Tampa Garden Club says Bayshore tower could close facility

Tampa — At its peak in the 1950s, the Tampa Garden Club had over 1,400 members and 20 neighborhood groups.

The club is now down to about 400 members and eight auxiliaries.

“It was tough to keep the lights on,” club president Michele Batallaro said. increase.

But the Tampa Garden Club Board of Directors says its revenue stream is now threatened by a proposed 60-unit, 29-story condominium tower in the neighborhood.

If it goes up, the board is concerned that the noise caused by construction and new resident neighbors may force their 95-year-old institution to shut down.

“People have the right to develop their property,” said club vice-president Paula Meckley. “But when it starts to affect our property, problems arise.”

A rendering of an affiliated group’s proposed condominium on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. [ Courtesy of the Related Group ]

There is an irony in this situation.

The tower was to be built on land sold by Rodev Sholom. Leaders of the 119-year-old synagogue say the deal will allow the synagogue to survive for another 100 years.

Rodeph Shalom owns 2.12 acres of land at 2713 Bayshore Blvd.

They are negotiating to sell the 1.48-acre property to the developer while retaining title to the rest of the land.

“I want the synagogue to survive,” Batalallo said. “What we want is builders who come to our neighborhood and take care of us.”

The board conveyed their concerns to the affiliated group, the developer, but they didn’t seem to care.

“I’ve been personally involved in those conversations,” she said. I don’t know if the idea of ​​ruining their business was ever brought to our attention.”

However, the club insists it could happen.

According to its website, the nonprofit’s mission statement promotes “the development, preservation and improvement of urban landscapes through educational programs and direct financial support to organizations dedicated to environmental conservation and civic improvement.” That’s it.

According to the 2021 non-profit club tax returns available at propublica.org, their annual expenses were $174,567. They earned $188,898 through rentals.

“We should start telling brides that when you come here in 2024, they might have stakes next to them,” Vatallaro said. “They have cranes.” maybe.”

The Tampa Garden Club's backyard is available for event rentals.
The Tampa Garden Club’s backyard is available for event rentals. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
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The board understands that construction is inevitable, either via the proposed tower or something else. Their main concern is the constant noise after the tower is completed and they have new neighbors.

Plans include outdoor pickleball on the 4th floor facing the club grounds.

“There will be a pastoral wedding,” said Vatararo. “Are there language codes when they play?”

The board is concerned that rents will slow to the point where they can no longer pay their bills. Mandel said he shouldn’t worry.

The condo property is directly adjacent to the club’s parking lot. Rodev Shalom continues to be a direct neighbor in his space at Events.

“We’re talking 4,700 to 8,400 square foot units priced in the $2 million, $3 million and $4 million range,” Mandell said. “We’re not talking about a group of people trying to throw a naked pool party. Keep in mind they’re next to the synagogue.”

The bridal room at the Tampa Garden Club.
The bridal room at the Tampa Garden Club. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Affiliated groups are already discussing ways to accommodate Rodev Shalom during the service, she said, and would be happy to do the same with the Tampa Garden Club.

The Club is also concerned that relevant groups are asking the City to change the future land use category of property from allowing up to 35 homes per acre to allowing up to 83 homes per acre. doing. 111 units. The club board said it would fight to prevent it.

“It’s not our intention to build anything that large,” Mandel said.

A painting of the first Tampa Garden Club in the groom's room at the Tampa event venue.
A painting of the first Tampa Garden Club in the groom’s room at the Tampa event venue. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

“We’ve always wanted to be good neighbors and hope our neighbors want the same,” said Batalaro. “We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, but if you’re in a room with six people, it’s possible that someone who attended a wedding here is her two, or her parents or a friend got married here.” There will be people, everyone has memories of this club.”

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