Proposed St. Pete Drive town home project suffers setback

The “six-plex” units of the proposed town home development on St. Petersburg Drive near downtown Oldsmar. A recent merger between home builders forced the project developer, Oldsmar Towns LLC, to find a new builder, which led to a request for an extension of the purchase agreement. (City of Oldsmar)

A developer planning to build a 50-unit town home community next to the Oldsmar Public Library asked the Oldsmar City Council for an extension of the purchase and sale agreement after the original builder backed out.

Tony Tanico, owner of the Palm Harbor based Oldsmar Towns, LLC, told the council on Tuesday, Feb. 20, that a merger between two mammoth US home builders, Lennar and CalAtlantic, derailed his deal with CalAtlantic to build the St. Petersburg Drive complex.

He said at the time he was hopeful his project would still be picked up by the controlling company, Lennar, but he recently learned that wouldn’t be the case.

Developer Tony Tanico of Oldsmar Towns, LLC.

“Up until maybe three weeks ago, they were on board,” Tanico said, adding officials for “the larger purchasing company were in the offices of the smaller company, and we thought everything was a go, until the day it wasn’t.”

In requesting a 90-day extension of the agreement, which was approved—with much rancor—in November, Tanico said he is currently working with a new builder and hopes to have a contract finalized soon.

“We’re working on a contract with a builder,” he said. “They are another large, national home builder. We have worked with them in the past, and we have every confidence this will move forward as quickly as possible.”

While he admitted changes will have to be made to the elevation of the units due to proprietary issues, Tanico assured officials the deal didn’t fall through due to the original design concept.

A conceptual drawing of the preliminary site plan for the proposed 50-unit town home development on St. Petersburg drive near downtown Oldsmar. (Credit: City of Oldsmar)

“I don’t think it’s representative of the project,” he said of Lennar’s decision not to move forward with the Oldsmar Towns project.

“I do think it’s representative of the larger builder’s business model.”

Prior to voting on the item, City Attorney Tom Trask informed the council that any changes to the project would trigger another round of approvals from the planning board as well as the council.

“Any amendment to the development agreement require two public hearings,” he said, noting “it would be as if we’re approving the development agreement from the beginning.”

A developer plans to build a 50-unit town home community on four acres next to the Oldsmar Public Library.

Despite Tanico’s assurance that the revised project would remain compliant with the architectural standards of the Town Center Code, one local lawmaker expressed doubt about the strength of the original concept.

“I’m just kinda sad that this wasn’t put together strong enough to walk on its own two feet,” Council member Jerry Beverland, who vehemently argued against the project when it was approved in November Beverland, said.

“They walked away for a purpose.”

Tanico admitted “they did,” but he noted the project is “a bit of a unique product” featuring rear-loaded town homes, and because of that, they were less inclined to continue with it.

Jerry Beverland.

“It’s still going to be a quality project, it’s still going to be all those things we said it was from day one,” he said.

“Will it have the same elevation? No. Will it be something that comes in front of you for your approval? Absolutely.”

Beverland then asked, “What’s gonna happen after 90 days? Are you gonna come back here and ask for another extension?”

“No. That’s not our intent,” Tanico replied, noting he hopes to be back before the council for a first reading of the revised plan sometime in May.

With that, the council voted 4-1 in favor of the extension, with Beverland voicing the lone ‘no’ vote.

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