Iorio reacts to Council's rebuke by Mitch E. Perry

03/10/06

As we reported last night on the Evening News, the Tampa City Council yesterday voted 6-1 to designate the facades of two downtown buildings as historic landmarks, ignoring a request from Mayor Pam Iorio to compromise with developers who did NOT want such a label.

Immediately after the vote, Developer Doran Jason , who was slated to build 975 condominium units on the site, now says his company will walk away with the project.

The group will still build 573 units one block north. So for now the Kress building, which received landmark status in January, and the Newberry and Woolworth buildings will remain boarded up.

The vote was a blow to Mayor Iorio’s plan for redeveloping Tampa’s barren downtown district. Developers planned to demolish the Newberry and Woolworth Buildings on North Franklin Avenue, but preserve the facades of those buildings.

The argument was over whether the facades of those 2 buildings should be labeled Historic. The developers did NOT want that to happen, so the Mayor was working with them yesterday when she requested, thru the City Attorney a 1 week continuance, but was ultimately denied. The Mayor discussed her frustrations today (roll tape#1 o.q.�no redevelopment going on�)

The discussion at City Council yesterday was a 2nd reading….Last month, the Council had voted 5-0 FOR the historic designation on the facades – But the Iorio Administration, wanting to work with the developer who did NOT want the labeling, was trying to work with them, when the Council intervened (roll tape#2 o.q.�opt out�)

That was City Councilman John Dingfelder, who led the charge yesterday to buck the Mayor and vote FOR historical preservation. The Mayor told WMNF that she respects that decision, but says in this specific situation, it wasn’t the wise way to go (roll tape#3 “and historic preservation�)

The City Council has visited the issue frequently in recent weeks. A decision on whether to label cigar factories in West Tampa as Historic was delayed recently after 5 of the owners of those buildings balked at the designation.

In this case, Doran Jason also did not want to have to contend with the City’s Architectural Review Commission on protecting the facades of the Newberry and Wooldworth buildings…WMNF asked why the City would bend over to accommodate such requests? (roll tape#3 o.q.� the rights that people have�)

WMNF spoke to Councilman John Dingfelder late this afternoon ..We askedhim about the developer’s move to drop the project after the Councils’ (roll tape#1 o.q.�baby with the bathwater�)

The Mayor says Doran Jason may come back to the City Council next week and ask that they reconsider.

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