By Matt Wiley
New development could be coming to the Tampa Technology Park West Development of Regional Impact (DRI), also known as Tampa Palms Area 8, as a recent zoning change could spark new interest in a long-underdeveloped area next to the Marriott SpringHill Suites Hotel and Tampa Palms Professional Park.
According to documents submitted to the City and transcripts, from the June 6 Tampa City Council meeting, Council members voted unanimously to approve a Notice of Proposed Change from developer Great American Corporation, which owns 12 acres of the 126-acre DRI, located off of Commerce Park Blvd. between I-75 and Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd., on Primrose Lake Cir.
The zoning change is from PD-A (Planned Development-Alternative: commercial, office, hotel, high tech, light industrial and government services) to PD-A (commercial, office, hotel, high- tech, light industrial, government services and congregate living facility), but it would allow for not only for the conversion of already available office or commercial square footage into an assisted living facility and/or a skilled nursing facility, but also for an increase to the number of hotel rooms on the parcel. Before the zoning change, the property was approved for 127 hotel rooms, but has been modified to allow as many as 300. And, if an assisted living facility and/or a skilled nursing facility is built, they will be allowed no more than 150 beds each on the site.
The change also alters the amount of space that any development would have to be from buffering wetland conservation areas in some places, but that distance would be made up for in other areas. Originally, areas on the site were supposed to sit 15 feet from wetlands, but the rezoning has changed the restriction to 10 feet in specific areas, although the space lost will be added to other parts of the property. The property will still average a setback of 30 feet from wetlands in total.
The rezoned section of the DRI was originally part of the Tampa Technology Park (TTP) DRI that was initially approved by the City in 1986, with more than 1,700 acres of mixed use land featuring commercial office, light industrial and high technology development. In 1991, the DRI was split into Tampa Technology Park East and West, separated by I-75. The TTP East DRI includes the Highwoods Preserve Corporate Campus on the other side of I-75, as well as the Richmond Place and West Meadows residential communities. In addition to Tampa Palms Area 8, the TTP West DRI also includes Tampa Palms Areas 3 & 4.