TAMPA — A hotel developer that took city officials up on their call to build a hotel at the Ybor City arch has backed off its plans.
Bob McDonaugh, Tampa’s economic development chief, said the Liberty Group has asked to explore other options after expressing interest in the city-owned property at Seventh Avenue and Nuccio Parkway.
Liberty is led by Punit Shah. His company in part of the group developing the Aloft hotel downtown in the former Mercantile Bank building.
“Mr. Shah and I agreed in a conversation to allow him time to investigate other opportunities in Ybor,” McDonaugh said.
City officials put out a call for proposals to build a hotel on a city-owned parking lot. Together with the privately owned former Volunteers of America building facing Eighth Avenue, the two properties would have allowed for a hotel on three-quarters of a city block.
Liberty originally offered the city $650,000 for its property, about a third of a block. Shah told the city Liberty was considering a 70-room hotel.
For now, those plans are on hold.
McDonaugh said the city still hopes to bring a new hotel to Ybor, whether its by Shah’s group or someone else.
“The intent was to attract interest to build a hotel in Ybor and, hopefully, it succeeded,” McDonaugh said.