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Proposal looks to land sales, vacated leases to help fund new Tampa 'City Center'

One of those properties includes the Tampa Police Department's current headquarters.

TAMPA, Fla. — A section of land in Tampa that currently holds an abandoned warehouse could be transformed into a brand new City Center if its proposal can pass through city council.

A $6.2 million project proposal was brought before Tampa council members on March 4 for the final design of the City Center and the demolition of the abandoned warehouse.

In total, to make the entire vision come to life, city chief financial officer Dennis Rogero says the project could reach over $100 million.

Under the proposed plan the 2512 East Hanna Avenue, 13-acre property would house a 3 story structure with a parking garage, fleet headquarters on-site and a "small footprint" for facilities and maintenance.

The new site would house the following departments: code enforcement, economic development, construction services, minority business development, workforce development and information technology.

All-in-all about 500 city employees would occupy the space.

In addition, officials say they'd be looking to sell the current Tampa Police Department Headquarters at 411 North Franklin Street. A building said to be close to 60 years old and in need of "dire repair" that in itself would cost millions of dollars. 

The new headquarters would be placed just across the railroad tracks from the proposed City Center in what would be a public safety center. Officials say a land swap would secure the spot for the new police headquarters and emergency operations center.

To help bankroll the project, the proposal includes selling several properties, freeing up 17 city-owned acres of land that are developable. The move is said to also free up some of the city's current leases.

Rogero finds the revenue from the vacated properties could supply millions if not tens-of-millions of dollars for the city.

The proposed project is "on a very tight schedule" and "time is of the essence" due to construction, if approved, looking to be complete by March of 2023.

But city council members weren't entirely convinced to approve the amendment to a 2015 contract agreement that would allow the funds to be reallocated from the Old City Hall project to the Hanna Avenue Relocation project. They needed more time and had more questions to be answered.

Including a need to know what will happen to the Tampa Police Department museum and fallen officer memorial, what the project's exact figures are and ensuring the properties bankrolling the proposal are sold to people who won't push out residents kept councilmembers from making a final decision.

To give the city council more time to sit with the proposal and have their questions answered a motion from councilman Bill Carlson was passed to continue the topic for March 18.

10 Tampa Bay has reached out to the mayor's office and Tampa Police Department for comment. This story will be updated as we hear back.

You can watch the entire discussion beginning just over 2 hours into the video below.

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