Monday Morning Memo

Monday, February 11, 2019

Board Member Spotlight: David M. Mechanik

David Mechanik was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1977. He practices in the areas of land use, environmental, real estate transactions, governmental relations, local government law and government relations, including economic incentives. Mr. Mechanik is also a Certified Planner (AICP), as designated by the American Planning Association and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator.

He represents both private and governmental clients in connection with the sale, acquisition, financing and development of real estate, including Developments of Regional Impact (DRI), comprehensive plan amendments, development agreements (including utility and annexation agreements), rezoning, historic preservation and environmental matters. He has also drafted numerous comprehensive plan text amendments and revisions to land development codes. Mr. Mechanik frequently appears before local, state and federal agencies and handles administrative hearings and litigation pertaining to these areas of practice.

He has served on several committees of the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs (now known as the Department of Economic Opportunity) which were created to develop rules pertaining to DRIs, including the drafting of the first DRI Transportation Rule.

Significant projects for which he has been involved include:  International Plaza (Tampa), Pineapple Square (Sarasota), Tampa General Hospital (TGH) Rehabilitation Center and TGH Administrative Office Complex (Tampa), IKEA (Tampa), Le Jeune Center (Miami), Harbour Island (Tampa), Amalie Arena (Tampa), Murdock Village (Charlotte County), On Top of the World (Clearwater and Ocala), Highwoods Preserve and Highwoods Independence Park (Tampa), Crosstown Center (Hillsborough County), Hidden River (Tampa), Tampa Palms (Tampa); Sabal Park (Hillsborough County), Osceola Corporate Center (Osceola County), Cypress Creek (Pasco County), Pinellas Park (Pinellas), Gateway Center (Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg), Embassy Suites (Downtown Tampa), and Tampa Port Authority Cruise Ship Terminals and Channelside Shops (Tampa).

Mr. Mechanik is also active in community activities. He has served on the following boards and committees:

  • Member of Super Bowl XXXV and XLIII Task Forces
  • Chairman and member of the Tampa Sports Authority Board of Directors
  • Founding member and Chairman of the Tampa Downtown Partnership; currently serves on its Executive Committee and Board of Directors
  • Chairman of the Growth Management and Planning Implementation Councils; of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce; currently co-chairs the Policy Council and member of the Board of Directors
  • Vice-Chairman of the Hillsborough County Charter Review Board
  • President of the Westshore Alliance; currently serves as an Ex Officio member of the Executive Committee and member of the Board of Directors
  • City of Tampa Task Force which lured the Tampa Bay Lightning to downtown Tampa; involved in the land assemblage and financing for Amalie Arena
  • Chairman and member of the Board of Directors of the Hillsborough County Regional Transit Authority (HART)
  • President of Tampa Historic Streetcar, Inc.
  • Hillsborough County Transportation Task Force
  • Hillsborough County Economic Prosperity Committee

Commuter Challenge Week 2019

Fall in love with your commute! In partnership with Plan Hillsborough, the Tampa Downtown Partnership invites you to join us in a Commuter Challenge Week, and leave your car at home to try another mode of transportation during the week of February 11 – 15. You can participate with us by trying a different way of getting around for a single trip, day, or for the week, and sharing your experience with us on social media by using the hashtag #CommuterChallenge19.

View more information and access transportation resources.

Upcoming Partnership Events

Downtown Debriefing Series: West River Development

Join the Tampa Downtown Partnership as we welcome City officials and developers of the West River Development Plan to discuss how they plan to create a genuinely diverse and economically integrated community with over 1,600 new residential units. The West River Redevelopment Plan focuses on a 120-acre area bounded by Rome Avenue, Columbus Avenue, the Hillsborough River and Interstate-275.


Mickey Jacob
Chairman, Tampa Downtown Partnership
Principal – Design Studio, BDG Architects


Leroy Moore
Sr. Vice President, Chief Operating Officer
Tampa Housing Authority

Keith Greminger, AIA, NCARB
Sr. Planning and Urban Design Manager

Brett Green
Director of Acquisitions
Related Group

Randy Goers
Project Manager
City of Tampa

February 26, 2019
7:30am – 9am
The Straz Center

Register today!

Sponsor this event and get your company’s name in front of Tampa’s most engaged business leaders and decision makers. View sponsorship opportunities.



Tampa’s Downtown Welcomes Traveling Oktoberfest Experience

The Tampa Downtown Partnership is excited to partner with the Goethe-Institut USA (German Cultural Center), in cooperation and collaboration with Hofbrahaus America, presenting “Wiesn in a Box”. This traveling Oktoberfest experience is touring throughout 2019 and will bring an authentic Biergarten experience to three different downtown neighborhoods in the month of February. This pop-up German biergarten experience will bring a creative mix of fresh baked pretzels, Hofbrahaus products, authentic biergarten seating along with fun games and music.

Wiesn in a Box can be found at MacDill Park on the Riverwalk Feb. 15-17, Barrymore along the Riverwalk Feb. 25-27 and Grand Central courtyard March 1-3.

Get social with it! #wiesninabox #wunderbartogether @wiesninabox

Read this Creative Loafing article about Wiesn in a Box.



Save the Date: Downtown Development Forum

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, and arts and entertainment professionals and those interested in improving downtown are in attendance. This year we welcome David Downey, President and CEO of the International Downtown Association (IDA), 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.

April 12, 2019
8am – noon
Armature Works

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

Registration is open!



Register Today for the Mayor’s River O’Green Gallop

Walk, run, jump, or jig your way through the River O’Green Gallop as you kick off the day of celebration with a healthy start. This Fun Run will take you 1 mile south along the Tampa Riverwalk, to the History Center, and back with enough time to snag a great viewing spot for the dying of the river, which commences at 11:00am. Be sure to register early, space is limited.

All participants receive a Mayor’s River O’Green tee-shirt as well as a race packet that would rival a pot of gold.

Race Details

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Location: The southwest corner of Curtis Hixon Park
600 N. Ashley Dr.
Walk-up Registration: 8:30am
Pre-registered Registration: 9:00am
Race Begins: 10:00am


Click here to register
Pre-registration: $25
Day of registration:$30

Buddy Brew Now Open in Park Tower

After numerous requests and a little finesse, Buddy Brew Coffee founders Dave and Susan Ward are gearing up to open their latest craft coffee shop in Downtown Tampa. The husband-and-wife duo’s sixth location (and sleekest one yet) officially starts keeping the neighborhood caffeinated Monday, Feb. 11.

Customers will find it on the bottom floor of the Park Tower office building at 400 N. Tampa St.

This new Buddy Brew has been in the works for nearly two years. After the Wards signed their lease in summer 2017, renovations on the shop’s 2,000-square-foot space — and the tower itself — went into full gear.

Cool gray and black tones mingle with leather accents throughout the location. The steel cutout of the Buddy Brew logo seems like the perfect backdrop for latte art photos. And coffee beans, mugs and branded socks and tees keep the merch wall shelves fully stocked.

Max del Monte, a local artist who goes by the name No Reserves™, has even created a 10-foot-by-10-foot custom piece illustrating the coffee roasting process. His work will be unveiled during the launch next week.

But the best part just might be the full-length glass doors that serve as the lobby and street entrances. They make the shop easy to find, which was difficult prior to Park Tower’s multimillion-dollar revamp.

“Years ago, people wouldn’t have known about this building if it weren’t for Lucky Dill in the back corner,” Dave said. “Now the space is much more inviting.”

The owner of the building, Larry Feldman, wanted to incorporate the community, as Dave puts it, and he knew Buddy Brew could fit the bill.

Offering full coffee and espresso service, plus sandwiches and pastries, 15 Buddy Brew employees are set to work the floor and wrap-around marble espresso bar. Dave predicts the location will fill lots of catering orders for the surrounding high-rises.

The shop features seating for up to 40 customers in a variety of forms, including a lounge area, stools at the bar and a couple of high-top community tables. It also pairs free wifi with many outlets and USB ports for keeping laptops and other portable devices charged.

“Once people are in the downtown area [and find parking], they don’t leave, so we’re ready to fill their needs to get through the workday,” he continued.

Once the doors open, cups of joe will flow from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The shop is closed on weekends to start, but it expects to expand hours of operation to meet the needs of downtown Tampa.

What’s next for the specialty roaster?

“If we don’t do something in St. Pete soon,” Dave said, “there will be a revolt.”

“Buddy Brew Coffee gearing up to open next shop in downtown Tampa”Creative Loafing Tampa Bay

Construction Begins on Heights Union Creative Office Center

The future home of WeWork in downtown Tampa is officially under construction.

WeWork, a New York City-based coworking concept, will occupy 50,000 square feet in Heights Union Creative Office Center in The Heights, the mixed-use development anchored by Armature Works. The first phase of Heights Union, a 150,000-square-foot office building, broke ground on Wednesday, SoHo Capital said on social media. The total project is 300,000 square feet.

SoHo Capital, the master developer of The Heights, is partnered with Atlanta-based TPA Group on the office portion of the district. TPA paid $8.8 million for the land, 2.58 acres on the block of The Heights that’s south of West Palm Avenue, north of West Oak Avenue and between North Highland Avenue and North Tampa Street, in late January.

TPA Group also secured a $60.8 million construction loan from Pinnacle Bank for the project.

DPR Construction is the builder on the project. City building permits peg costs for site and foundation work at $19.5 million.

In addition to WeWork, AxoGen Inc., a medical technology company, has signed a lease for 75,000 square feet in Heights Union.

“Construction begins on WeWork’s future home in the Heights”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Streetcar Schedule Now Available in Real Time

Ah, the not-so-new, but always improving TECO streetcar. It conveniently gets us Loafers from our Ybor office to downtown Tampa and plays host to a free monthly concert series curated by Gasparilla Music Festival. What’s more is that the streetcar does it for free, too.

The only problem? Despite posted schedules, you never know when it’s really coming to pick you up. Well, not anymore, my friend.

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit system has linked its trolley cars to the OneBusAway Tampa app, which provides users with real-time arrival information. And you don’t necessarily have to download anything, either.

The app or mobile browser are definitely the easiest ways to use OneBusAway; all they require the user to do is access the search feature and use “800,” the streetcar’s route number, to unveil real-time travel information by stop and also see where the streetcar is on a live map.

Anyone low on data can also text or use a touchtone phone to access information. More user instructions are available via HART.

“TECO Tampa streetcar schedule now available in real-time”Creative Loafing Tampa Bay

Dual Flag Hotel Breaks Ground Tuesday

The developer of a 17-story hotel in downtown Tampa will officially mark its groundbreaking next week.

New Orleans-based HRI and the city of Tampa plan to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Hyatt Place + Hyatt House Hotels at 405 E. Kennedy Blvd. Site work has been underway on that property, which HRI bought from the city, for some time.

HRI paid $7.6 million for the property in November 2018 after winning a bid for it in September 2016. (See the rejected proposals here.) The development agreement with the city outlines 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.

“New Orleans developer to mark groundbreaking of 17-story hotel in downtown Tampa” Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Straz Center offers Arts Education Partnerships

Applications for the Straz Center’s 2019-2020 Arts Education Partnership Program, now in its 11th year of service, are available online. Application deadline is Friday, April 5, 2019.

The Straz Center seeks to provide high-quality arts learning programs through outreach partnerships. Through this program, the Straz is delivering services at no cost to more than 50 schools and service agencies. Services include sequential performing arts training, teaching artist visits, workshops, master classes and tickets to see study-related performances at the Straz Center. In addition, the Straz Center provides scholarship opportunities for students who wish to pursue further training at the Patel Conservatory.

The application process includes an online application, interview and site visit. Previous partners must reapply to be considered. Selection criteria include, but are not limited to: demonstrated need, student demographics and geographic location.

To complete a Partnership Program application, visit the Arts Education Community Partners page on the Straz Center’s website here. More information is available by calling 813.222.6425 or emailing

“Straz Center offers Arts Education Partnerships”Tampa Bay Newswire

Bank Merger to Impact Downtown’s Skyline, Office Market

The $66 billion merger of SunTrust Banks Inc. and BB&T Corp. will have a significant effect on downtown Tampa, from the availability of skyline signage to big blocks of office space.

BB&T is paying $28.24 billion for SunTrust in an all-stock deal that stunned the Tampa Bay banking industry. The merged bank’s headquarters will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, and executives say they do not yet have a name for it.

Both banks are among the largest office tenants in downtown Tampa, and both have prominent signage on downtown towers. With an illuminated ziggurat, SunTrust Financial Centre is among the most recognizable buildings in the urban core. BB&T’s name is perched atop Park Tower, downtown’s original office tower.

BB&T occupies 51,686 square feet in Park Tower, according to CBRE Group Inc. SunTrust, which once occupied 77,000 square feet, significantly downsized in 2018 and how has 42,000 square feet.

Brent Miller, managing director of JLL’s Tampa office, said the naming rights to a downtown office tower could sell for as much as $100,000 per year.

“I think in this market, the naming rights are going to be for sale,” Miller said. “It’s definitely going to have a cost associated with it. The market has shifted to where tenants are now paying for signage.”

It’s too soon to know what the merged bank’s presence will look like anywhere, let alone in downtown Tampa. But it’s likely the combined company will need less space than the two current ones combined, Miller said.

That open space is an opportunity in downtown Tampa, where office vacancy rates have dwindled to record lows in recent years, particularly for top-tier locations.

“I honestly think there will be a consolidation,” Miller said, “but you’re talking about losing maybe 20,000 square feet in a market that doesn’t have a lot of nice space available.”

Regardless of mergers, banks and financial institutions have been downsizing their real estate in recent years, according to a 2018 report from JLL. Wells Fargo occupies 45,765 square feet in the Wells Fargo Center, and Bank of America has 92,077 square feet in Bank of America Plaza.

“The larger financial institutions occupy more than 150 million square feet of office space across the United States, with almost 100 million square feet located outside of their headquarters cities,” according to the report. “Given the need to drive efficiency through integration, we expect to see a portion of this space resized as companies digitize functions, allowing them to consolidate operations.”

“Your name here: BB&T-SunTrust merger opens up opportunities in downtown Tampa’s office market”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

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.

Heights Night Market

Wednesday, February 13, begins 6pm
Armature Works
A monthly evening market taking place on 7th Ave in front of Armature Works, feature a rotating cast of artisanal creators, makers, and artists selling handmade goods, jewelry, art, wood-work, gifts and so much more. Heights Night Market is free to attend, family-friendly, and features live music at each event. For more information, go to Heights Night Market.

Old Fashioned Night Out

Thursday, February 14, begins 5pm
Bizou Brasserie
Couples of five months or 50 years are invited to this Valentine’s Day experience, where the food will make you fall in love all over again until the barrelhouse music of the jazz band lures your toes to tap out onto the dance floor. Chef Cody created a four-course prix-fixe menu sure to put stars in your eyes, and a five-piece jazz band will play your way through dinner. For more info, go to Old Fashioned Night Out.

Tampa Bay Fresh Fest

Friday, February 15 and Saturday, February 16
Downtown Tampa
Artistic leaders from across Tampa Bay are launching a mural project that looks to beautify communities, engage the public, support accessible art, and amplify public arts programming in Tampa. The project aims to forge partnerships with arts organizations, artists, and local businesses to create more than 12 large scale works of public art throughout the Tampa area. For more information, go to Tampa Bay Fresh Fest.

Taking the Stage at the Straz Center

Hundred Days – Through Sunday, March 24
Arts Legacy REMIX: Black Artists Film Series – Through Sunday, February 17
Jeremy Douglass: Broadway Pre-Show – Tuesday, February 12, begins 7pm
Hamilton – Tuesday, February 12 to Sunday, March 10
Farruquito: King of Flamenco – Wednesday, February 13, begins 8pm
mad Theatre presents Heathers The Musical – Thursday, February 14 to Sunday, March 3
Live & Local – Connor Zwetsch – Friday, February 15, 6pm to 9pm
The Florida Orchestra – The Planets – Friday, February 15, begins 8pm
C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert – Saturday, February 16 and Sunday, February 17

On the Marquee at Tampa Theatre

OSCAR®-Nominated Animated Short Films (2018) – Through Wednesday, February 27
OSCAR®-Nominated Documentary Short Films (2018) – Through Tuesday, February 26
OSCAR®-Nominated Live Action Short Films (2018) – Through Wednesday, February 27
Bert Kreischer – Thursday, February 14 and Friday, February 15
Jo Koy – Saturday, February 16, begins 8pm
Goldfinger (1964) – Sunday, February 17, begins 1:30pm
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) – Sunday, February 17, 4pm to 6pm
Casino Royale (2006) – Sunday, February 17, 7pm to 9:30pm

This Week at Amalie Arena

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Calgary Flames – Tuesday, February 12, begins 7:30pm
Michael Bublé – Wednesday, February 13, begins 7pm
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars – Thursday, February 14, begins 7:30pm
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens – Saturday, February 16, begins 7pm

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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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