Despite the objections of some in the neighborhood, the NAPA Auto Parts at 5206 N Florida Ave. is nearing completion.
ABC Capital Corp. of South Tampa owns the property and is leasing it to NAPA. Gary Cohen, co-president of ABC, said the store should open “within the next few weeks.”
The former U.S. Postal Service Seminole Heights Branch will serve as both a retail store and distribution warehouse. The old loading dock out back has been enclosed, Cohen said, plus an additional 1,600 square feet have been added to create warehouse space from which the store will supply area car repair businesses.
Local residents voiced concerns about whether the property will have adequate parking for this business. While there's only eight parking spaces in front of the store, there's about another 32 spaces behind the building along an alley-like extension of the property that stretches behind neighboring Faedo's Bakery and opens on West Crest Avenue.
“It's part of their site plan,” said Tom Snelling, director of growth management for the City of Tampa. “There is no parking issue.”
But a larger theme in the discord is what some in the community see as NAPA's incongruity with this particular part of Florida Avenue. It's located in the heart of Seminole Heights' resurgent retail and restaurant scene. New businesses Microgroove record store, Cleanse Apothecary, Refinery restaurant, Cappy's Pizzeria, The Independent bar and cafe, Forever Beautiful Salon and Day Spa, and Sherry's Yesterdaze Vintage Clothing and Antiques are all within a four-block stretch of NAPA. Red Star Rock Bar will open soon next door to the auto parts store.
But ABC's Cohen disagrees with the opposition and said that NAPA is appropriate for this location. “Most of NAPA's business,” he said, “is supplying auto parts and repair shops. And there are quite a few repair shops in that part of the city.”
Do you think this NAPA is compatible or incompatible with this part of the neighborhood? Tell us in the comments.