Council to Vote on Redevelopment Proposal Sept. 18

The Temple Terrace City Council and developer Vlass Temple Terrace are ending their negotiations with regard to the proposed apartment buildings in the downtown redevelopment area.

on the Temple Terrace downtown redevelopment project was the last that the City Council and developer Vlass Temple Terrace will have regarding the proposed apartment buildings at the site.

Vlass’ attorney, David Smith, told council members that they need to make a final decision on the project.

“I have been advised this is my last workshop, so I will not be attending another workshop,” Smith said. “And I think I know exactly where the council stands. I think you know where we are.”

So, council members will either accept or reject Vlass’ final revised plan at their Sept. 18 meeting. They , a city document that outlines what the developer can and can’t do.

“We have to decide one way or another,” said Temple Terrace Mayor Joe Affronti. “We can’t keep going—it’s been almost a year now.”

The major contention since March has revolved around the first floor of the apartment buildings. The council and many Temple Terrace residents have said they’d like to see retail on the first floor. The Vlass group has said obtaining financing for such construction isn’t possible in today’s market.

Both sides have negotiated, making concessions and revisions.

Vlass and the city still have not come to a consensus on several points, including:

  • what the industry standard is for ceiling heights;
  • how ceiling heights would be measured;
  • Vlass’ marketing obligation to obtain retail tenants on the first floor;
  • how much retail space would be built on the first floor with the option of retrofitting it to residential if retail tenants are not found;
  • how long Vlass would keep spec retail space available;
  • how much parking is adequate;
  • who would maintain common areas; and
  • when the and new library would be built.

Smith said Saturday that he would submit Vlass’ final revised plan to the city by the end of this week.

“What I would propose that we do is that I get you the revision that makes the most changes we can live with,” Smith said.

He asked the council to forgo another workshop and vote up or down on Sept. 18.

“I think what I’m hearing here is that there’s going to be very little change from what you’re proposing now,” Affronti said to Smith at the end of Saturday’s workshop.

“That’s correct,” Smith replied.

Should the city acquiesce to the developer’s final proposal? Tell us in the comments.

See also:

Lucinda Johnston September 05, 2012 at 10:49 AM
No! It's time for a new city council, a new mayor and a new developer. Send Vlass packing and have him take his statue with him.
Stuart Barr September 05, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Amen to Lucinda Johnston's comment. That says it all.
David M. Long September 05, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Vlass was given the property with full knowledge of the requirements of the MDA. While some negotiation is acceptable, they are trying to change the whole New Urbanist concept that our community envisioned from the beginning. Anyone can come build apartments and strip center. Either they follow the MDA or thay can leave.
Pam Devoid September 05, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Thank you Lucinda, Stuart and David, What Vlass is trying to do is get something done prior to our new Mayor, City Manager and Council taking office because it is obvious where the candidates stand on this issue. This is our one and only opportunity to make our city something others will envy. Vlass has no vision of our dream, our wants nor our needs. Too much time, effort and money has gone into this project to settle, we must hold strong and put faith in our new council and Mayor that will take office in November, they will realize our dream. It is about life and vitality for our city, not broken dreams and promises which is all Vlass has left to offer. Believe in the dream, fight for our dream for our city and anything is possible. I was in Riverview and Wesley Chapel this week both with an overwelming amount of construction both Residential and Commercial taking place, the opportunity is there, Vlass just has no drive left in them to persue what we will someday accomplish. That being said, support those who will make things happen and fight bullies like Vlass, my votes go to Chillura, Rimbey and Vance.
JS September 05, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Why were the points listed above not negotiated in the original contract? Who maintains commons areas? Parking? the Library? Really? Not settled before you hand the land over? This one short story shows what a terrible job the Mayor, City Council and our paid government officials did in negotiating this project in the first place. If you're going to hand 20 plus million dollars in land over to someone for nothing this should all be in writing BEFORE you do it. And it's likely just the tip of the iceberg. Ridiculous.
Sue Davis September 05, 2012 at 02:07 PM
What else can be said than what those above have already stated. Vote no to Vlass' requests! Sue Davis
Temple Terrace resident September 05, 2012 at 02:26 PM
City Council should "at least" demand that the September 1 staff and council recommendations be adhered to. As I mentioned before this project does not rise or fall based on Vlass' involvement. We don't need to continue to be desperate beggars. The fact that we've had a rough time with developers in the past is our own fault - based on a crappy Request for Proposals followed by a rush job Master Developer Agreement. If we need to redo both and find a new developer it's not the end of the world, other developers are out there that don't know about this project, yet. Please at least stay true to the September 1 staff and council recommendations.
Carol Dell September 05, 2012 at 02:36 PM
So far the Redevelopment of Temple Terrace consists of the remodel of the old Sweetbay complex, with a few shops, many of which were relocated from other areas of Temple Terrace, and the request to change to the MDA in the anticipation of building the first NEW BUILDING in the Redevelopment...........an APARTMENT COMPLEX!! This request for changes to the MDA has dragged on too long....is this what is going to happen for every Phase of the development? Are we going to have so many changes to the MDA that when this is all finished we don't even recognize the plan the citizens of Temple Terrace were promised and deserve? Also, it seems that I have heard at least three times that the developer is "going to walk" if certain conditions are not met. Is this going to be the way it is all the way through this project? I also wonder about other issues of concern that we heard earlier in this discussion, but have not heard about lately: the alley for delivery trucks along the east side of the project, the small size of the units, the wood frame construction, the Section 8 possibility, some inconsistence in architectural style, apartment back doors facing Main Street, the fence around the apartments.
JS September 05, 2012 at 02:55 PM
"It has long been a common belief that constructing low rise multifamily dwellings with concrete and masonry is overly expensive when compared to wood. Evidence is now available to put this misconception to rest. " www.cement.org/codes/pdf/FPPR%20No15.pdf Scroll down and compare the insurance costs of wood frame vs. concrete in this document. And this is now Florida 2012. Does Vlass care about insuring the property long term or value long term of the initial construction? H-ll no! they will be long gone dead and buried. Build it cheap, cut and run. Open your eyes Temple Terrace.
Temple Terrace resident September 05, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Great questions.
Joan Staehle September 05, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Send Vlass packing before they make our home values plummet with cheap wooden apartments filling our downtown. Apartments was not our dream for the center of our downtown, and they all know it!! Give our new council members and new mayor the chance to fix this mess after Nov.!
Temple Terrace resident September 05, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Even if this weren't true, it's the perception that wood framed construction is cheap, that's enough. We should build with concrete block for a variety of reasons - insurance rates, concrete block is better for stucco finshed buildings (stucco develops cracks with wood frame), better sound proofing and insulation, greater durability, etc..
Linda Beckman September 05, 2012 at 03:43 PM
My questions to the city and Vlass: 1. How did the term "residences" replace the term "condominiums" and not get noticed by the city's lawyer, when reviewing the contract? 2. Why is the city so concerned about garnering tax revenue from an apartment complex while placing non-revenue producing entities such as an arts education center and new library (which we do not need) squarely in the middle of the redevelopment project? If generating revenue is a priority, why not leave the library where it is and increase retail development? 3. How will "upscale" amenities, such as swimming pools, tennis courts and workout facilities be incorporated into the plans of the apartment complex, considering the size of the property being allocated to the complex? If it is to be considered "upscale," won't any complex need to offer these amenities to attract "upscale" renters? 4. What steps are being taken to address the traffic issues that will result from 230 additional residences ? What will the impact be to Bullard Pkwy and the intersection of 56th St. and Bullard?
Annette Renny September 05, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Yep, send the developer packing, I agree, I believe we can see that Real Estate is moving, we do not need anymore apartments, lets do what we started out to do. Annette
Lucinda Johnston September 05, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I believe that a group of citizens should be standing ready to take this to the courts should our elected officials ignore our very legitimate concerns. Who's in?
Lucinda Johnston September 05, 2012 at 04:26 PM
One more thought...What right does Mr. Smith, the attorney for Vlass have to dictate when our elected officials hold a vote or how many workshops or public hearings we have? I believe the September vote is a last ditch, lame duck effort to get Vlass the deal he wants before the voters have a chance to exercise the only power they have in this situation.
Jamie Robe September 05, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Great story...thank you Patch for covering this important economic and social issue for Temple Terrace. Patch seems like the only place to find out objective information. The only thing I would like to add to the discussion is that everyone (our staff, elected officials, even the developer) should take the next few days and think long-term... the reality is that things put in the ground in Temple Terrace tend to stay put for a long time. I think we should envision what a truely dynamic downtown would be in 20 years, and that should guide us on what to do over the next few weeks. Even the developers would benefit from a true success story, by ending up with a downtown where people from TT and our surrounding communities come to visit, play, work, buy, and live. Getting that MIX is the key. It can't be looked at as "just" this or "just" that. The hard part is creating a functioning and thriving community downtown, not organically but in a planned way. I truly believe that it can still become a vibrant asset to our city. Come on leaders - you CAN find the win-win for us. Go for it!
Carol Dell September 05, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Excellent comments!!!
Mike September 05, 2012 at 05:41 PM
It seems as if the citizens of Temple Terrace have decided they don't want to cave in to Vlass pressure. The concessions Vlass is requesting make the proposed redevelopment far different from the redevelopment plan agreed upon. I can not condemn all the city council members because there are some that are standing up to Vlass. I know there are others on the council ready to approve any concessions in spite of the opinion of the community. I hope any council member who is considering voting to approve Vlass's proposal reads the comments on the patch. I also hope they realize they won't get my vote ever if they bow to Vlass's blackmail.
Temple Terrace resident September 05, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Smith is golfing buddies with the Mayor, guess he feels entitled.
Robyn September 07, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Like many of us, I have a house that has dropped in value by 1/3. I am counting on the redevelopment to help our home values and bring in new blood to Temple Terrace. It does not sound to me that the demands made by the developer will be in our best interest.
Annette Renny September 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Let the developer walk, We did not agree to apartments, that was not what the redevelopment was about, He is only interested in getting in and out, not our city, nor is our Mayor.


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