Lawyers, Hooters And A Billionaire

* Look who’s moving into the neighborhood — a bunch of lawyers — and the neighbors couldn’t be happier.

It’s what happens when the Solomon Tropp Law Group replaces Club Atlanta at the corner of Kennedy and Fremont. It’s what happens when North Hyde Park neighbors are no longer held hostage to early morning noise, public urination and the occasional murder.

Once City Council scissors some zoning red tape, the Solomon Tropp Law Group should begin renovations this summer.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Planning Organization has accepted a plan to spiff up Kennedy with landscaping, ornamental lights and benches. Not everything will happen to everyone’s satisfaction because scarce tax dollars are involved. But at least one Kennedy corridor neighborhood already feels beautified.

* In fits and starts, the Channelside entertainment complex has been making incremental progress in realizing its considerable potential. It certainly hasn’t lacked for key pieces of the puzzle. But the commercial mix, a constant exercise in tinkering and market chemistry, keeps falling shy of its mark.

What the $45-million complex isn’t missing are cruise ships, a trolley line, restaurants or an Imax theater.

But what has been missing is the one obvious element Channelside has long needed to bring in that critical mass of visitor-customers: a Hooters.

Now one is finally on the way.

* High-end retail. A world acclaimed airport. Luxury cruise liners. A Super Bowl champion. Plans for a new art museum. What additional signs are there that Tampa just may have “arrived”? Well, there’s now the $4-million tear-down.

That’s approximately what billionaire Mitchell Rales paid for that eye-catching, waterfront, Italian villa mansion on Davis Islands. Plus nearly $2 million for an adjacent property. Both will be bulldozed to make room for a more modern manse.

Not everyone, presumably, is pleased. Ironically, Rales is the co-founder of Danaher Corp., a hostile takeover specialist.

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