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Pinellas County agrees to sell old landfill

6:30 PM, Jul 1, 2008   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - Developers say a club that flies radio controlled airplanes at the old Toytown landfill site can keep using this county property for the next couple of years.

But there are big plans for the 240-acre dump just east of I-275 in St. Petersburg.

Pinellas County Commissioners approved a purchase and sale agreement for the Toytown landfill Tuesday, but the deal won't close for at least three years.

Developers want to make sure they can build a mixed-use development on the dump site.

"So at this point we believe it's something we can do and as we go through the process it won't happen unless we're sure we can do it," said Stuart Lichter, President of Industrial Realty Group.

Developers Industrial Realty Group of California and Bear Creek Capital of Ohio say they've built similar projects in Ohio, California and Colorado.

They believe the Toytown landfill is a perfect location for a $1.25-billion development of offices, stores, homes and ball fields.

"We wish it wasn't a landfill, but it is a landfill. What we're buying is the location, the demographics and trying to preserve all the retail sales, taxes and jobs that can stay within the peninsula," said Matthew Daniels, Principal/Managing Member of Bear Creek Capital.

Pinellas County will essentially give the property away, selling the land to developers for $10. But developers will assume other expenses.

Right now, the county spends $750,000 a year maintaining the landfill. That responsibility would shift to developers once the deal closes.

"Oh it's exciting because it takes away expenses and it brings in new money that will be able to provide government services without taxing the citizens," said Mike Meidel, Pinellas County Economic Development Director.

Developers hope the old Toytown dump site will be transformed into a community called the Villages at Gateway Fields, by 2014.

The old Toytown landfill has also been mentioned as a possible location for a new baseball stadium.

Developers say they have not talked with the Tampa Bay Rays, but would be open to the idea if the county supports it.

The Toytown landfill got its name from an old subdivision. It operated as a landfill from 1961 to 1991.

Dave Balut, Tampa Bay's 10 News

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