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Several Sites Around Largo Are Better Suited For Chase Bank

Chase Bank has other options that are best suited for the bank instead of West Bay Drive.

My real estate office is located in the 801 West Bay building, which the parking lot is the planned site for this location of the recently approved Chase Bank.

About 1/3 of the parking lot will be usurped by the proposed Chase building. On most days that parking lot is difficult to get a space that is a reasonable distance to the door.

Wells Fargo has approximately 20 reserved spots for their patrons. And because no one want to walk a full city block to the building entrance, many tenants and non-bank patrons park in those reserve spots. Also the building is not fully rented and marketing efforts are pushing the occupancy which will increase our demand on spaces in the near future.

I believe there are better suited sites than this proposed corner. Chase is already located in the adjoining strip mall directly west of this site. It used to be another bank that was bought out by Chase.

It's  a newer construction plaza as well, built within the past 5 years. If they have traffic issues now, they'll have traffic issues a football field closer to the light. Their employees park in the adjacent Publix Plaza lot now.

If it's size they need, there is a full city block for sale on the north side of West Bay between 5th & 6th St NW that is prime for development and, I believe, better traffic flow if they plan direct drive thru access from West Bay Dr.

There is a bank property for sale at the corner of 8th Ave SW and Clearwater-Largo Rd and has been for quite some time. Were these sites considered as an alternative? If not, why not?

On the average day, I look out of my 2nd floor office window to the entrance of the plaza on Clearwater-Largo Road and the direct intersection of West Bay Drive. Mornings and afternoons are over crowded with several factors:

  1. Mildred Helms Elementary has a high pedestrian attendance of students living on the north side of West Bay Dr. Within the past year, I've witnessed 3 pedestrians struck by vehicles entering and exiting the property, one of which involved a student.
  2. It's almost impossible to make a left turn out of the plaza onto Clearwater-Largo Road unless you hit the right traffic pattern. Many times this forces a queue of cars trying to make a right or left and congestion just trying to get out 1 of 2 exits for the 801 and 857 West Bay plaza. The number of accidents, near accidents is too numerous to count. The sounds of horns and squealing tires is almost white noise.
  3. The travel time with all of the lights from the Largo Medical to Highland is on average 10 minutes (7 lights total)! Obviously more during peak drive time. No ways about it even with the city's attempts in the past year of correcting the light timers to ease traffic flow. That portion of the downtown corridor is a bottleneck where once you pass Missouri westbound, we go from 3 lanes to 2 lanes and god forbid a train comes through or the quite frequent emergency vehicles with the Fire Station and Hospital within that stretch of 1 mile.

I know the Planning and Development department has strived to make suggestions to businesses coming into the area of best locations, statistical data, etc., on selling Largo and this area in particular since it is a redevelopment district, but this is not a well played or planned site considering the city has a piece of property that would suffice.

Just sayin'.

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JoAnne Reinhart February 13, 2013 at 01:51 PM
The site that Chase Bank was granted to build a building on is a ridiculous choice and should be reconsidered!!! Why did the Planning and Development Department even consider such a choice? This is a very busy intersection and this decision will only add to the dangerous situations that already exist! There are so many vacant buildings and strip centers, why weren't they considered? This idea needs to be reconsidered because it will be an EYESORE if this big bank decides that is was a poor place to put a building. Did anyone look at the Belcher and East Bay intersection, where a bank, or another business built a building, now it is a shoe store? It is an EYESORE!!!!! That is what happens when there is too much "government" control/decisions. "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is a form of insanity!"
Roy K. McGinnis February 13, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Sounds like somebody is more concerned about their own parking than they are about a new building being constructed. JoAnne: I live near the present and future sites of ChaseBank, they are my bank of choice and having it remain convenient to my home is important to me. I am for the bank's decision, I use a bank a lot more often than I do a realtor. If you don't think all these unending drug stores are a true blight on our community panorama you haven't been paying attention.
Terri February 13, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Crazy traffic already. I like the idea of the closed Bank building at 8th and Clw Largo rd. by the way. The building at Belcher and East Bay use to be a shoe store. Now it's a Chase Bank
Becky Paone February 13, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Hi Roy, it is about parking. All businesses along the whole West Bay corridor is struggling with parking. The building at 801 West Bay has 8 floors of professional businesses and not just real estate agents. There are quite of few people who do work out of that building and are concerned about the parking, even without the construction of Chase. There is also the opinion of Wells Fargo which, if they were smart, would have had an exclusivity agreement in their lease. I know that the property manager of the building and owner of the building are meeting with tenants to discuss the situation. By law, there are so many spaces needed for the amount of sq ft per building - that's first and foremost. Also so many handicapped accessible spots, exclusive (reserved) lease agreement spots, tenants spots and those customers/patrons who use the services of tenants in the building. Whether or not the public is using our real estate office, psychologists, the Air Force Recruiter, the accounting firms, the attorneys, or other businesses, there are people that need a place to park. Anytime you have a business, you need to consider parking, traffic, visibility, viability, demographics, socio-economics, and need. The options I spoke of are only an addition 3 blocks maximum. So the location and proximity to your home is there. Also, its current location is still a location. The local businesses of West Bay Drive have battled parking issues for years and still do today. It's never ending.
Lisa February 13, 2013 at 11:32 PM
The traffic is crazy and getting worse all the time, McDonalds, no left turn out of it, if you take the side road to turn left now you can't see around the building that's going up right on the sidewalk, small center turn lanes. I live around the corner and can't tell you how many time's I've just missed being creamed by someone. The bank will make that area even worse than it is now

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