Temple Terrace council approves preliminary plan for arts center
TEMPLE TERRACE - An appreciation for the arts may be what it takes to get the Temple Terrace Downtown Redevelopment Project back on track. The long-sought $150 million town center project inched forward this week when the City Council approved a preliminary site plan for the arts center, the proposed showplace for phase 2 of the project. “That’s a sign of progress,” said Mark Sneed, a partner in the Vlass Temple Terrace development group, after the meeting.The proposed arts center is a 26,800-square-foot building to be built on 1.5 acres between North 56th Street and Arts Center Drive, south of Bullard Parkway. The building, which would house a large theater, several classrooms and space for civic use, would face Arts Center Drive, which is designed to serve as the project’s main street. By a unanimous vote Tuesday, the council approved the preliminary site plan for the arts center building based on a recommendation by city staff. Senior planner Brad Parrish told the council the developer did not object to several conditions of approval, including resubmitting any changes to the landscape and hardscape plans associated with the arts center. The council’s action this week is only a small step in a lengthy process. Vlass has to submit a final site plan for council approval and work with the city to address zoning issues. The city initially received a preliminary site plan in November, Parrish said. City staff members requested changes be made, which were done and resubmitted in January. Council approval was needed to complete that step as part of the project. Plans for the highly-anticipated arts center have been on hold while city leaders and the developer work through differences on other parts of the project, including the addition of apartments and dedicated ground-level space for shops, stores and restaurants. No work has occurred on site since March. A makeover of a Sweetbay and adjacent storefronts near 56th Street and Chicago Avenue were completed as part of phase 1 more than a year ago. The project remains a long way from the 29-acre urban oasis city leaders and residents envisioned. Plans call for a mixed-use development of shops, stores, restaurants, a post office, and housing where people can live, work, entertain and play without having to commute.