For almost two decades, the 13-acre lot at 5145 S. Dale Mabry Highway, which at different times housed a landfill and a jai alai court, sat abandoned between a Walmart and Home Depot in South Tampa.
Now John Lum
, President of Tampa-based List Developers, is aiming to build a multifamily gated community consisting of 300 units -- 140 townhomes and 160 apartments -- on the site.
Lum said he and his partner, ex-Tampa Bay Storm owner Bob Gries, purchased the property a few years ago and poured some $5 million into remediation and excavation projects. Prior to serving as a home to Tampa Jai Alai, the site was a city landfill. Trash and debris were found up to 15 feet underground. Over the past few years, workers dug up and trucked out old out matter from the site, and trucked in 200,000 cubic yards of landfill material.
A $31.52 million new construction financing loan will help Lum and Gries bring the project, Cortona, to fruition. They’ve named the community after the village in Frances Mayes’ novel Under the Tuscan Sun
“There's quite a renaissance going on in that Gandy corridor,” he said, noting that the airport, University of Tampa, and downtown are all within a 20-minute drive.
The property will include two four-story apartment buildings, 20 two-story townhomes, a 6,000-square-foot clubhouse with a pool and recreation room. A two-acre retention pond will be adjacent to the property.
With all the construction in Hyde Park, Harbor Island, and downtown, Lum anticipates many would-be homeowners will be looking for more affordable options. “We'll be a little cheaper than a lot of those place,” he said. Where downtown prices fetch between $2 and $2.30 per square foot, Lum said Cortona’s will be around $1.60 per square foot.
The first townhomes are slated for completion in January 2019. Lum says they hope to move tenants in shortly thereafter.