Temporary Plans: Parking on New Land Tract Purchase

UT still has no definitive plan for the property housing the former Valencia Garden Restaurant.

However, they have decided to use a portion of the property for commuter parking.

“We have not yet developed long term plans for the property,” said Eric Cardenas, Director of Public Information.

Construction has begun on the commuter parking only area and it is expected to be finished in six weeks according to Bill Neyland, UT’s Senior Project Manager.

Many former patrons of the Valencia Garden Restaurant were concerned about UT’s future plans of the structure citing the painted murals and artwork.

Neyland said that the previous owners took everything out of the building.

“There is no historical value left,” Neyland said.

UT officials have still not decided how the building will be used.

“The university understands it needs classroom space and are looking into it,” Neyland said.

Cardenas said that the building on the corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Brevard may be used for classroom and office space in the fall.

On June 4, UT acquired approximately 57,760 square feet of the eastern portion of the tract, totaling approximately 130,000 square feet.

The property extends from Kennedy Boulevard on the south, Brevard Avenue on the east, North A Street on the north and North Boulevard on the west.

Originally, UT did not disclose the name of the company that helped them purchase the tract.

It was reported later that it was the Bailey Family Foundation. The same foundation awarded with the

Champion of Higher Independent Education in Florida (C.H.I.E.F) Award at the commencement ceremony in May.

The Bailey Foundation has been a long time supporter of UT, helping with such projects as the R.K Bailey Arts Studios and the Bailey Student Investment Fund.

Eventually, the title for the property which the foundation holds will become UT’s.

The Global Message sent out in early June did not specify how UT would use the property but that it would address academic and other space needs currently and in the future.

“Development would be consistent with University design and use standards that have already taken place on campus and along the Kennedy Boulevard corridor,” the message said.

The Valencia Garden Restaurant has been the scene for many Tampa politicians and business people since it opened in 1927.

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