Monday Morning Memo

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Partnership Presents

Happy Holidays!

Tampa Downtown Partnership wishes you and yours a very happy holiday season. 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. A very special thanks to the Rampello Downtown Partnership K-8 Magnet School for providing the artwork for our holiday cards!

Employee Transportation Planning

Did you know the Tampa Downtown Partnership works with companies to create an Employee Transportation Plan? This free consulting looks at the travel needs of both employees and customers. Recommendations include many free and low-cost strategies such as Best Workplaces for Commuters certification. They can also create good publicity for your business. Contact Karen Kress to get started.

Grant Programs Bring Art to Downtown

The following is an excerpt from a full story covered by Bay News 9 reporter, Sara Belsole. Read the full article on their website at

Artist Meghan Scalise, who owns Tada! Traditional and Digital Arts, has painted three murals in downtown thanks to a public activation grant from the Tampa Downtown Partnership. “Murals are a great way to add life to a building that maybe doesn’t have great architectural character, or maybe to an area that you want to give a community identity to,” Ashly Anderson, Senior Design Manager for the Tampa Downtown Partnership, said. Grant applicants can be reimbursed up to $2,500 for their art. The project has to be in Downtown Tampa and in a place where the public can access it. It doesn’t only apply to murals; it can also include installations, events and performances.

Bike Friendly Tampa

Cooler weather is here making perfect biking conditions around Tampa and local companies are showing their support. Over 32 companies in Tampa are considered a Bicycle Friendly Business. Bicycle Friendly Businesses have passed a certification program for companies that demonstrate commitment to promoting and supporting cycling. This national program is administered through the League of American Cyclists and brought to you by Tampa Downtown Partnership, the City of Tampa, Florida Department of Transportation, and Pedal Power Promoters. Merchants and companies interested in applying for certification can visit Tampa BayCycle. See which local companies completed the certification process and the special incentives they offer to customers who arrive on bike. Watch for ongoing updates to this list.

Have a Great Idea for Downtown?

Do you have a great idea that you think will enhance Tampa’s Downtown? We want to hear from you! Tampa Downtown Partnership is calling all creatives and Downtown business owners or property managers to apply to our Activation Grant and Storefront Café Grant programs! The purpose of the Tampa Downtown Public Space Activation Grant Program is to create unique, publicly accessible activations in the public realm. The proposed projects must enhance the downtown experience via the arts and/or social good.  The purpose of the Tampa Downtown Storefront and Sidewalk Café Grant Program is to support and encourage more investment in the street level appearance and activation through storefront and sidewalk cafe improvements. Learn more about the grants and download the applications here.

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.

Witness to History Christmas Tour

Tuesday, December 26, begins at 3pm
Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Le Méridien Tampa
The Docents of Friends of Sacred Heart Catholic Church have teamed up with Le Méridien Tampa to host a special Christmas tour of the two sister properties that originally opened in the same year: 1905. For more information, go to Witness to History Christmas Tour.

TFO and Harry Potter in Concert

Thursday, December 28 to Saturday, December 30
Straz Center for the Performing Arts
The Harry Potter™ film series is a once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomena that continues to delight millions of fans around the world. This fall, The Florida Orchestra will perform legendary composer John Williams’ Academy Award nominated score while audiences experience the magic of the film in high-definition on a giant 40-foot screen. Justin Freer will conduct. For more information, go to TFO and Harry Potter in Concert.

NYE Wrap Party 2017

Sunday, December 31, begins 9pm
Tampa Theatre
Hop in the DeLorean, rev it up to 88 miles an hour, and see where (or when?) it takes you at this Back to the Future themed party! New Year’s Eve guests will be among the first to see the newly completed restoration work, which will take the historic movie palace “back in time” to its original 1926 look and colors. Party-goers will enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and desserts, dancing with live music, the ball drop on the big screen, and an open beer-and-wine bar all night long. Lab coats, puffy vests, and other Back to the Future-inspired costumes are encouraged! For more information, go to NYE Wrap Party 2017.

Fireworks at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park

Sunday, December 31, begins at Midnight
Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park
Ring in the New Year with this free firework display. With the support of Channelside and the City of Tampa, the Friends of the Riverwalk organization has arranged this family-friendly, alcohol-free firework viewing. The fireworks show will begin at midnight and is expected to be the largest fireworks display in Tampa Bay! For more information, go to Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park.

This Week at Amalie Arena

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens – Thursday, December 28, begins 7:30pm
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Philadelphia Flyers – Friday, December 29, begins 7:30pm
WWE Live Holiday Tour – Saturday, December 30, begins 7:30pm
Jim Gaffigan – Sunday, December 31, begins 7:30pm

Doing Business in Downtown

Retail Spotlight: Caffe Fresco

Located on the first floor of the Bank of America building, Caffe Fresco celebrated 13 years of service on December 14. Order lunch from Caffé Fresco or grab & go from the Marketplace while you shop! If you need a gift, gift bag or greeting card, Caffe Fresco has you covered. They are open from 6:45am until 4pm and offer catering and online deliveries within a seven-mile radius. Find them on the Bite Squad App!

Tampa Bay Wave Welcomes New Board Members

Tampa Bay Wave, Inc. (Wave), a local nonprofit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs build, launch, and grow breakout tech businesses in Tampa Bay, has announced the addition of three new members to their board of directors. The board also announced the reappointment of Alfred Goldberg of Absolute Marketing Solutions who will remain in the role of Board Chair. Joe Hodges is an entrepreneur who has created, grown, and sold companies across the United States. Stewart Kelly is an experienced sales account executive at Florida Blue with over 9 years of experience in the health insurance industry. To learn more about Tampa Bay Wave and its board of directors, visit

Gen-X Tavern Opening Mid-2018

Gen-X Tavern, an ’80s and ’90s-themed bar planned in downtown Tampa, is on track to be open by mid-2018. Dave Burton, the restaurateur behind the concept, said he has hired Parkland Builders of Tampa for the construction of the tavern. Parkland Builders did the buildout of Goody Goody in Hyde Park Village and Island Grille and Raw Bar in Tierra Verde. Burton estimates startup costs at $250,000 to $300,000. Once permits are granted, construction could take 14 to 18 weeks, Burton said.
Gen-X Tavern, Planned In Downtown Tampa, On Track For Mid-2018 Opening (Renderings)”Tampa Bay Business Journal

Q&A With the Architect Behind Tampa Theatre Restoration

Senior Principal Architect Paul Westlake of DLR Group (formerly of Westlake Reed Leskosky in Cleveland) is leading the restoration of Tampa Theatre in downtown Tampa. Westlake, an expert in historic restoration, has worked on a host of architecturally significant projects including the Phoenix Orpheum Theater, the Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre in the Denver Arts Complex, the fourth district Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland, the Potter Stewart Federal Courthouse in Cincinnati, Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, M. K. Ferguson Plaza, Cleveland’s St. Stanislaus Church, numerous projects for Playhouse Square and the Cleveland Clinic, and cultural arts facilities throughout the United States. Westlake is also working on a master plan to restore and expand the Straz Center for the Performing Arts along the Tampa Riverwalk in downtown. 83 Degrees asked Westlake to share his observations and insights on the Tampa Theatre restoration project, read the full article.

Development and Transportation

Union Station Becoming an Events Venue

Tampa’s historic Union Station is on the verge of becoming an events venue. The city and Good Food Events will enter into a revenue sharing agreement in which the city is entitled to 20 percent of the first $500,000 in gross revenue; 15 percent of the second $500,000; and 10 percent of $1 million in gross revenue. Good Food Events is also required to set aside 1 percent of gross annual revenue for marketing the property as a special events venue. The company must submit marketing activity reports to the city on a quarterly basis. Friends of Tampa Union Station, a nonprofit group of citizens concerned with the preservation of the station, had called for the city to seek an events management contract for the property, concerned that the city was missing out on the chance to generate revenue for the upkeep of the building. Union Station was built in 1912.
“Downtown Tampa’s Union Station on The Verge of Becoming Special Events Venue” Tampa Bay Business Journal

Port Orders Audit of Expenses

Six months after television news reports raised pointed questions about port officials’ restaurant and entertainment spending, Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson said Tuesday he is commissioning an outside audit of the port’s business development and promotional spending for the past three years. It is, he said, an exercise in “utmost transparency” and expects that it will help show how the port has grown its business by recruiting new and different kinds of tenants as well as retaining existing tenants. The Tampa accounting firm of Rivero, Gordimer & Company will conduct the audit, which is expected to cost less than $100,000 and will look at business development and promotional expenditures since Jan. 1, 2014. Port officials said promotional spending, which includes the cost of hosting, participating in or traveling to about 70 business development events a year, averages about 2 percent of operating revenues.
“After Questions, Port Tampa Bay Commissions Outside Audit Of Promotional Spending”Tampa Bay Times

City Amends Plans for Downtown Development

A New Orleans developer’s plans for a mixed-use tower on a prime piece of city-owned real estate have been delayed by environmental concerns. The amended agreement acknowledges that the site has possible petroleum contamination and outlines a remediation process for the property. Remediation is expected to begin on or about Jan. 31, 2018, the same closing time frame outlined in the agreement. The purchase price is $7.6 million. The agreement outlines plans for a $103 million development: a 17-story, dual-branded hotel with at least 106 rooms franchised as a Hyatt House and at least 239 rooms franchised as a Hyatt Place, along with 3,400 square feet of meeting and event space, a fitness center and rooftop amenity deck with pool. The tower will feature at least 2,500 square feet of storefronts along East Jackson Street.
Tampa Looks To Modify Deal With New Orleans Developer Before Selling Off Prime Downtown Lot”Tampa Bay Business Journal

TBARTA Holds Vision Workshop

On Friday, December 8, the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) Governing Board held a vision workshop to renew its purpose, mission, goals, and guiding principles, and established an action plan to refocus the agency’s mission to bring regional transit service to Tampa Bay. The workshop, led by John Kaliski of Cambridge Systematics, started with discussion on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the new TBARTA. Highlights from the discussion and board input included: (Read more)

Member Corner

What’s Next for Tampa Theatre

CEO John Bell: “The improvements made in Phase One of our restoration are spectacular. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see greater momentum in our fundraising efforts [to get to the next $6 million goal] as audiences return to more pleasant seating, a visibly refreshed lobby with vivid new colors and detailing, and a completely rethought concessions area.” While minor work may continue into 2018, theatre programming ramps back up as soon as the scaffolding is dismantled and extension cords are stowed. Phase Two plans for more infrastructural upgrades and a thorough makeover of the auditorium, of similar scope to work on the lobby. A granular-level analysis of that space, with more surface area, elevation, and decorative features, could cost $2 million alone.
“Urban Stimuli: A Peek Inside Restoration Of Tampa Theatre”83 Degrees

Hill Ward Henderson Associate Named to GIFF Board

Timothy P. Zehnder, attorney at Hill Ward Henderson, was recently elected to serve on the Gasparilla International Film Festival’s (GIFF) Board of Directors. GIFF is a cultural arts institution that inspires, educates, and entertains Tampa Bay’s diverse population through an annual celebration of film, year-round events, community outreach, and social awareness initiatives that foster communication, generate economic impact, and provide support for the film industry of Tampa Bay and the State of Florida. GIFF, founded in 2006, has grown into an entertaining and educational year-round entity in Tampa Bay over the past ten years. The Festival has created a unique film showcase that intends to have a lasting and cultural impact on the Tampa Bay Community, and the film community at large.

CDCA Awards Outstanding Partner to Stageworks

Congratulations to Stageworks Theatre! Vance Arnett, President of the Channelside District Community Alliance (CDCA), presented Karla Hartley, Producing Artistic Director with Staeworks Theatre, the Outstanding Community Builder and Parner Award. The mission of the CDCA is to enhance the connected nature of the residential community by improving communication, scheduling social and educational events for residents and fostering an attitude of tolerance and inclusion.  It also promotes businesses within the District and those hoping to relocate to the District, especially creative industries. The CDCA also works collaboratively with other neighborhoods, government and quasi-government agencies, and developers to improve and enhance the neighborhood. 

Jobsite Theatre Announces Replacement Play

Weeks after pulling a scheduled play due to sexual misconduct allegations against celebrated playwright Israel Horovitz, Tampa’s Jobsite Theater has announced a replacement. HIR, by Taylor Mac, will run March 9-April 1, the period originally scheduled for Horovitz’s Man in Snow. In recent years, Jobsite had forged a close relationship with Horovitz, working with him on several plays. Leaders decided the same day they heard about the allegations to cancel Man in Snow. HIR is a comedy that follows an aging mother who has decided, with the help of her transgender son, to take out the patriarchy. The title also mirrors the gender-neutral pronoun (pronounced hee-ir).
Jobsite Theater Selects ‘HIR’ By Taylor Mac To Replace ‘Man In Snow’”Tampa Bay Times

Creative Writing Speaker Series

The University of Tampa MFA in Creative Writing speaker series, “Lectores,” will feature 11 readings from a mix of award-winning visiting authors and UT’s world-renowned MFA faculty from Jan.  4–11. The UT MFA in Creative Writing program works by bringing students for 10-day residencies in January and June, and then facilitating individual mentorship between students and writing faculty from a distance. Throughout each residency, Lectores speakers give a 45–50-minute evening reading, followed by a book-signing. The next morning, the author gives a 60–70-minute seminar, on a topic of their choice, for the program’s student body. For more information, go to or call Lynne Bartis at (813) 257-3514.

Around Town

Gonzmart Unveils New Restaurant Concept

The waterfront property that was once home to Pattigeorge’s on Longboat Key will be reborn as Tampa restaurateur Richard Gonzmart’s latest brainchild. Gonzmart, the fourth-generation CEO of Columbia Restaurant Group, said Monday that he will develop The Buccaneer on the Pattigeorge’s property. The original Pattigeorge’s building will be torn down, and The Buccaneer — complete with “antiques and artifacts from the golden age of the buccaneers” that Gonzmart has picked up in his travels — will be built in its place, slated to open in 2019. The Buccaneer’s executive chef will be Mark Boor, who has worked at Fulton’sCrab House in Disney Springs as well as Trio Bistro in Cincinnati.
Gonzmart Unveils Plans For Longboat Key Restaurant”Tampa Bay Business Journal

Downpayments Lower in Tampa than Average

Homebuyers in the Tampa Bay area don’t have to shell out as much on downpayments as buyers in many other places. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, the median downpayment for a bay area home in the quarter ended in September was $13,750 compared to $20,000 nationally, an all-time high. Among major metro areas, Tampa Bay ranked 54th nationally with its median downpayment equal to just 6.5 percent of purchase price — less than that in Fort Myers, Miami, Naples, Sarasota, Orlando and Jacksonville. San Francisco was No. 1 with a median downpayment of $247,000, and 11 other markets topped the $50,000 mark.
“Another Reason To Buy A Home In Tampa Bay? Down Payments Are Lower Here”Tampa Bay Times

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.

Hillsborough County’s Holiday Hours

Most Hillsborough County offices and many public facilities will be closed certain work days or have adjusted schedules during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. Also, schedules for libraries in the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative include early closings during the holidays. For information about specific locations, call (813) 273-3652 or visit

Yacht Starship Expands Clearwater Fleet

Yacht StarShip Cruises & Events newest luxury dining yacht, Yacht StarShip IV, has just arrived and will begin public dining cruises and private events on December 23, 2017. This is the fourth yacht to be added to the fleet since 2001 and is the third largest in the fleet. The yacht has undergone an extensive million dollar renovation and will double the dining capacity for the Clearwater Beach location. The new yacht will also bring new jobs to the area and add an experience to compliment the new upscale hotels on Clearwater Beach. The Yacht will replace Yacht Sensation and will be the largest 150 passenger dining yacht operating in Clearwater Beach. Measuring 124 feet in length, the Yacht features spacious dining salons with seating for 150 dining guests, a luxury bridal suite, dance floor with entertainment, a second deck cocktail lounge and bar, open-air third deck, and a full galley to prepare Yacht StarShip’s AAA three-diamond rated menu.

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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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