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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.