Hyde Park development gets green light
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01/10/08 Mitch E. Perry
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A controversial rezoning for a nine-story condominium and retail project in Tampa’s Hyde Park District was approved by the City Council today on a 4-2 vote.

The developer, Wasserman Real Estate Capital, plans to build a $100-million upscale complex of retail shops and two condominum towers that will add 163 residencies to the neighborhood, considered one of Tampa’s classiest.

But there has been opposition from local residents and the city’s Architectural Review Commission (ARC), which several times rebuked the development plans. However, the ARC’s opinion is non-binding.

Shandra Henthorne has lived in Hyde Park for 21 years. She complained about the height of the proposed project.

Last month, the Council heard more than six hours of public comment on this issue before voting on first reading for approval, 4-2.

One of those dissenting votes came from Councilwoman Mary Mulhern. She asked the developer to reconsider their plans today. She acknowledged it was extremely late in the process to ask for such a change, but Mulhern said the Council had not adequately discussed the matter last month.

Developer David Wasserman told Mulhern politely but firmly that it wasn’t appropriate to change the rules at this stage of the game.

And Wasserman said the rejection by the ARC, was not because the two condominium towers are too tall as some critics suggest.

But Mulhern remained firm, saying the developers had not compromised with the projects critics.

City Councilman Joe Catano enthusiastically backed the project.

Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena was the other opponent on the Council who previously voted against the proposal.

In the end though, the vote was no different than last month’s conclusions. The vote was 4-2, with Saul Sena and Mulhern voting no, and John Dingfelder abstaining due to a conflict of interest.

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