobtrusive tall buildings in our area to study. The Downtown area will have it’s own Design Code that will dictate that the tower be in the Mediterranean Revival style, and that it’s massing fits with the rest of the redevelopment (and our city).

Q. Once the Developer is brought on board, how will we insure they build our master plan?

A. The Town Planning Team has created two important documents: The Master Plan drawings and the Design Code booklet. One is not more important than the other as they both describe different aspects of the same project—the visual and the descriptive–they are mutually supporting. Within the Design Code document is delineated a 5-step Developer Design Review Process that will insure that even if the developer makes small changes to the Master Plan the intent of the citizens and the planning team will be adhered to. It is recommended that the review process be performed by the Temple Terrace Redevelopment Agency (TTRA) and is handled by an Outside Professional Design/Planning Consultant. Obviously, this Consultant would have direct experience with New Urbanist Downtown Redevelopment, preferably in Florida.

Q. I don’t think that something on such a grand scale can succeed in TT. I feel that the citizens here can not support something as upscale as what seems to be proposed. Have they really done a market analysis of the residence of TT. Are they targeting the real demographics of TT?

A. As the term Revitalization implies, they’re dynamic, not static. Our initial phases of the project will lay the groundwork for the later, more upscale work. Great revitalizations have a way of, well, revitalizing–they create a revitalization energy that moves outward from the center to other areas on the periphery and they begin to be revitalized. This is called a “halo effect” and can be seen in such Florida redevelopments such as CityPlace in West Palm Beach. The initial phases could very well be upper middle market stuff but after the revitalization proves successful and a “sense of place” is created, later phases could well be more upscale. Regarding conducting a market analysis and demographics study, the Town Planning Team’s real estate and economic feasibility consultant Marc McCauley of Robert Charles Lesser & Co. has already conducted an in depth market and demographic study and they feel comfortable that our demographics can support our Redevelopment as depicted in the Master Plan. Regarding the upper range condos, again, probably not in the very first phase. In his report Marc indicates that luxury condos are a possibility in the mid to long term. He suggests Urban Townhomes in the short, mid, and long term as well as Stacked Townhomes/Condos and Traditional Condos (Flats). To fully analyze Marc McCauley’s “Preliminary Matrix of Projected Market Opportunities for Downtown Temple Terrace” please review the July 19th, 2004 CRTT update.

Q. The planner has depicted in the master plan that a new road be built linking existing Temple Heights Road with Ridgedale Road. Wouldn’t a new two lane road cutting through the middle of the Little League complex create a dangerous situation for our kids?

A. In actuality, the proposed road (shown in white below on the “after” map) would not infringe on any of the baseball fields but would merely provide a road for local traffic that already exists in this area as folks make their way from 56th Street to Ridgedale.

See the following before and after maps:

Before After, proposed road indicated in white

The proposed east/west road was originally intended when the city was planned in the 1920s and you can still see remnants of it (such as the horseshoe) in the “before” photo. Currently, many residents north of Bullard cut through the Corpus Christi parking lot on a daily basis—in fact everyone I know who lives north of Bullard does it. They weave their way through the parking lots, (sometimes fast, sometimes not) which is full of kids being dropped off at Corpus Christi, playing at the playground, and going from one baseball field to another. People already use this route, and the situation is already dangerous. What the planning team proposes is take this already existing traffic pattern and give it a real road, not to make the situation more dangerous, but to make it safer. The traffic that you would have on the proposed new two lane road would be the same traffic you currently have illegally cutting through the existing parking lot. But instead of dangerously cutting through a parking lot, endangering everyone, they would be given a two lane road of their own where we could control their speed via speed tables, traffic calming, landscaping, etc. (how about a cross walk with a light between the baseball fields? It is more than they have now) and Corpus Christi would no longer have to worry about motorists cutting through their parking lot putting their church members at risk and creating a liability and a hazard. Folks are cutting through that parking lot because there is no direct east/west road between Mission Hills and Bullard, we may as well give them a road and make it safer and better for all. There is a solution to this problem where everyone can win! The new proposed road would also create a formal entry for the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club, which is something they don’t have now.

Related posts:

  1. Latest News (June 22, 2005)
  2. Latest News (February 22, 2004)
  3. Latest News February 14, 2003
  4. Latest News (September 3, 2005)
  5. Latest News February 24, 2003
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