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South Tampa News

Housing, retail planned for Without Walls property

Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 08:19 AM

Officials at Without Walls International Church have a pending sales contract with developers who plan to build apartments, restaurants and shops on the church's property.

The beleaguered ministry has struggled in recent years with its finances, including a $12.5 million mortgage and a dwindling membership.

The proposed 557 apartments, if approved, would be built in two phases. The first construction of Grady Avenue Apartments would be completed in winter of this year; the second in winter 2014.

The prospective buyer is West Palm Beach-based The Richman Group of Florida. The company has filed an application to rezone the property. A public hearing is scheduled for April 11.

Two four-story apartment buildings would have parking garages, shared courtyards, a swimming pool and a club house, according to city records filed with Tampa's growth management department.

About 2.5 acres of church property fronting Columbus Drive would be developed with restaurants and shops.

Pastor Randy White could not be reached for comment. In July, he told a reporter that church officials planned to sell the administrative building for about $4.4 million, with a closing anticipated within 60 days.

A sign is posted in front of the church at 3860 E. Columbus Dr. announcing a pre-demolition public auction for the administrative building at 10 a.m. Jan. 15.

The Richman Group has developed several East Tampa apartment complexes in recent years, including Meridian Pointe, Brandywine and Grande Oaks, which lease apartments based on a renters' income and a sliding fee scale.

The apartments planned for the Without Walls' property would be upscale and market rate, said Michael Horner, who represents the parties involved at April's public hearing.

TAMPA 813-259-7652