The name of the game when it comes to the Temple Terrace downtown redevelopment project is working together.
That’s the consensus the City of Temple Terrace and developer Vlass Temple Terrace came to at the most recent City Council meeting Jan. 15.
“We understand that plans will require tweaking along the way, but it’s got to be a two-way street,” Temple Terrace Mayor Frank Chillura told Vlass representative Mark Sneed. “…We will try to work together the best we can.”
Sneed, the Vlass partner responsible for securing retail tenants, agreed that cooperation between his group and the city will be a win-win.
“I think it’s really important that we have a unified front as we go out there together into the world,” Sneed said. “And, look, there’s nothing more important to me than this project.”
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It’s a fresh perspective on the downtown redevelopment project, which has been at a standstill since last March after the city denied Vlass’ proposal to build a 214-unit apartment complex at the northeast corner of the site. For the rest of 2012, the two sides butted heads during related discussions and have yet to come to an agreement about the residential portion of the project.
However, since Chillura was elected in November, the city and Vlass seem to be focusing more on the planned Arts Center instead of the residences. In December, Chillura told the council he and City Manager Kim Leinbach had a “productive” meeting with the Vlass group and that both sides have common goals.
“I’m encouraged that we are going to try a new beginning,” said David Smith, Vlass’ attorney, at the Jan. 15 council meeting. “…We share your commitment to get this project up and running, and turn the corner in moving forward.”
To that end, Sneed told the council that the Vlass group has submitted new ideas on the project’s residential portion and that Vlass has signed a lease agreement with the Burger King located at the corner of Bullard Parkway and 56th Street to move to the northeast corner of 56th Street and Chicago Avenue. The lease is contingent upon Burger King’s ability to get building permits and construct a building.
Sneed said Vlass is also negotiating with a “significant” medical tenant, although he declined to give a specific name. That tenant would move in close to the planned Arts Center in a building that has not yet been constructed.
“A medical component is a very good component to have in a mixed use project, and I think they would be great for your community, as well,” Sneed said. “So, we’ll keep pursuing that and try to close that deal down.”
Chillura and council members thanked Sneed for his time and reiterated that they look forward to continuing the working relationship.
“I think we’re all excited about moving this project, getting it in gear, and moving it forward,” Chillura said.
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