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What Do You Wish Were Here?

The gloomy high-rise once housed banks and churches, one of them infamous.

Though its name is still emblazoned across the top, the Tampa Bay Tabernacle has moved on from the gloomy, monolithic high-rise looming over Sulphur Springs. 

Before the Tabernacle, the building at 715 E Bird St. was home to Greater Ministries, a church that found infamy in 1999 when federal investigators indicted its leaders on charges tied to a $448 million swindle of its followers. This 2001 Naples News article summarized the story and the sentencing of the church leaders. 

But much of its history was also spent as a bank building, and also housing Florida Department of Corrections offices. 

Today, it sits vacant and derelict in stark contrast to its neighbors, the reinvigorated and Sulphur Springs Pool, and the soon-to-open . 

What would you like to see here? Tell us in the comments. 

Brenda March 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Wouldn't it be a tribute to Sulphur Springs to rebuild something similar to the old Shopping Arcade? After attending the Sunday Market at HHS this past weekend, I am positive that the neighborhood and surrounding areas would support it!
Michael Canning March 17, 2012 at 12:49 PM
An intriguing idea from Brenda, who is referring to the old arcade that opened in 1926 during Sulphur Springs' heyday. Taking up a city block and containing the Sulphur Springs Hotel and Apartments, post office, and several stores, it was dubbed as America's first mall, and cited by "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" as a "City Under One Roof." Go to http://www.dasstudio.net/sulphur-springs-hotel.htm to see some old photos of the Arcade, which was demolished in 1976 to make parking spaces for the Tampa Greyhound track. I'm curious Brenda - what did you glean at the Sunday Market that convinced you that the neighborhood would support such a concept?
Robert March 19, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Yes, an exact replica of the old "spring arcade". There was a 5 & 10 store there that Mom & I would get Bday suppies. Since the dogtrack is closed (?) it would be a great plus of the pool & area.

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