Before the Great Recession, in April 2006, Starbucks opened at Hillsborough and Central avenues, an event that had the potential to be the most pivotal in the modern history of Seminole Heights.
After Starbucks opened, there was speculation about what would happen to the Leroy's 4X4 Automotive Center next door at 512 E. Hillsborough Ave. It's no secret that in the commercial retail world, everyone wants to be next to a Starbucks, a world-famous blockbuster chain that seems to bring big collateral customer traffic to neighboring businesses no matter where it opens.
Starbucks and the former Leroy's seemed poised to become ground zero in the long-awaited commercial renaissance of Seminole Heights. In 2007, the Leroy's property was bought by a group that includes John Obediente, former co-owner of Sangria's, a popular tapas restaurant from South Tampa's SoHo district that had recently closed due to a dispute with the landlord.
Wet zoning was granted, plans were drawn up, and a sushi bar and pub were also proposed for the property along with the new Sangria's.
Then the recession hit, and plans never got off the ground.
Four years later, the property still sits idle with mounds of construction dirt and a real estate sign in the parking lot.
What would you like to see in this spot? Post a comment below.