Ten years later, downtown Oldsmar town home project back on track

City officials and members of the Becklund family, including dad Steve and son Victor (with shovels) at the ground breaking ceremony of the Washington Park Village town home project in downtown Oldsmar on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.

Back in 2005, Steve Becklund had plans to construct a 15-unit town home development near downtown Oldsmar.

But then the recession hit, and Becklund was forced to scrap the project and return down payments, leaving the project all but dead.

Fast forward to 2017 and the Washington Park Village project back on track, as members of the Becklund family participated in a ground-breaking ceremony with city officials on Tuesday at the site of the development, located on the northeast corner of St. Petersburg Drive and Park Boulevard.

Washington Park Village will feature eight 3-story units and seven 2-story units.

The ceremony, held in the sweltering midsummer heat, marked the official revival of the project, which will see eight 3-story units and seven 2-story units constructed on a vacant parcel on the northeast corner of Park Boulevard and St. Petersburg Drive East.

“We sat down with City of Oldsmar officials more than 10 years ago and discussed working to extend the Town Center Commercial Neighborhood (TCCN) district to loop around into Park,” Victor Becklund, who is serving as the spokesperson for the project, said.

“We thought it was a great area within walking distance to downtown that would provide a great live/work environment for our residents.”

Becklund said they worked on the project for two years, but after the crash, they were forced to back off their plans.

“We returned five deposits when the economic crash hit,” he said.

“We told everyone we’re not going to build now,” Steve Becklund added.

A few years ago, the Becklunds decided to revive the project, though they soon realized there had been many changes to codes and regulations since they last worked with the city.

A rendering of the office style floor plan for one of the Washington Park Village town home units. (Credit: Washington Park Village.com)

“Since 2005/2006 many codes and regulations have changed,” Marie Dauphinais, Oldsmar’s director of planning & redevelopment, said via email.

“For example, currently, building permit applications are reviewed against the 2014 edition of the Florida Building Code. The applicant was required to meet the new codes/requirements.”

Dauphinais said approximately nine years after the project was initially approved, the City Council approved a new site plan for Washington Park Village in 2015.

“Recently, a permit for the infrastructure of Phase 1 of the project as well as a permit for one building, containing two units was issued,” she said.

The revitalization of the project also nicely coincides with the planned development of the downtown district, making the Becklunds’ vision from a decade ago even timelier.

“Washington Park Village is all about the ability to have home or office or commercial space near downtown,” Victor Becklund said, noting the 3-story units will be 2,445 square feet and cost $419,000 while the 2-story units will be 1,941 square feet and go for $329,000.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

“We think it’s really going to fit in nicely with the new development planned for the downtown area.”

City officials concurred.

“I think it’s great,” Mayor Doug Bevis said after the ceremony. “I’m glad to see it back on track.”

“I think it goes well with the new homes across the street and the town homes at the southwest entrance of the city and the revitalization of the Woodlands Square Plaza. I think all these projects are great for the community.”

“We are very happy with the progress of the project,” Daupinais said.

“I think that once the project is completed it will be a beautiful addition to the housing options in the City.”

According to Victor Becklund, the project will be done in two phases: phase one will consist of two duplexes containing four units, plus parking, at the front of the property, while phase two will consist of the other 11 units, plus additional parking an infrastructure work.

The property at the northeast corner of Park Boulevard and St. Petersburg Drive in downtown Oldsmar will soon be home to the 15-unit Washington Park Village town home development.

He said they hope to have phase one complete in 10 months, and after those units are sold, they will move into phase two, even if they have to fund it themselves.

Right now, the Becklunds are just happy the project is back on track.

“This about a local family liking the area and wanting to reinvest and revitalize the community,” Victor Becklund said.

“It’s really incredible how it’s all turned out.”

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