Monday Morning Memo

Monday, December 18, 2017

Partnership Presents

Happy Holidays!

Tampa Downtown Partnership wishes you and yours a very happy holiday season. Our offices will close at noon on Friday, December 22 and will reopen on Tuesday, December 26 at 8am. To celebrate the New Year, our offices will close at noon on Friday, December 29 and will reopen on Tuesday, January 2 at 8am. The Downtown Guides and Clean Team will operate under normal hours, but will enjoy Christmas Day off with their families. A very special thanks to the Rampello Downtown Partnership K-8 Magnet School for providing the artwork for our holiday cards!

Ping Pong Thursdays

Up for a game of ping-pong? Show us what you’ve got!  Tampa’s Downtown Guides will be available each Thursday from noon to 1pm in Lykes Gaslight Park to take on a game of ping-pong with anyone willing.  It’s FREE, so come out and have some fun. Make your friends jealous by taking a selfie as a player or a spectator and be sure to tag @tampasdowntown on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – our Guides are very photogenic too! Also, don’t forget that our Guides are here to help with car and bike issues, as well as give you a tip for a great place to grab a bite to eat.

Downtown Tampa is Happening: Get Involved

Since 1986, the Partnership has been an advocate for the business community, bringing together leaders from a broad range of industries and market segments to ensure Downtown Tampa remains an active central business district, arts and cultural center and residential neighborhood. Membership with the Tampa Downtown Partnership is a direct investment into the health and economic vitality of downtown; and as downtown prospers, so too does your business. Becoming a member ensures your company’s involvement in our organization’s downtown revitalization efforts and means your company will be kept abreast of new developments; and ongoing activities and events. Get more information and join us today!

Happy Retirement, Christine Burdick

Effective January 1, 2018, President and CEO Christine Burdick will begin her retirement. Lynda Remund, COO, will be assisting in the management of the day-to-day operations as Interim CEO. Burdick became the president of the Tampa Downtown Partnership in April 2002 and has contributed to enhancing the vibrancy, urban development and quality of life throughout Downtown. Under her leadership, the Tampa Downtown Partnership has created and implemented a variety of programs and services, including; the Downtowner free ride service, Coast Bike Share, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, the relocation of Tampa Museum of Art, City of Tampa’s InVision Tampa Masterplan, the launch of Tampa Historic Streetcar, Winter Village, and numerous others. View the full press release, coverage in the Tampa Bay Times  and in the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

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. Going to one of the events? Snap a photo and tag #UrbanInsiderTPA

Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park

Through Friday, January 5
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
Celebrate the holiday season in Downtown Tampa at the Winter Village presented by USAmeriBank and brought to you by Tampa Downtown Partnership. The park will be transformed with the sights, sounds and activities of the holidays for children and adults of all ages. Skate around at the outdoor ice rink or get some gift shopping done at the Holiday Market. For more info, go to Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park.

The Shape of Water

Friday, December 22 to Thursday, January 4
Tampa Theatre
An isolated mute woman working as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory finds her life altered when she discovers a top secret in the lab. A mysterious, scaly creature from South America is being held in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with the captor, she soon learns that its life lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist. For more information, go to The Shape of Water.

Fourth Friday

Friday, December 22, 4pm to 10pm
Downtown Tampa and Ybor City
When the sun goes down, the streets of Tampa and Ybor 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 information, go to Fourth Friday.

Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt – Adult Version

Friday, December 22, begins 4pm
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
This grown up scavenger hunt starts in the park and ventures out into Downtown Tampa to complete 15 riddles at participating bars and venues for a chance to win a Tampa Staycation and other local prizes. You’ll discover drink specials along the way and there may even be a few free shots if you’re nice! For more information, go to Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt – Adult Version.

Lighted Boat Parade

Saturday, December 23, begins 6:30pm
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
Line up along the river to see a beautiful parade of boats lit up with festive colors. This holiday tradition is a fan favorite in Downtown Tampa. Celebrate the holidays and enjoy the beautiful scene along the river. The top boats in the parade will win prizes, so get ready for some heavy competition! For more information, go to Lighted Boat Parade.

Taking the Stage at the Straz Center

The Grahams – Monday, December 18, begins 7:30pm
Next Generation Ballet’s Nutcracker – Thursday, December 21 to Saturday, December 23

This Week at Amalie Arena

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Ottawa Senators – Thursday, December 21, begins 7:30pm
Cirque Musica Holiday: Believe Live – Friday, December 22, begins 7:30pm
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Minnesota Wild – Saturday, December 23, begins 7pm

Doing Business in Downtown

Most Booked Restaurants on OpenTable

Downtown restaurants took the number one and two spots for the most booked restaurants on Open Table in Tampa Bay. At number one, is Oxford Exchange, followed by Ulele. Keep in mind that not all restaurants make their reservations available via OpenTable.  The OpenTable ranking is based on the total number of seats reserved, not a percentage of seats booked, so it’s weighted toward larger establishments with more seating. The list contains some upscale chains, like Capital Grille, but features plenty of local restaurants. View the full list provided by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Hill Ward Henderson Associate Elected to National MS Society

Hill Ward Henderson Associate, Matthew F. Hall, was elected to serve as the Board Chair of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) – Mid Florida Chapter. This regional chapter provides comprehensive programs and advocacy to assist and empower more than 10,000 individuals affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) residing in Central Florida. The chapter’s Board of Trustees is an elected group of volunteers with legal and fiduciary responsibilities for overseeing chapter goals, business operations, and commitment to implementing the Society’s strategic response to MS. Mr. Hall is an Associate in the firm’s Litigation Group. His practice primarily focuses on insurance coverage disputes, general commercial litigation and federal court practices. Mr. Hall has been actively involved with the MS Society and its Mid-Florida Chapter since 2014. Hill Ward Henderson is a full-service law firm with multi-disciplinary practices. Headquartered in downtown Tampa, with over 100 attorneys, the firm has a wide range of local, regional and national clients. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at

Gasparilla Music Festival Announces Initial Lineup

Tonight Show house band the Roots and indie rock heroes Father John Misty and Spoon top the initial bill for the 2018 fest, which takes place March 11-12 at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa. Also on the lineup: Mondo Cozmo, Break Science, the Cave Singers, the War and Treaty, Kolars and Eric Tessmer Band. Kid-rock outfit Imagination Movers will headline the children’s portion of the festival. At least 30 acts will be unveiled in January. Tickets to the festival — which for the first time is bringing on Cigar City Brewing as a presenting sponsor — are $40 in advance for Saturday, $30 in advance for Sunday. A limited number of $40 early-bird weekend passes may still be available; otherwise they’re $60 and up. VIP options are available.

Travel Weekly Reviews The Hall on Franklin

Part of downtown Tampa’s changing landscape is a new European-inspired specialty food hall. The Hall on Franklin is an 8,000 square-foot eatery housing a half-dozen vendors, including some of Tampa’s most innovative chefs and mixologists showcasing the local culinary scene. Patrons place their order via an iPad at a kiosk and then wait for their order to be delivered to their table. Vendors are the North Star Eatery, an Asian Fusion concept by Kevin and Singh Hurt of Anise Global Bistro; Bar Ko-fe, a craft coffee bar whose beverages expand to coffee cocktails and beers by Ty Beddingfield; Bake ‘N’ Babes, desserts and confectionery by Julie Curry; the Collection, bespoke cocktails by mixologist Ro Patel; the Melte Shoppe, savory melted sandwiches and old-fashioned milkshakes by Tampa restaurateur Dave Burton; and Heights Fish Camp, a seafood and raw bar by Burton. The space within the Historic Heights storefront also includes outdoor seating, retail and live entertainment.
Six Eateries In One At New Tampa Food Hall”Travel Weekly

Indie Flea Selects Armature Works as New Location

Indie Flea, a monthly showcase of the best local and regional makers, is announcing they are moving their location in 2018 to Armature Works, a fully restored mixed-use building consisting of multiple event spaces, Heights Public Market (featuring over 14-food vendors), Bay 3, a co-shared workspace and two restaurants. The 73,000-square foot building is located just north of downtown Tampa directly on the Hillsborough River. Indie Flea market will be held monthly on every third Sunday; the first date in 2018 to be announced soon. Indie Flea’s growing market will be moving into the Gathering, the largest indoor event space at Armature Works. The Gathering is over 10,000 square feet and features exposed brick, reclaimed wood flooring and views to an open-air courtyard allowing access to the Heights Public Market. For more information about Indie Flea, visit For more information about Armature Works, visit

Development and Transportation

Morsani College of Medicine Under Construction

Construction on the University of South Florida (USF) Morsani College of Medicine is currently underway. The groundbreaking took place on Sept. 20, and the building is projected for completion by fall 2019. HOK, with offices in Tampa, is the design architect and planner of the medical education and research program. The local office of Skanska is the design-builder of the project. The current construction budget for the 13-story, 394,000-square-foot building is $156 million. The Morsani College of Medicine will create a new downtown Tampa campus for the University of South Florida and establish the school’s presence on the city’s skyline, according to Tom Thomas, senior vice president at HOK. “The building will serve as an anchor for a new 53-acre, multi-use development to create a more walkable and sustainable environment for downtown residents, workers, students and visitors,” said Thomas. The Morsani College of Medicine will be located in close proximity to USF’s primary teaching hospital and clinical affiliate, Tampa General Hospital.
“USF Morsani College of Medicine Construction Under Way”School Construction News

Apple Maps Transit Directions Available in Tampa

Apple recently updated its Maps app to add transit directions and data for Tampa, Florida, according to Apple’s iOS 11 Feature Availability website. Transit directions have been available in Miami, Florida since mid-2016, but have not expanded to other areas of the state. Transit options available in Tampa include the TECO Line Streetcar System, several bus lines, and Amtrak, which connects to other areas in Florida. Transit directions were first added to Apple Maps in 2015 as part of iOS 9. At launch, transit information was only available in a handful of cities, but Apple has been working hard to expand the feature to additional locations. Transit information is now live in dozens of cities and countries around the world, with a full list available on Apple’s iOS 11 Feature Availability website.
“Apple Maps Transit Directions Available in Tampa, Florida”

Laurel Street Bridge Name Change

Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco believes that changing the name of the Laurel Street Bridge to Fortune Taylor Bridge is one way to emphasize and keep alive the history of African-Americans in Tampa. In August the District 6 Councilman made the motion to make the name change in honor of Fortune Taylor, a freed slave woman who provided her land on the east bank of the Hillsborough River so the bridge that saved West Tampa could be built. In October, the council unanimously agreed to rename the bridge after Taylor, a trailblazer who is often overlooked in the annals of Tampa history. City officials say signage changes should take place over the next several weeks.
“Good Fortune: Why The Laurel Street Bridge Is About To Have A Name Change”Creative Loafing Tampa Bay

New Channel District Hotel

A dual-flag hotel will begin construction on a prime corner of downtown Tampa’s Channel district in early 2018. The nine-story hotel, which will carry the Hampton Inn by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton flags, will have 213 guest rooms and include a ground-floor Starbucks. It will be built on a currently vacant parcel at 1155 E. Kennedy Blvd., which is just under an acre. Liberty Group, the Tampa-based developer of the project, secured a $24.3 million construction loan for the project from Centennial Bank, Hillsborough County property records show. Liberty paid $3.25 million for the vacant land in 2016. The Channel district project is the “first purpose-built dual-branded hotel in West Florida,” Liberty said in a statement. The Home2 Suites by Hilton targets both business and leisure travelers, with a workstation and full kitchen. Wichman Construction is the general contractor on the hotel. Chancey Design Group is the architect and interior designer, and Hamilton Engineering is the civil engineer.
New Hotel In Downtown Tampa’s Channel District To Break Ground In 2018”Tampa Bay Business Journal

The Pearl Set to Open January

The Pearl, a 314-unit apartment building with 28,873 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, is slated to open next month with move-ins expected to begin January 15, 2018. Designed to enhance and compliment the already vibrant shopping, dining, entertainment and historic district of Downtown Tampa, the retail component of The Pearl is strategically positioned to serve Tampa Heights, Channelside, Seminole Heights, Ybor City, Downtown Tampa and beyond. From here, residents, employees, visitors and tourists will enjoy breathtaking views of the water and value the accessibility and energy of  the “live and learn, play and earn” lifestyle. View floorplans and reserve your apartment at  Read the Business Observer article.

Member Corner

FMoPA Hosts Photography Benefit Sale

The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts opened its annual Photography Benefit Sale last Monday in the Community Gallery. The Benefit Sale gives FMoPA members the chance to display and sell their work within a museum setting, and it gives museum visitors a rare opportunity to view—with the option of purchasing—work produced by local photographers. Fifty-four artists and more than 140 pieces will be included in the exhibition. All of the photographs are for sale. Artists set their own prices and will retain 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of their work. The exhibition will be on display through January 26, 2018.

TBARTA Transitioning to Transit

The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority has created a two-year action plan to ensure the agency effectively transitions from a transportation organization to a transit agency. During a recent meeting, TBARTA board members established four priorities as part of that plan, aimed at building on the agency’s strengths and mitigating its weaknesses. Final recommendations are expected after the new year, but preliminary results list five possibilities with a route along Interstate 275 connecting Pinellas and Hillsborough counties with light rail as the top-ranked plan. The TBARTA board based its action plan on a list of strengths and weaknesses it developed as part of its restructuring process; business community support is listed as a strength. TBARTA listed funding as a weakness, noting the lack of dedicated funding for new services. The agency’s current executive director, Ray Chiaramonte, announced during last week’s meeting he would not reapply for the position and will step down when his contract is up in 2019. In its action plan, the board listed finding a new leader with extensive experience in transit planning.
Tampa Bay Agency Takes First Steps To Overhaul Regional Transit”Tampa Bay Business Journal

THEA Completes Bond Sale for Refinancing

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) is pleased to announce that it was able to sell $152 million of bonds to advance refund its outstanding Series 2012B Bonds which generated savings of over $15 million in debt service payments, as well as issue $36 million of bonds to fund two improvement projects in an attractive rate environment. Proceeds from this bond sale will provide funds that enable the acceleration of the South Selmon Expressway Improvement Project and the Meridian Ultimate Improvement Project, both are vital to THEA’s commitment to provide safe and reliable transportation services to the Tampa Bay community.  For more information, call 813.272.6740 or email

Tampa Convention Center Launches New Website

In a joint effort with the City of Tampa’s Technology and Innovation Department and Marketing and Communications Division, the Tampa Convention Center recently launched a revamped website with improved design, functionality, and user-friendliness. This new website will serve as one of the facility’s most valuable touchpoints, where attendees, planners, and exhibitors can find important information and resources. Convention attendees will also benefit from the new website’s design, which highlights upcoming events and the latest news; including topics like parking, things to do in Tampa, recent events, and more. The new website also allows visitors to download an online menu and browse upcoming events at The Sail. The new Tampa Convention Center website can be found at

Call to Artists for 2018 GMF Poster

The 7th annual Gasparilla Music Festival (GMF) presented by Cigar City Brewing invites Tampa Bay area artists with a passion for music to enter the TBBCA-GMF Poster Contest, presented by Hill Ward Henderson in partnership with Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts and the Gasparilla Music Foundation. Artists interested in participating are requested to register their intent to submit prior to Friday, January 12th, 2018 by sending an email to Final artwork submission receipt deadline is Monday, February 5th, 2018. GMF 2018 will take place in downtown Tampa on March 10th & 11th and will feature musical acts from a wide variety of genres on several stages and cuisine from the region’s top restaurants. View more information.

Around Town

Murals Create Sense of Place in Tampa Heights

Spearheaded by Tony Krol and Michelle Sawyer of Illsol, Heights Walls is their new initiative to bring murals to neighborhoods that need it the most — not just in the Heights area, but throughout Tampa. While SHINE is a week-long mural festival that focuses on walls in the downtown area, Heights Walls’ interest lies in putting up art in unexpected places throughout the year. Heights Walls’ first major project will be the transformation of the shutters of Café Hey, thanks to funding from the Gobioff Foundation of Tampa. Krol and Sawyer have been exhibiting with Café Hey owner S. Cheong Choi over the years and worked closely with him to select artists that they’ve worked with before. Continually working with local artists on murals, Heights Walls also plans on bringing in outside artists for projects. Sponsors would help bring in artists like It’s a Living, a script-based muralist living in Brooklyn, to Tampa. If interested in sponsorship or donating to the Heights Walls initiative, you can email Tony Krol.
“Heights Walls Take Public Art In Tampa To New Heights”83 Degrees

Tampa Ranks as Top City for Runners

Tampa was made for runners. With Bayshore’s long stretch, Al Lopez Park’s loop, Tampa’s Riverwalk and numerous nature trails, local runners have an abundance of courses that keep running from getting stale. Now, Zumper is recognizing Tampa as one of the nation’s top cities for runners. Scoring Tampa with an “A” grade, Zumper gives kudos to the city for its year-round warm weather and numerous races throughout the year. In order to identify the top cities for runners in America, Zumper combined multiple data sets and created an index for each category. The following data sets were used: average temperature throughout the year, median 1-bedroom rent prices, acres of parkland per 1,000 residents, parkland as a percentage of total city acreage, and total number of running races in 2017.
“Tampa Ranks as a Top 10 City for Runners”That’s So Tampa

Latino Students Find Success at USF

The University of South Florida Tampa has been recognized as a top performing university — fourth in the nation overall and the number one public university — for eliminating the completion gap between Latino and white students, according to a report released by The Education Trust, a non-profit advocacy organization. The report examines graduation rates and completion gap data between Latino and white full-time, bachelor’s degree-seeking students at 613 public and non-profit private colleges and universities across the United States. The publication reveals that nationally 53.6 percent of Latino students graduate within six years, compared to 63.3 percent of white students (as of 2015). This represents a marked improvement over 2002 when only 45.7 percent of Latinos graduated versus 58.1 percent of white students.
“University of South Florida Named the Top Public University in the Nation for Latino Student Success”Tampa Bay Newswire

Tampa Ranks Among Best College Towns

To help prospective college students narrow down their school choices and to follow up our report on 2018’s College & University Rankings, WalletHub compared more than 400 U.S. cities of varying sizes based on 28 key indicators of academic, social and economic opportunities for students. The data set ranges from cost of living to quality of higher education to crime rate. Tampa ranked number 9 for the best overall ranking. View the full list and description of WalletHub’s methodology.

Hillsborough Libraries Eliminate Overdue Fines

On Jan. 1, the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative (HCPLC) will become the largest system of its kind in the country to eliminate fines for overdue materials. The new approach does not entirely eliminate fees. Library patrons still will be charged for lost or damaged materials. And any fines posted to a cardholder’s account before Jan. 1 will remain. Details about the new policy are available on the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative (HCPLC) website, along with information about branch locations, upcoming events, and other library services.

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