Tampa’s waterfront Rattlesnake Point is for sale; condos and apartments could replace warehouses

TAMPA — Gritty industrial activity could give way to more condos, apartments and townhomes as yet another prime waterfront tract in Tampa hits the market.

Tampa-based Viper Ventures is selling Rattlesnake Point, nearly 31 acres on a peninsula that lies south of Gandy Boulevard and close to the Westshore Marina District master planned community.

With unobstructed views of Old Tampa Bay, the property most likely would be redeveloped for multi-family housing with space for a restaurant, shops and a hotel.

“Hopefully, a developer also will incorporate some sort of esplanade area that the general public can walk along because we have over a half mile of waterfront,” said Trey Carswell of Avison Young, the real estate firm that began marketing the site Monday for an undisclosed price.

The tract currently contains a 67,000-square-foot warehouse used by a boat repair firm and several smaller industrial buildings. A CSX rail line runs along the south edge of the property, which is on Tyson Street across from the popular Hula Bay Club restaurant.

While residents might not want a freight train running nearby, the rail line that goes from Tyson to Tampa’s city center eventually could be part of a regional transportation network.

“Down in Miami there were railways that all of a sudden turned into a commuter train,” noted Michael T. Fay, another Avison Young agent.

The Rattlesnake Point property is just to the west of Westshore Marina District, a 52-acre site where BTI Partners is preparing the infrastructure for as many as 1,250 houses, apartments and townhomes.

Beck Daniels, a BTI vice president, said his company is “really excited” that the nearby tract is for sale. “I know the city wants to activate that waterfront and change that over to something similar to what we are doing,” he said. “Switching away from that industrial use will be great for the entire area.”

The new construction in South Tampa will benefit from major improvements along the Gandy corridor. On the Pinellas County side of the Gandy Bridge, work is nearing completion on an elevated stretch that will shoot motorists over busy Fourth Street N. On the Tampa side, a two-mile extension of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway is expected to reduce traffic at the congested intersection of Gandy and West Shore boulevards by 30 percent.

Meanwhile, Tampa’s L. M. Hughey Company is selling its Tampa Bay Marina complex and the adjacent Mariner Square just off 1-275 between Kennedy Boulevard and the upscale Beach Park neighborhood of South Tampa. The 16 acres, which now contain office buildings, potentially could be used for residences too.

Tampa Bay’s strong employment and population growth is attracting developers from outside the area, especially South Florida where “high land and construction prices limit profitability on many mixed-used projects,” Fay said. “Tampa has untapped opportunities… at price points that make redevelopment profitable.”