Demolition of Goodrich buildings paves way for development of downtown Oldsmar

The recent demolition of more than 40,000-square-feet of buildings known as the Goodrich property paves the way for the long-awaited development of downtown Oldsmar.

The recent demolition of more than 40,000-square-feet of property known as the Goodrich buildings paves the way for the long-awaited development of downtown Oldsmar.

The last of more than 40,000 combined square feet worth of property near City Hall was demolished earlier this week, paving the way for the long-planned development of Oldsmar’s downtown district.

The work, which began in late April, razed the Goodrich buildings, a complex comprised of several structures that was home to Goodrich Lighting Systems, an aerospace lighting company; downsizing forced the closure of the Fairfield Street facility in 2011.

With the two-and-a-half-acre parcel soon to be empty, city officials can move forward with the latest iteration of the downtown development plan that’s being spearheaded by Tampa architect Francisco Semsch and Oldsmar developer John Bews; the project was given the green light by the City Council in February.

The Goodrich property consisted of several vacant buildings along State Street between Fairfield Street and Washington Avenue in downtown Oldsmar.

“This is a great next step that will allow us to start with a clean slate,” Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis told Oldsmar Connect by phone this week.

“Just like imagining a house in a different color, it was hard to envision what that property would look like without those buildings there,” he added. “I think it’s really going to help us allow people to envision what the potential is for that site. It will help to visually see what property is there.”

Bevis said some parties have already expressed interest in the project, and the new development plan is moving forward.

“The site plan should come before (the council) in mid-June, so people can look at what we’re doing,” he said, noting the city will most likely set up a website to track the progress of the project.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

Following a string of stops and starts over the past decade, Oldsmar officials got serious about bringing a $50 million dollar mixed-used development to the downtown district in February 2016, when it partnered with USF architecture and design students to come up with a new vision for the project.

Although questions were raised about certain aspects of their plans, the council members ultimately heaped praise on the students for many elements that were incorporated into the final designs.

“I love the way you guys broke it all apart, but tied all the different aspects of our city together—the waterfront, the library, State Street,” Bevis told the group during the council meeting on May 3, 2016.

“I never expected to have 100 percent of everything. That would be a pipe dream. But now we have something visual that maybe we can take to partners…that might be interested in buying into the idea, because now we’ve got a bigger vision.”

The latest concept features restaurant, residential, hotel, office, retail and park “modules” and emphasizes walkability and connectivity to the rest of downtown as well as to the city’s waterfront parks.

This conceptual design of downtown Oldsmar’s latest development project, created by architect Francisco Semsch and developer John Bewes, was recently approved by the City Council. Credit: FSA, Inc./Bews Design Group.

The project is expected to encompass all the land surrounding City Hall, from the intersection of State Street and SR 580 up to Washington Avenue, save for a small slice of private property city officials have been unable to reach an agreement with the owner on.

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