Nearly 11 acres of the 23-acre Tampa Park Apartments is for sale. Home to many low-income renters, the complex is along Nick Nuccio Parkway in between Ybor City and the northern end of downtown Tampa. JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2017)
TAMPA — A 10.7-acre piece of the Tampa Park Apartments, for years the focus of speculation as a potential site for a baseball stadium and, more recently, as a possible spot for a Brightline train station, is up for sale.
A sales brochure circulating from real estate broker Barbara Whittaker and attorney Tenisha Patterson Brown does not mention an asking price. The property is owned by a nonprofit group led by Florida Sentinel Bulletin newspaper publisher S. Kay Andrews. Other officers of the nonprofit corporation include James Harrell, former president of the Local No. 1402 of the International Longshoremen’s Union.
"We have no comment," Andrews said via text message Friday.
The parcel for sale is part of 23 acres that is home to 372 apartments that have been occupied by as many as 1,200 residents over the years. A little more than a third of those renters have been senior citizens. Many are poor. Many are black.
But the future of the property was put in doubt this summer. After the complex failed its fourth inspection in as many years, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sent letters to about 170 families saying they would be moved and into Section 8 housing starting in August. Federal officials also told the owners that the government would no longer subsidize rents for more than half the complex’s apartments.
Some tenants who told the Tampa Bay Times in July that they had received relocation notices were living in the area that is now for sale.
The sales brochure pitches the property’s proximity to the central business district, Ybor City, the Channel District, land that Port Tampa Bay plans to develop, Water Street Tampa and the proposed Ybor City location for a Tampa Bay Rays baseball stadium. But the ballpark site, several blocks east of the apartments, was taken off the table this week by the Rays, who say it is no longer viable because of unresolved questions about stadium financing.
The complex lies between the northern end of downtown Tampa and Ybor City. It is across Nick Nuccio Parkway from the 7.6-acre GasWorx property owned by investor Darryl Shaw. The Tampa Park Apartment land and buildings that are up for sale have an estimated market value of about $6.26 million, according to the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s Office.
“It’s a great parcel,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. Asked about its potential, he said, “I think mixed use: residential, commercial, maybe activate Nuccio with retail. That parcel in its entirety or half of it represents a huge opportunity for somebody to develop.”
Buckhorn said the city owns a triangular piece of property where Nuccio Parkway and Nebraska Avenue come together, a point just south of the parcel for sale.
“We would be willing to talk to them about putting our portion in the deal,” he said.
The complex is among those scouted as a possible train station site for Brightline, soon to be known as Virgin Trains USA, thanks to an investment from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.
The Miami-based company has proposed launching inter-city rail service from Orlando to Tampa, and recently received state approval to work on lease agreements for the needed right of way along Interstate 4 and other roads. The company typically builds its stations alongside mixed-use development. In South Florida, for example, its MiamiCentral station was built as part of a 1.6 million square foot project with two office towers, two apartment towers and more.
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So far, however, the company has said little more than that it is looking at putting a terminal in or near downtown Tampa.
“We see Tampa as a growing and vibrant area, and we are excited to be a part of its future,” Brightline spokeswoman Ali Soule said in an email to the Times on Friday. “We have evaluated a number of sites in Tampa.”
Contact Richard Danielson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times