An ambitious plan to build a huge shopping, office and housing complex on top of an old landfill in St. Petersburg has been scrapped, the developers acknowledged Tuesday.
A group called Florida Gateway Development I LLC had proposed buying the Toytown landfill along Interstate 275 from Pinellas County. There, it planned as many as 2,100 housing units, up to 1.5 million square feet of shops and restaurants and up to 2 million square feet of office space.
Florida Gateway Development I was comprised of Industrial Realty Group of Los Angeles and Bear Creek Capital of Cincinnati.
However, Pinellas County leaders hadn't heard from the developers recently and began having doubts about the project.
On Tuesday, Pinellas County's economic development department got official word that the developers were pulling the plug. Bill Tippmann, a consultant working for the developers, sent a letter to Pinellas County saying economic conditions hadn't improved enough for the developers to keep making the necessary commitments to keep the project alive.
Florida Gateway Development I was facing a July 1 deadline to put up a $350,000 deposit on the Toytown land.
Tippmann did not return calls from The Tampa Tribune in recent days.
The Pinellas County Commission is expected to talk about what to do with Toytown at its July 12 meeting. An unnamed company from Germany has proposed building a solar energy field in Pinellas County, possibly at Toytown, said Mike Meidel, the county's economic development director.
However, Meidel said the Toytown site may be too valuable for a solar field alone.
“I personally don't see it as highest and best use for that property,” he said.
Some people have suggested building a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays at Toytown, even though it never got past the hypothetical stage. Any stadium developer probably also would want to build a larger retail complex, so that sports fans could visit nearby shops and restaurants, Meidel said.