Thirty-six stories up.
On Thursday the Tampa City Council voted unanimously to sell a pint-sized piece of land adjacent to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, and behind the John F. Germany Public Library and across from the Hillsborough River to a development group headed by developers Greg Minder and Phillip Smith for four million dollars for the purpose of building an $85 million, thirty-six story combination retail, parking and apartment complex to be completed by the end of 2014.
Did we say pint-sized?
The soon to be site of the behemoth structure is a sliver of property which for now is occupied by flower beds, pedestrian walkways and the tangled intersection of Cass and Tyler streets.
The property when completed will house ground floor retail space, five floors of parking, and 30 stories of 350 rental units which will rent for $2 per square foot, and will generate a cool one million dollars in property tax revenue for the city.
A close look at the property seems to reveal that it will take some mechanical and architectural geniuses to squeeze all that into for now what appears to be nothing more than a good place to let your shy puppy have at it on his morning walk.
An editorial in the Jan. 17 The Tampa Bay Times said as much in an editorial entitled 'A bad fit for downtown Tampa,' the paper scolded the developers and the city by saying, "It's too big for the space, a misuse of public property, and a setback for a city that has spent tens of millions of dollars to reverse decades of bad planning on the downtown waterfront."
But hold on.
The Tampa Tribune, in an editorial on Wednesday, Jan. 16, with a banner headline proclaiming "Buckhorn scores again with downtown Tampa Tower." lauded Mayor Buckhorn and the city council for having the foresight to ok the project and carry on with the remarkable progress of the downtown renaissance.
Mayor Buckhorn envisions a great surge in downtown business with the addition of the building to the cultural corridor which has sprung up all around Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park, with increased traffic to, and interest in all things that are fine about this part of downtown Tampa. i.e. The Straz Center for the Performing Arts, The John F. Germany Public Library, the Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park, the Tampa museum of art, the Glazer Children's Museum, and all of those great nearby restaurants.
To be sure, messrs. Minder and Smith have masterminded the development of the nearby 35 story Element apartment complex and the 32 story Skypoint building, which between them house one-thousand people who have helped the surge in downtown business.
When Examiner examined the property in question, we wondered, so we stopped a passer-by and asked him what he thought about the plans for the tiny piece of land before him.
He looked at it for a few seconds, and said, "Good luck with that," then walked away, chuckling and shaking his head.
We are not fortune tellers, nor are we mechanical or architectural geniuses, and so we really do not know what to think of what the future holds for that small sliver of land by the river.
But how about this.
Maybe we should put in a request to the developers to include a bowling alley.