Monday Morning Memo

Monday, April 1, 2019

Member Spotlight: USF Selects Steven Currall As Next President

The University of South Florida Board of Trustees have selected Steven Currall as the next System president.

Currall, 60, is the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs at Southern Methodist University in Texas.

A majority of the trustees had Currall as their choice during a preliminary conversation after hearing from the four finalists earlier today. By the time the formal vote came, the board unanimously approved Currall.

“It was clear to me, that as (we) went through the process that we knew we had the right leader, someone that could continue the trajectory that we have right now at the University of South Florida,” said Board Chair Brian Lamb.

If approved by the state Board of Governors next week, Currall will replace Judy Genshaft, who is retiring July 1 after a 19-year tenure at USF.

“Big shoes, amazing legacy that President Genshaft has created here, and lots of momentum,” said Currall. “I just hope that we can continue that and maybe even increase the upward slope of that trajectory as well to take the university to even greater heights.”

“I think he’s a really good choice,” Genshaft told WUSF. “He has…both the private and public academic experience, fund-raising, research, the whole profile is great, and he’s got enthusiasm for the next era.”

Currall has been Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at SMU since 2016. He oversees all academic activities, helps manage the university’s budget and has led a campus-wide strategic planning process.

That experience will come in handy as he joins USF, which is in the process of the consolidation and re-accreditation of its three campuses.

“We’re going to use it to reflect further on how we can be even stronger academically as a university,” said Currall. “I think it’s a great opportunity for the three campuses to work in synergy and collaboration, so I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on how to organize ourselves into an even great university.”

Currall was picked over finalists Wanda Blanchett, Interim Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Rutgers University – New Brunswick; Debasish “Deba” Dutta, former Chancellor at Rutgers University – New Brunswick; and Jeffrey Vitter, former Chancellor at the University of Mississippi, as well as almost thirty other people who applied for the job.

“I’ve got a lot of background in both public and private universities and I’m very committed to student success and research visibility, global visibility of USF, so I’ll bring all those things to the conversation when I’m here in the position,” said Currall.

Currall previously was dean of the graduate school of management at University of California, Davis, and the chancellor’s senior advisor for strategic projects and initiatives. UC Davis is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), a longtime goal of USF.

Currall was also vice chair of the board for the University of California system’s Global Health Institute. He’s held leadership positions at University College London and worked at AAU institutions Rice University, the University of Chicago and Cornell University.

Currall is expected to be offered a five-year contract.

Using salaries of presidents at other major Florida universities, as well as similar sized and similar performing research schools that have a medical school, trustees approved a study that recommended:

  • a base salary between $550,000 and 600,000;
  • performance bonus based on a maximum of between $250,000 and 300,000;
  • deferred compensation of 20 percent of the base salary for the five-year length of the contract, as well as retirement contributions. The “at-risk” deferment will go into an account that Currall will receive if he serves the full five years. That protects USF if it decides to part with him before then;
  • one-time relocation expense of $100,000 and a housing allowance;
  • a vehicle allowance of $1,000 a month;
  • other benefits that USF employees receive, including health and life insurance.

The hiring process isn’t complete yet.

Currall’s appointment still requires approval by the Board of Governors, which oversees Florida’s 12 public universities. They will conduct a public interview and hold a confirmation vote on Thursday, Mar. 28, during their meeting in Tallahassee.

In addition, Greenwood/Asher & Associates, the search firm that assisted USF in the process, still has to complete a thorough background check of Currall. Jan Greenwood said preliminary background checks of the four finalists didn’t show issues with any of them. She expects Currall’s deeper review will be complete by the time the Governors meet.

Local leaders reacted to the news.

“Judy Genshaft has been a terrific partner for me and I think Tampa and USF are on the verge of something special together,” the mayor said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times. “Having a top-tier research university in your city gives you an economic engine and a competitive advantage that most cities do not enjoy. I would expect the next president to be as outwardly focused as USF and Tampa write their next chapter.”

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted his congratulations, saying he looks forward to advocating for USF St. Petersburg when he meets with Currall.

Currall is a native of Kansas City, Missouri. He earned a PhD in organizational behavior from Cornell, a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Baylor University.

He’s married to Cheyenne Currall, PhD., vice president and executive advisor for global advancement at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

“USF Selects Steven Currall As Next President”WUSF News

A Note from our Chairman: Dare to be Excellent

The following appeared as a guest column in the Tampa Bay Business Journal on Friday, March 29. Mickey Jacob is principal in the BDG Architects design studio in Tampa and 2019 chair of the Tampa Downtown Partnership. Read the article online.


Tampa’s downtown core now stands on the verge of some very exciting times in its evolution as a growing and vibrant city center.

New development, expanding residential population, active public spaces, robust entertainment and sports facilities, an interactive (and very popular) “Riverwalk,” busy restaurants, bars and gathering places all add up to offer people an important aspect in the successful transformation of any city. Creating memorable experiences.

It’s these experiences that improve the quality of life for everyone whether they live, visit or work in downtown. Tampa has a momentum that is gaining nationwide recognition as a great place to live. In order to maintain this momentum, it is imperative that all of us as a community make a commitment to “Dare to be Excellent.” And that starts with thoughtful, respectful and visionary leadership that always asks the question, “What is the right thing to do?” Here are a few suggestions:

Diversity of housing

As we see more and more residential buildings beginning to rise in the downtown city center it is critical that we maintain a diversity of housing to allow everyone the opportunity to find attainable places to live. High density micro and macro units with reductions in parking requirements where construction cost savings by the developer can be reinvested into transit options for residents is the first step. Designing these types of housing units is easy. It is the application of available and dependable transit, unique amenities, appropriate retail, reimagined streetscapes, urban open spaces that need to be implemented to support the development of the “neighborhood” atmosphere. The dynamic growth of our city depends on our leadership to take these concepts to reality.

Connectivity that works

Our first focus on transportation should be what happens when you arrive. Promoting technology driven information applications that can direct you to available parking, reliable transit choices, shuttle options from parking to destination, widening sidewalks to enhance streetscape experience, and open urban spaces creating unintended “social collisions” that build relationships are all important to address. It is these concepts of connectivity that adds the greatest benefits to completely solving our transportation challenges. Our responsibility as community leaders is to apply design thinking as part of the total transportation discussion as well as to be the ethical and strong voice to uphold the integrity of the decisions of the electorate when politicians use their position to file suit to oppose the will of the people. That is the right thing to do

Design with beauty

To be a world class city we must demand design that is world class. Everyone deserves to be able to enjoy beauty in their lives and our city is no different. Think about all the wonderful places we have now and how these beautiful experiences make us proud to live here. Design thinking to enhance beauty in the community is behavior we must apply in everything we do to stay competitive in the marketplace. It just takes a commitment to collaborative, inclusive, thoughtful and visionary design.

When you live in a community where leaders care enough to apply this process it improves the quality of life for everyone.

Diversity of housing, connectivity and beautiful design are but a few of the important issues that need to be part of the overall strategy of acting in the best interests of the community to be excellent in everything we do. All it takes is dedicated and visionary leadership to challenge us all to think far beyond where we have been thinking before to create those memorable experiences. And when we dare to be excellent anything is possible.

Legislative Updates, Attainable Housing, Downtown Parking, Retail in the Urban Core, and more

This half-day event focuses on the exploration of innovative ideas in urban development and serves as a catalyst for discussion and problem solving for major urban issues. Each year, hundreds of downtown stakeholders, urban planners, developers, real estate professionals, property owners, public officials, non-profit organizations, arts and entertainment professionals, and those interested in improving downtown attend this informative and exciting event.

This year we welcome David Downey, President of the International Downtown Association, as our keynote speaker as well as HCP who will present the results of our 2018 Biennial Survey of Workers and Residents. More speakers, panelists and program details will be shared leading up to the event.



7:30 – 8:00am                      Registration and Breakfast

8:00 – Noon                          Program

Partnership Welcome >>
Lynda Remund, Tampa Downtown Partnership
Mickey Jacob, BDG Architects

Opening Remarks >>
Mayor Bob Buckhorn, City of Tampa Read more

Straight Talk >> Advocacy Updates
U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor (via video)
Rep. Jackie Toledo (Pending Confirmation Due to Session)
As the 2019 Legislative session comes to a close, hear from “behind the curtain” on issues impacting Downtown Tampa and our region.

Opening The Door For Urban Living >> Workforce and Attainable Housing
Owen LaFave, Bank of Tampa
Brett Green, Related Group
Special Guest: Ashon Nesbitt, Florida Housing Coalition Read more
The lack of available workforce housing impacts urban centers across the country, including Tampa’s Downtown. Hear from experts in this industry as they explore the importance of workforce housing and its impact on economic development.

Downtown Lifestyle >> Biennial Survey Results
Robert Allen, HCP Associates
The Downtown Tampa of today is far different from the Downtown of 2008 when the Partnership began surveying workers and residents in the urban core. During this high-energy session, learn how perceptions have changed as these two populations react to Downtown’s renaissance.

Spinning Our Wheels >> Comprehensive Parking Plan
Joel Mann, Stantec
Is there enough parking in Downtown Tampa? The Partnership tackled this controversial topic with data, real-time counts, and compared our city with comparable growing Downtowns across the country. So, where do we go from here?

Keynote Speaker >>
David T. Downey, President & CEO, International Downtown Association (IDA)
A 20-year association professional, David is an accomplished not-for-profit leader in the community building industry. At IDA, David provides overall strategic direction and drives success toward the organization’s vision to build a world full of vital and livable urban centers. Read more.

Shopping for the Right Fit >> Viable Retail in Downtown
Danielle Evans, Don Me Now & Bubbly Barchique
Adam Harden, SoHo Capital
Jackie Burridge Centamore, WS Development
Special Guest: Heather Arnold, Streetsense Read more
According to market data, Downtown Tampa is ready for retail options. Experts in the field will examine national and local examples to determine the next steps potential retailers can take to ensure success in our market. A full analysis will be presented including solutions and recommendations specific to retail opportunities in Tampa’s Downtown.

Save the date, register, and tell your colleagues to join. We look forward to seeing you at this signature Tampa Downtown Partnership event!

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Hillsborough River Ralty / The Jeffries Company
University of Tampa

BDG Architects
Tampa Bay Business Journal

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority
CGA Solutions

We’ve Moved! Join us at Office in the Park

April Fools! Just kidding, we still have our office at 400 Ashley but this week we have another office in Lykes Gaslight Park starting at noon today! More information.

Join us as we make our way down from our office in Rivergate Tower to the ground floor level in Gaslight Square Park (corner of Madison and Franklin). While we set up shop for a week in the park we invite you to join us to talk about how you feel about Downtown. What do you love, what would you like to see more of, what could use some improvement? We want to hear from you, because at the end of the day we work to make your Downtown experience better. Our staff will have scheduled office hours, so be sure to check when would be the best time to come and discuss your thoughts.

Not only will we be working in the park for a full week, but we also invite you all to work with us. We will have some awesome co-working space that will be available to anyone, with FREE wifi, all week long. Set up at communal sit/stand desk or take a more relaxed approach in our Green Space office lounge. However you choose to work, we have an option for you.

Tell your friends, it’s time to talk about Downtown!

Monday >> Talk Transportation
Get a chance to meet all your Downtown Tampa Transportation providers

Tuesday >> Let’s Get Social
Earn a free Tampa’s Downtown tank top when you follow us on Instagram and Facebook

Wednesday >> Public Space
Grab lunch at the Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta and take in a fitness class as we sample some of our Public Space programs

Thursday >> Know Your Neighbors
Quest Workspaces will be providing lunch as we spotlight businesses from all the Downtown districts

Friday >> Pop In With TDP
Pop in for a free Whatever Pop and chat with us about membership or enter for a chance to win a ticket to our Downtown Development Forum

Local Leaders Luncheon with Dr. Judy Gensharft

Join us on May 8th from 11:30am to 1pm at the Tampa River Center at Julian B Park for our inaugural Local Leaders Luncheon featuring Dr. Judy Genshaft, Past President of the University of South Florida (USF) System. This engaging luncheon features local leaders who have made a significant impact on Tampa’s Downtown. Since becoming president in 2000, Dr. Judy Genshaft has catapulted the University of South Florida System to national and international prominence for student success, academic rigor, research and innovation, and economic development. USF recently was given the elite designation of “Preeminent State Research University,” becoming only the third Florida institution to earn this prestigious honor. USF was also recently accepted into the distinguished Phi Beta Kappa honor society, a sign of the institution’s growing national reputation. Hear more from Dr. Genshaft and register today!

Rooftop Bar & Lounge Opens at Armature Works

The restaurant and bar innovators behind Armature Works, Ciro’s, Boca and Ichicoro have collaborated to bring you Tampa’s next marquee restaurant and bar. M.Bird is a rooftop bar and lounge perched on the 2nd floor above the historic Armature Works, a mixed-use building located on the northern end of Downtown Tampa in the Heights.

M.Bird’s bar program features a tropically driven craft cocktail menu, VIP bottle service, and boasts a robust selection of rums and other sugarcane based spirits. The menu is a curation of small plates that evolve with seasonality, menu highlights include: vaca frita tostones, citrus glazed branzino, jerk chicken egg rolls, and a bite sized version of a classic mofongo.

The mod-deco design features dozens of unique seating options. Seating at the bar is first-come, first-served and the entire lounge is rentable for large groups and private functions. Guests can enjoy outdoor elements year-round and front row, unobstructed views of Tampa’s skyline and the setting sun to the West. Live DJs will set the stage for the sophisticated lounge-vibe, along with plenty of Instagram friendly areas.

“M.Bird’s origin comes from the Florida State Bird, the mockingbird,” says Taryn Bruck, co-owner and operator of Armature Works. “With live greenery and pops of color, guests will feel as if they are stepping into another city… it will be a completely different and unique experience.”

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Thursday: 4pm – 1am
Friday: 4pm – 2am
Saturday: 12pm – 2am
Sunday: 12pm – 12am

M.Bird is 21 and up. Reservations for parties six or more will be required.

Follow M.Bird on Instagram for daily updates.

Townhouse Project Proposed in Tampa Heights

A Clearwater developer is proposing to build townhouses on a parking lot in Tampa Heights.

Stylistic Design Developers has filed a rezoning application with the city for a .6-acre parking lot at the corner of East 7th Avenue and North Morgan Street. The plans would build 16 townhouses on that property.

A rezoning hearing for the project is slated for Aug. 8.

Robert Covington, principal of Stylistic Design, said the homes will be priced from the mid-$400,000s. They will be kept at the frame stage until there’s a buyer for each one, he said.

“We are extremely excited about this project because it will offer Victorian-influenced facades with modern chic interiors throughout the three-bedroom/three-bath/two-car garage with options of an elevator, studio suite and rooftop entertaining terrace,” Covington said. “In addition, we will allow the owners to select from an endless array of cabinets, flooring, counters, tile, luxury vinyl tile, plumbing and light fixtures.”

The lot is a quarter-mile from a hub of commercial development in Tampa Heights, including The Heights mixed-use district, Ulele, the Hall on Franklin and Hidden Springs Brewery.

“Developer proposes 16-unit townhouse project in Tampa Heights”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Volunteers Wanted for the 2019 NCAA Women’s Final Four

The NCAA Women’s Final Four is coming back to Tampa Bay April 5-7, 2019! The Tampa Bay Sports Commission (working alongside the NCAA) are looking for volunteers throughout championship week. This is your opportunity to assist with an incredible weekend of championship fun and welcome fans to our great city!! Plus, receive apparel, entry into a post-event volunteer celebration, USF Football game tickets and more! Sign up today! 

ICYMI: City of Tampa Lights Fortune Taylor Bridge

The Fortune Taylor Bridge is the sixth downtown bridge to receive permanent lighting under Mayor Bob Buckhorn and is part of the City of Tampa’s ongoing Lights On Tampa Program.

“The lighting of these bridges has become a signature visual for some of Tampa’s most iconic photographs in recent years,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “Our public art is both indicative and a validator of our urban revitalization. These projects create a sense of community and they will be cherished for years to come.”

The Fortune Taylor Bridge will look noticeably different from the other bridges. Viewers will notice that they are brighter, of a higher quality, and provide a broader range for programming. The lights on the bridge are color kinetics, LED fixtures RGBW (red, green blue and white) and allow for the creation of a broad spectrum of color palettes in deeper hues and even pastels—well over 16 million color combinations.

Funding is through the Arts Programs Division and the Downtown CRA fund. Total budget for the project is $428,000. It is hoped that all downtown bridges will eventually receive permanent lighting as funding becomes available.

The next Lights On Tampa is scheduled for November 2020.

Turn Your Tampa Business Trip into a Mini-Vacation

Going to Florida for vacation has been an American tradition since the invention of air conditioning. But for business? Outside of Latin American finance and quote-unquote “exotic” imports, folks usually didn’t come down this way to do anything that resembled “serious.”

But that’s changed in the past couple of decades, and as business in Florida booms so does the number of people who come here for work. Since the sunshine state was a vacation destination to begin with, it’s also the perfect place to blend business and leisure travel — or “bleisure” as the cool kids say. Orlando and Miami are fairly obvious when looking for how to extend your business trip, but if you’re looking for the beaches, food, nightlife, and general laid-back excitement that make Florida so fun, Tampa might be the best place in the state to add an extra day onto your trip. Read on for how to make the most out of a business trip to Tampa, from where to take your work appointments to the spots you need to explore on your own.

Downtown Calendar

Your Downtown Calendar

The following is just a sample of upcoming events in Downtown Tampa.  Visit the Downtown Tampa Events Calendar for a more comprehensive list.

Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta

Wednesday, April 3, 11am to 2pm
Lykes Gaslight Square
Looking for a larger selection of lunch options? Step outside for a meal in the park! Choose from a wide variety of local food trucks serving up all sorts of delicious culinary creations. You’ll have your pick of dishes from plenty of delectable kitchens on wheels! For more information, go to Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta.

Rock the Park

Thursday, April 4, 6:30pm to 9pm
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
Listen to some great musical talent in a beautiful, relaxing setting. This month’s show features Vetnough, Gloria West and The Gents, and Mouth Council. With food and drinks on the premises and an always exciting vibe, this free concert is guaranteed not to disappoint. For more information, go to Rock the Park.

NCAA Women’s Final Four Special

Friday, April 5 and Sunday, April 7
Amalie Arena
Downtown Tampa is excited be the home of the NCAA Women’s Final Four for the third time in the history of the championship. Semifinal action will take place on Friday, followed by the national championship game on Sunday. For more info, go to NCAA Women’s Final Four Special.

Taking the Stage at the Straz Center

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] by Adam Long, Daniel Singer & Jess Winfield – Through Sunday, April 7
Wild Seas, Secret Shores with Thomas Peschak, photographer – Tuesday, April 2, beings 7pm
Jeremy Douglass: Broadway Pre-Show – Tuesday, April 2, begins 7pm
The Swingles –  Wednesday, April 3, begins 7:30pm
Piff the Magic Dragon – Thursday, April 4, begins 7:30pm
Storm Large – Thursday, April 4, begins 8pm
Late Nite Catechism – Friday, April 5 to Sunday, April 7
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo – Friday, April 5, 7:30pm to 9:30pm
The Florida Orchestra – Ragtime, Blues and All That Jazz – Friday, April 5, begins 8pm
TASTE @ The Straz – Formerly known as Best of Tampa Bay – Saturday, April 6, begins 6pm
Beauty and the Beast – Sunday, April 7, shows at Noon and 4pm

On the Marquee at Tampa Theatre

Transit (2019) – Through Tuesday, April 2
Nemtsov: An Evening with Vladimir Kara-Murza – Wednesday, April 3, begins 7pm
Michio Kaku – Thursday, April 4, begins 7:30pm
The Matrix (1999) – Friday, April 5, 10:30pm to 12:45am
Wow in the World Pop Up Party – Saturday, April 6, begins 1pm
In the Mood – Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7
My Neighbor Totoro (1988) – Sunday, April 7, 6:30pm to 9pm

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