It doesn’t seem like four years ago that we all heard about the old Georgetown Apartments being purchased for a new waterfront community in South Tampa off of Westshore Blvd. Fast forward to 2009 and the apartments are still there and the property is in foreclosure.
I remember taking clients out showing property and saying “can you believe someone bought that site for 125m”? At the time, there were plenty of stories just like that, with speculators lined up to purchase some of the last waterfront properties in Tampa. NewPort Tampa Bay was another project not too far from the Georgetown Apartments that you may also remember.
This was the headline in an article published January 7, 2006
TAMPA – Another boating community is coming to South Tampa.
Developers plan to replace the 624-unit Georgetown Apartments with 1,249 homes, including 90 canalfront houses with boat docks and 99 community boat slips, according to documents filed with the city. The name was The WESTSHORE BEACH CLUB!
Now that property is being foreclosed on and the City of Tampa has an opportunity to purchase it….
TAMPA — Conservationists want to take advantage of tanking real estate values to buy prime waterfront property in South Tampa.
Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio asked the nonprofit Trust for Public Land to put together a proposal to purchase the old Georgetown Apartments property on West Shore Boulevard after learning the 160-acre property was in foreclosure.
“We have this opportunity because of the economy. It will not come around again,” Iorio said. “And here’s something that’s right in the urban core that could be a beautiful environmental site for our residents.
“ Developers bought the land in 2005 for $125 million, with plans to replace the 600-unit apartment complex with more than 1,200 homes. Iorio said she turned to the Trust for Public Land because the organization can move quickly with a purchase. If the deal goes through, the half of the property that fronts West Shore Boulevard could still be developed at about the same density it is now, and the portion on Tampa Bay could be purchased by the county’s Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program.
That would require approval of the Hillsborough County Commission. Commissioner Rose Ferlita likes the idea. “We need another ELAPP piece of property in the city,” she said. “A little bit of development in the front, a little ELAPP in the back. It’s a win-win.” Since its creation in 1987, ELAPP, funded by county property taxes, has made possible the purchase of 44,700 acres of beaches, woods, swamps and grasslands throughout Hillsborough County. But most of that is in unincorporated parts of the county. “Something like this will be so well received by the South Tampa people,” said Ferlita, who was on the Tampa City Council when plans to redevelop Georgetown were announced.
“In this case maybe the economy did something positive for that community.”Greg Chelius, director of the Trust for Public Land’s Florida operations, said he hopes Bank of America and the other financial institutions involved will give the conservation group special consideration before putting the property on the auction block. “We don’t want preferential treatment in the way of price, but it would be nice to work with them prior to it going out to a nationwide bid,” he said.
Chelius said the Georgetown story isn’t unique. All across the country, the trust has been finding bargains on distressed properties.
What are your thoughts on the possibility of the City of Tampa purchasing this site? Leave us a comment.
For more information on distressed property in the Tampa Bay area, contact Rae Anna Conforti-Real Estate Agent-Prudential Tropical Realty 813 784 7744