Monday Morning Memo

Monday, April 22, 2019

Member Spotlight: Check out What's New at Tampa Theatre

Since 1926, Tampa Theatre has been lighting up Franklin Street as Downtown’s majestic movie palace. These days, most of the movies they show are new, limited-release independent films and acclaimed foreign-language films from around the globe, but they also enjoy a nostalgic reputation as “the beautiful old theatre that shows old movies.” Several times a year, the Theatre – which is itself a national historic landmark – brings some of history’s favorite films back to the big screen for a new generation of fans. They’ll be wrapping up their annual Family Favorites series this weekend with two screenings of sing-along Frozen at 3:00pm Saturday and Sunday (yes, costumes are welcomed!) In the next few weeks, they’ll be releasing the lineup for their 28th annual Summer Classics movie series, which will feature a 1920s silent film with live accompaniment on their original Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ on August 25, and other beloved classics representing every decade in between on Sunday afternoons from June 2 – September 1.

And while the historic auditorium is well-known for its faux night sky and twinkling stars, Tampa Theatre has also been seen lately out under the *real* stars with its Traveling Picture Show programs. They recently wrapped a spring series of free, family-friendly outdoor films in various City parks and will return in the fall with even more parkCINEMA screenings, sponsored by the F.E. Lykes Foundation. Just last week, they also announced a new airCINEMA initiative, which will activate Tampa International Airport’s new event space (on the third level between Airsides E and F) with a FREE screening of Disney/Pixar’s Planes at 7:30pm Saturday, May 11.

For details about Tampa Theatre’s 600+ annual movies, live shows, tours and special events, visit

Tampa Downtown Partnership Welcomes New Board and Executive Committee Members

The Tampa Downtown Partnership Board of Directors unanimously voted at the bi-monthly meeting on April 16th to name Abbey Dohring Ahern and Tyler Hudson members of the Executive Committee. The Board also unanimously approved the appointment of Neal Stralow from VHB and Stephen Panzarino from AECOM to the Board of Directors.

The Tampa Downtown Partnership Board of Directors and Executive Committee serves and advisory role for Partnership staff and leadership. Made up of Downtown stakeholders and business leaders, members of the Board and Executive Committee have a vested interest in improving the collective downtown community and promote a shared vision for Tampa’s downtown, as identified by Partnership staff.

Join us on June 19th at our Annual Meeting and Luncheon as we vote to welcome the full Board and Executive Committee. Register today!

View the full list of Board and Executive Committee members.

Member Exclusive Mixer at Sheraton Riverwalk

Join fellow Partnership members and guests for a casual networking opportunity while enjoying complimentary hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and a beautiful view of the Hillsborough River on the Sheraton’s newly renovated pool deck.

Members are free and may bring one guest for $5. Register today!

The Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel invested millions in renovating its hotel and pool deck amenities, and revealed its new Sheraton Pool Bar on Sunday, August 26 with a grand opening.

Hotel guests and locals exploring the Riverwalk will enjoy live music, food and drinks such as wine, liquor and domestic beer with half-priced food and free bloody marys and mimosas for the first hour.

The poolside menu features sandwiches, salads and small plates such as the lobster mac-n-cheese, the calamari or the crabcake appetizer from award-winning executive chef Charles Coe. Coe also will introduce specialty drinks.

“Opening Sheraton Pool Bar has given us an opportunity to be creative with new drinks for guests and locals alike,” he said in a prepared statement.

“This includes making differently flavored ice cubes, with ingredients like mint, that we grow in-house, which adds a special touch to the menu.”

And the best part—open container privilege.

Guests can order a drink from the pool bar and take it anywhere while exploring the Riverwalk or the hotel. Read more about the renovations in this Tampa Bay Times article.

Local Leaders Luncheon with Dr. Judy Gensharft

Unfortunately due to a scheduling conflict, Dr. Judy Genshaft is unable to attend the Local Leaders Luncheon. Stay tuned for the next Local Leaders Luncheon on Tuesday, September 10th.

If you have previously registered for this event, please contact Ivy Niven at to transfer your registration to the September 10th Local Leaders Luncheon or for a refund.

Thank you!




Will you join us in celebrating President Genshaft? Whether you have a photo of you and Judy or want to take a quick video thanking her, it would be a wonderful way to extend a small portion of our gratitude for all she’s done.

How to Participate:

  • The campaign officially began today
  • Share your story of thanks via photo or video, and you can be as verbose or brief as you’d like.
  • Post across your preferred social platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Be sure to tag your posts with #Grateful4Genshaft

Summer Internship with the Partnership

The Tampa Downtown Partnership is looking to hire a Marketing and Communications Intern for this summer. The internship will run June through August with a required 12-hour work week. Applicants entering their third or final year of college are preferred.

The Marketing and Communications Intern works directly with the Director of Marketing and Communications to oversee the organization’s marketing, communications, public relations, brand and social media programs. The position is responsible for assisting in the planning and implementation of all marketing, communications, and branding for the Downtown Tampa Special Services District (SSD) and Tampa Downtown Partnership. The position coordinates with other Partnership team members to advance the organization and the SSD.

View the full job description.

Interested? Email your cover letter with resume to Kelsy Van Camp at No phone calls, please.

Sparkman Wharf Announces Redevelopment, First Office Tenant

When the first phase of Sparkman Wharf opened in late November, its recreational lawn, craft biergarten and dining garden brought a new vibrancy to the property once known as Channelside Bay Plaza.

Now, construction is underway on the next phase of renovations to the plaza — changes that will transform not only the property itself, but that entire corner of downtown Tampa, with 180,000 square feet of loft-style office space and more than 60,000 square feet of new storefronts.

The former Channelside Bay Plaza struggled for years to attract and retain both customers and commercial tenants. This iteration, its developer hopes, will be able to sustain restaurants and retailers by becoming a destination for both residents and tourists. The office space provides a built-in customer base for restaurants and retailers in the wharf, especially on weekdays when foot traffic can be slow.

Strategic Property Partners, controlled by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Cascade Investment LLC, is the developer of Water Street Tampa. Sparkman Wharf is one of the anchors of Water Street — a southern bookend to the district’s more than 50 acres between the Channel district waterfront and central business district. SPP controls the wharf through a ground lease with Port Tampa Bay.

In the coming months, SPP will replace the building’s existing facades with a “much more modern, industrial look,” said Sam Stein, development manager for SPP. The new facades will also feature massive windows.

The interior demolition, which began as a lawn and dining garden opened to the public late last year, is almost complete. The offices will be built in space that was previously home to a movie theater, among other entertainment concepts.

“The building is a steel structure, so we’re bringing that out and adding more steel,” Stein said. “So the building will look completely different from the outside.”

The new facades will be white with gray accents and exposed black steel, Stein said. The overhaul also includes second-floor outdoor terraces on both the north and south sides of the property — totaling 10,000 square feet of outdoor terrace space, which will be decked out with trellises and canopies.

“The whole idea with Sparkman was that we were trying to create a sense of place,” Stein said. “It really was a working wharf for a long time, and that industrial aesthetic is just innate to where we are. So we looked to that as inspiration for being more raw with the building, more open, and letting the building speak for itself.”

Even with scaffolding in place and major changes yet to be made, there’s already steady interest from both office and retail tenants. Stein said SPP has four executed letters of intent with retail tenants in the food and beverage and fitness categories, though he declined to identify any of the potential tenants. (A letter of intent in commercial real estate is a nonbinding outline of the terms of the deal and allows the company time to do due diligence on the potential location.)

Stein said SPP plans to turn over shell space to tenants later this year, with the retailers to open in the second quarter of 2020.

  • • •

On the office side, SPP is in “serious negotiations” with three tenants for about 100,000 square feet of the loft-style space within the wharf, said Dave Bevirt, executive vice president of office leasing and strategy.

The office space in the wharf is priced in the mid to upper $40s per square foot for all-inclusive rent. That’s well above the average asking lease rates in downtown Tampa today, but Bevirt said there’s been no resistance to the rental rates.

“The types of tenants are coworking, health and life sciences, design,” Bevirt said. “It’s really called ‘creative Class A’ office. It’s one of the most unique office offerings in the U.S. right now.”

SPP will be the first office tenant in the revamped wharf, with plans to move in by the end of the year; other tenants will move in in the second quarter of 2020. But there’s already a temporary tenant, audit, tax and consulting services firm RSM, in 9,500 square feet on the second floor of the property.

RSM plans to move into 10,000 square feet in 1001 Water Street, a 20-story office tower to begin construction this year. The RSM deal is a one-off, Bevirt said, driven by the expiration of the company’s current lease in the Wells Fargo Center.

Between 1001 Water Street and 400 Channelside Drive, Bevirt said, there’s activity on about 300,000 square feet of office space.

  • • •

Several improvements are already visible to visitors. Channelside Drive, in front of the wharf, has been repaved with new crosswalks and other pedestrian improvements that make it easier — and safer — to navigate on foot. The park has already extended its hours; it launched with hours of 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; Tuesdays were added in early April.

The fence that barricades the recreational lawn from the actual wharf will be rebuilt this summer, to allow for maximum water views.

SPP is also working with Port Tampa Bay to eventually add docks to the property — to allow for kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders to navigate to the wharf from the water. The docks will be flexible, Stein said, as they’ll have to be moved when cruise ships are in port.

“It will never be a stale property,” Stein said. “There will always be something new, and we’ll always be changing and innovating. That’s really the goal.”

“Sparkman Wharf redevelopment enters its most transformational phase yet (Renderings)” – Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Ardent Mills to build mill at Port Tampa Bay

Ardent Mills has selected Port Tampa Bay as the future site of a $62 million flour mill and grain storage terminal that will replace its current mill located in downtown Tampa, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Ardent Mills announced in October 2018 plans to sell the property where its downtown Tampa mill is located to Strategic Property Partners for more than $13 million.

Ardent Mills will continue to produce flour at the downtown site until the Port Tampa Bay facility is operational. Ardent Mills said the project is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete.

The new plant, which will have a full-time staff of 31, is expected to become operational in 2021.

The plant in Tampa is the largest flour mill in Florida with a daily production capacity of 14,500 cwts per day, according to Sosland Publishing Company’s 2019 Grain and Milling Annual. The state has two flour mills with an overall daily milling capacity of 27,500 cwts.

Florida is the fifth fastest growing state in the United States and the third largest state with 21.3 million residents.

We are committed to our expert Tampa team, the opportunity to continue to delight our customers, and serve our great neighbors in Tampa and Central Florida,” Daniel Dye, chief executive officer of Ardent Mills, said when the sale of the mill property first was announced. “We have enjoyed this privilege for more than three decades and look forward to supporting the Tampa community, Central Florida, and customers across the state for many decades to come with a new state-of-the-art mill capable of growing with our customers.”

Ardent Mills’ overall daily capacity is nearly 500,000 cwts, by far the largest in the United States.

“Ardent Mills to build mill at Port Tampa Bay”

Feldman Unveils Renovations to Park Tower

The oldest office tower in downtown Tampa has a sleek new aesthetic — and nearly two dozen new tenants — since its ownership group kicked off a multimillion-dollar renovation in mid-2017.

A partnership of City Office REIT, Feldman Equities and Tower Realty Partners acquired Park Tower in downtown Tampa in late 2016 for $79.75 million.

The 471,000-square-foot tower’s occupancy has risen from a low of 80 percent to 94 percent, which includes companies that have signed leases but not yet taken occupancy, Feldman said. Feldman has signed or renewed 170,000 square feet of space since buying the tower.

The tower is now at its highest occupancy in a decade. Twenty-two new companies have moved to the building — 15 of which were new to Tampa’s urban core.

“Park Tower’s owners investing millions in renovating the city’s original high-rise is just further proof of Tampa’s renaissance,” Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a statement. “Investments like these do not happen every day but what we’re seeing across the city is that not only can we redefine our skyline with new structures but also we can reimagine it with the existing ones. I look forward to admiring this renovation for years to come.”

Architecture firm Gensler designed the improvements.

The renovations include a complete exterior overhaul, with a new “light box” on the corner of Tampa and Madison streets. A knee-high wall was removed to make brightly lit storefronts more visible.

“The renovation and tenant suite upgrades have completely transformed the building and prospective tenants are responding with high interest,” Feldman Equities CEO Larry Feldman said in a statement.

Here’s a breakdown of the interior renovations:

  • New fitness center and yoga room with spin bikes
  • Buddy Brew Coffee café
  • Sixth floor “Chill Zone” tenant lounge
  • Shared tenant conference room
  • New lobby concierge desk
  • Renovated parking garage with new LED lighting

“Feldman unveils multimillion-dollar makeover of Park Tower, downtown Tampa’s oldest office tower (Photos)”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required) 

Year-Round Cross Bay Ferry to Begin 2022

A new vision presented Tuesday for the Cross-Bay Ferry is bold, linking the downtowns of Tampa and St. Petersburg year-round and providing commuter service every 15-minutes to MacDill Air Force Base.

But it also comes with some asterisks.

First, it wouldn’t start until 2022 at the earliest.

And perhaps more important, it still requires approval from Hillsborough County Commissioners to pay $36.5 million for ferry docks at Williams Park in Gibsonton, plus four vessels, offices and other capital costs.

Two companies, HMS Ferries Inc. and South Swell Development Corp., would pay more than $100 million to operate and maintain the four boats for 20 years, according to a business plan shared at a press event Tuesday. But county commissioners must first to agree to pay the up-front costs to get the project running.

“There is just so much pent-up demand … everywhere for this service,” Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp said Tuesday.

Kemp said she expects her fellow commissioners to support the project, which could be paid for with a combination of Hillsborough County’s share of money from the BP Oil disaster and proceeds from the county’s new transportation tax. Former commissioner Ed Turanchik, a lawyer who represents the partners, said a vote might come before the commission next month.

has been a long-discussed dream in Tampa Bay.

The idea of a commuter ferry service connecting the large military population in South Hillsborough County with MacDill Air Force Base was first floated in 2013, but faced a number of setbacks including environmental concerns with the proposed dock. Commissioners spiked the project in November, with a new board voting in December to bring the concept back for study and discussion.

While Hillsborough leaders quarreled over the costs and merits of a commuter route, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman garnered buy-in from local governments to launch ferry service between the downtowns of Tampa and St. Petersburg in 2016. The inaugural season posted solid numbers but made it clear there was no market for commuter service, at least not while only one boat is running a handful of times a day.

After taking a year off, the Cross-Bay Ferry came back for a second season in November, this time focusing on nights and weekends. The result was higher numbers and more sold-out trips.

The 20-year, four-dock route pitched Tuesday is the brainchild of Turanchik, who recently was eliminated as a candidate for Tampa mayor. Despite ongoing efforts on both sides of the bay to keep water-based transit running in Tampa Bay, Turanchik’s proposal came to fruition without input from local government leaders entrenched in those plans.

Kriseman, who previously was dubbed the ferry godfather for his work bringing the Cross-Bay Ferry to life, read the proposal for the first time alongside media members on the ferry dock Tuesday. Kemp said she had closely monitored the effort to bring commuter ferry service to MacDill but also had not seen the business plan for multi-city service until Tuesday.

“I have to emphasize that HMS would not have undertaken this commitment had it not been for the experience of the Cross-Bay Ferry,” said Turanchik, who referred to the seasonal service spearheaded by Kriseman as “courageous.”

But it was Turanchik who led the press conference, before riding the ferry to St. Petersburg with his family. Kriseman, who was not invited on board, drove back to his city.

Still, the mayor called Tuesday an exciting day and the culmination of what he and others had hoped for years would happen. He expects the potential 2022 year-round service will help him secure a short-term deal that would allow the Cross-Bay Ferry’s more limited current service to continue for another two seasons, bridging the gap until the seven-day service would start.

That agreement would involve continued contributions from St. Petersburg and Tampa, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, and the state of Florida.

“In my mind, this gives a greater urgency to the need to keep the service going,” Kriseman said. “The biggest complaint we hear most often is that the boat was sold out.”

Unlike the Cross-Bay Ferry seasonal service, the year-round ferry project would require no taxpayer money outside of capital costs. Hillsborough County would be the only contributing government, leaving Pinellas and the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg with 20 years of ferry service at no cost.

“This major financial commitment by HMS Ferries is a testament to our confidence in the Tampa Bay region and the potential demand for water transportation,” Matt Miller, president of HMS Ferries, said in a statement Tuesday. “We believe that creating a complete, seven-day a week ferry system would work best.”

The proposed service would run four boats between Williams Park and MacDill on all weekdays, except federal holidays, at 15-minute intervals during morning and evening rush hours. The business plan shared Tuesday projects at least 1,500 average daily riders.

The boat trip would last 14 minutes. Riders would exit the ferry, go through base security and then take a tram to various stops on base.

The MacDill-South County route is projected to eliminate nearly 11 million vehicle miles traveled each year, according to data in the business plan.

Two of the four boats also would be used for trips between South Hillsborough, downtown Tampa and the St. Petersburg waterfront on weeknights and weekends. A third boat could be added on days the Tampa Bay Lightning or Rays play, or for special events. If ridership spiked, officials could consider adding a third or fourth boat to the route daily.

The trip would take 30 minutes from South Hillsborough to St. Petersburg or 25 minutes to Tampa. Tampa to St. Petersburg would remain the longest ride at 50 minutes.

Because of the triangular service linking the three docks, boats sailing from St. Petersburg to Tampa would sail three times on most weeknights and four times on Saturdays and Sundays. That’s fairly consistent with service offered between the two cities today, which includes two round trips weekdays and four round trips on Fridays and Saturdays.

South Hillsborough residents would also have the option to take the ferry to either downtown St. Petersburg or Tampa on weeknights and weekends.

Those trips would cost the same as current Cross-Bay Ferry rides: $8 for adults, $5 for seniors, military members and college students, and $3 for youth ages 5 to 18.

The weekday commuter service to MacDill would be offered at a $15 daily round trip fee or $260 per month. The monthly fare also would include parking at the dock or a bus or van pool ticket.

“Partners propose seven-day ferry service linking Hillsborough, MacDill, Tampa, St. Pete”Tampa Bay Times (subscription required)

Hillsborough MPO Open House on Environmental Impact

The Hillsborough MPO invites you to an open house with the MPO Board and its committees to learn more about potential environmental and natural impacts associated with FDOT’s interstate modernization plans. This is the second in a series of open houses and briefings providing a forum for FDOT to respond to MPO Board motions as well as MPO committee and public comments on the Tampa Interstate Study (TIS) Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS).

The informal format is an opportunity to view large map displays of the concepts and talk with experts about potential environmental impacts, including health, air quality, noise, and water management.

A third open house addressing traffic impacts will be scheduled this summer. In addition, FDOT will provide more details at public workshops to be held later this spring. Learn more at:

When: Tuesday, April 30; 5 – 7pm

Where: Robert B. Saunders, Sr. Public Library, 1505 N Nebraska Ave.

View the flyer.

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.

Fourth Friday

Friday, April 26, 4pm to 10pm
Downtown Tampa and Ybor City
When the sun goes down, the streets of Tampa and Ybor will light up with music, laughter, art, friends and FREE fun. This evening of special offerings and programs by cultural venues, restaurants, and more takes place on the fourth Friday of every month! For more info, go to Fourth Friday.

Tampa Bay Seafood & Music Festival

Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
Dine on delectable foods cooked onsite incorporating the freshest ingredients. A variety of seafood, meat, and vegetarian dishes will be available. Supplement your main course with a diversity of side dishes and desserts, and plenty of drinks. While enjoying your meal and drinks, enjoy the sounds of live musical performances onstage from some of Florida’s top musical talents. For more info, go to Tampa Bay Seafood & Music Festival.

Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Festival

Saturday, April 27, begins 8am
Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park
Downtown Tampa’s Garrison Channel will come alive with community, corporate, and professional paddlers racing to the finish. Along the beautiful Riverwalk, people of all ages can enjoy food trucks, live music, entertainment, local merchants and fun activities. For more information, go to Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Festival.

Taking the Stage at the Straz Center

Spamilton: An American Parody – Through Sunday, May 12
Dori Freeman – Monday, April 22, begins 7:30pm
Jeremy Douglass: Broadway Pre-Show – Tuesday, April 23, begins 7pm
Simply Three – Wednesday, April 24, begins 7:30pm
Patel Conservatory presents Seussical, Jr. – Thursday, April 25 to Sunday, April 28
Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème – Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28
Spring Into Dance – Saturday, April 27, begins at Noon
Breakin’ Out – Saturday, April 27, begins 4pm

On the Marquee at Tampa Theatre

The Russian Five (2018) – Wednesday, April 24, begins 7:30pm
The Last Green Thread (2018) – Thursday, April 25, begins 7:30pm
Movie Bingo Night – Friday, April 26, begins 5pm
High Life (2019) – Friday, April 26 to Wednesday, May 1
Sing-Along Frozen (2013) – Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28

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Monday Morning Memo –Monday Morning Memo is a weekly update of “insider downtown information” regarding developments, transportation, special opportunities and other useful information to help you make the most of downtown. Subscribe to receive this weekly newsletter.

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