Michael Kilgore, a longtime Tampa resident, joined the Columbia Restaurant Group as Chief Marketing Officer in July of 2013.
Kilgore oversees marketing and public relations for the seven Columbia locations throughout Florida and Ulele which opened in the spring of 2014 in Tampa Heights.
Kilgore most recently worked at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa as vice president of marketing, where his department was in charge of event marketing, institutional marketing for Straz Center restaurants, retail and development marketing, PR, graphics, publications, customer service, digital and social marketing and video production.
During his time there, the Straz Center’s Carol Morsani Hall was named one of the top five most-attended venues in the world (under 5,000 seats) for the last 10 years, according to Billboard and Venues Today magazines.
Before that, Michael worked as Marketing Director for The Tampa Tribune, where he was in charge of circulation and advertising, marketing, promotions, graphics and special sections plus exclusive signage deals and sponsorships of the Bucs, Lightning, Rays and USF among many others. He started his career at the Tribune in News — as a writer, editor and senior news executive.
He has been very involved in the Tampa Bay area community, serving on the boards of Visit Tampa Bay (as chairman), Tampa Theatre, MOSI, Florida Aquarium, Eckerd College advisors and the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts. He is the current chairman of Sherloq Solutions, a Tampa-based, national business-to-business firm that provides debt collection, extended business office and other services. He’s also on the UT Board of Fellows, and was a USF Mass Communications Alumni of the Year.
In 2009, he was named the Road Marketer of the Year by the Broadway League, an organization that represents Broadway producers and presenters (such as the Straz). He was the chairman or co-chairman of the Performing Arts Center Consortium Marketing Committee and the Broadway League Road Advisory Committee.
Take the Tampa Bay Commuters Pledge: Between February and June 2019, commuters around Tampa Bay will pledge to commute to work through public transit, biking, carpooling, walking, and teleworking. The campaign was created by the Tampa Downtown Partnership, New North Transportation Alliance, and Westshore Alliance. This campaign is funded by the Florida Department of Transportation District Seven Commuter Assistance Program. These organizations work together to promote transportation choices that improve commuting to work or school.
Eligibility: Commuters traveling for work or school (university or college) to/from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are eligible to participate in the campaign and win prizes. You can take the pledge for any mode at any time. Weekly prize winners will be drawn from the mode of the month pledges (Feb: Transit, Mar: Bike, Apr: Carpool, May: Walk, June: Telework/Compressed Work Week), announced on the website and via the Bike/Walk Tampa Bay Twitter and Facebook page. Prize winners will be notified by email. Increase your chances of winning by pledging for each mode. Must be 18 years of age or older.
Click here for more information on the challenge.
View more information and access transportation resources.
Sponsor Tampa Downtown Partnership events and get your company’s name in front of Tampa’s most engaged business leaders and decision makers. Opportunities range from in-kind sponsorships to presenting sponsorships. Events include the Downtown Development Forum, 2019 Urban Excellence Awards, 3rd Annual Meeting and Luncheon, Downtown Debriefing Series: Fall and Spring, and Downtown Security Series. If you or your company would like more information, please view our Sponsorship Form or contact Ivy Niven at email@example.com.
Hooray for 10K! We reached double digits thanks to all our Instagram followers! We truly thank you for following along on our #tampasdowntown journey as our beautiful city continues to grow. To show our appreciation, we are celebrating with gifts from @fmopa & @visittampabay!
Here’s how to win: 1. Share a photo from your smartphone showcasing what you love most about Tampa’s Downtown 2. Use hashtags #tampasdowntown & #loveyourdistrict 3. Follow & Tag @tampasdowntown @fmopa @visittampabay 4. Like this photo 5. Deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 19
All participants will have the chance to be featured on the @tampasdowntown IG feed. 1 winner will receive a FREE iPhoneography class on March 16 at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts for yourself & a friend as well as a voucher for a FREE TPA Hat or Tampa established T-shirt (any color/size) from the #unlocktampabay Visitors Center. Valid through Jan. 2020. Good luck!
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 Kimley-Horn
Brett Moore Director of Acquisitions Related Group
Randy Goers Project Manager City of Tampa
February 26, 2019 7:30am – 9am The Straz Center
Gold Sponsor: DPR Construction
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 premiered at MacDill Park on the Riverwalk Feb. 15-17. This week it will be at the Barrymore along the Riverwalk Feb. 25-27 and finish up at Grand Central courtyard March 1-3.
Get social with it! #wiesninabox #wunderbartogether @wiesninabox
Read this Creative Loafing article about Wiesn in a Box
Bike to Work Ride and Rally
Celebrate Florida Bike Month in Tampa’s Downtown on March 8, 2019. After your ride, meet in Lykes Gaslight Park for the Rally with exhibitors, coffee and healthy nibbles! There are 8 different neighborhood meet-up locations to choose from. All rides are led by experienced cyclists. Helmets are strongly encouraged. Get more information here.
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
Registration Click here to register Pre-registration: $25 Day of registration: $30
Another turn of the shovel signaled another new project in downtown Tampa.
Tuesday’s groundbreaking at 325 N. Florida Ave. marked the start of a pair of Hyatt hotels scheduled to open in the Fall of 2020.
The sight is right across the street from City Hall in the heart of downtown.
“What this project does is add to the live, work, stay, and play mix,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “It exposes guests who don’t live here to the Riverwalk and downtown.”
The 17-story project will include a 239-room Hyatt Place for business travelers and a 106-room Hyatt House for longer stays. The ground floor will also include retail space.
More than 100 public parking spaces will also be included in addition to parking for the development. Hyatt’s Julienne Smith said the brands seek to locate near business, residential, and restaurants.
“Across from city hall knocks it out of the park,” she said.
The site has recently been used as a parking lot. It’s near the place where the historic Hotel Tampa Terrace stood from 1926-1965 and is the latest entry into a move back downtown for hotels.
Marriott will build a new J.W. Marriott Hotel and a 5-star boutique New Edition Hotel along with several others which have announced plans.
“We just did an analysis. Over the past six years, we only added 790 hotel rooms,” said Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. “Over the next several years we’ll add 2,000. This is part of that 2000.”
Corrada says those additional hotel rooms will help Tampa attract big events like national political conventions and Super Bowls.
“Hotels booming in downtown Tampa” – FOX 13 News
Even on an ordinary week night, parking is a pain in downtown Tampa. And Tuesday was no ordinary week night.
As surrounding roads swelled with rush hour traffic, the Tampa Bay Lightning greeted 19,000 fans at Amalie Arena. A few miles away, nearly 3,000 ticket holders were descending on the Straz Center for the Performing Arts for an opening night more than a year in the making — the first of 48 sold-out performances of Hamilton.
Many predicted a disaster — “complete and total gridlock through the urban core.”
“You cannot get in, you cannot get to where you’re going on time, and you cannot park,” Tampa mayoral candidate Harry Cohen said at a candidate forum that night in Forest Hills.
He was wrong.
Commuters made an orderly exodus just as hockey fans and theatergoers swooped in to steal their parking spots. The Lightning extinguished the Calgary Flames 6 to 3. And unlike past shows mired by parking disasters, staff at the Straz didn’t have to hold the curtain for tardy ticket holders.
“It was absolutely thrilling,” said Lorrin Shepard, the art center’s chief operating officer. “Everything went off without a hitch, and that means a lot because it took a whole lot for us to get here.”
The effort may have been unprecedented.
Every aspect of the arrival and departure process was meticulously choreographed by the art center’s new “parking task force” — a team comprised of marketing experts, planners and engineering consultants who were brought in to “finally hit parking head on,” Shepard said.
In phone calls and emails, communications staff bombarded ticket-holders with parking information, urging them to prepay for spaces, consider taking an Uber or Lyft and to arrive downtown at least an hour before showtime.
Tuesday’s show was also opening night for the Straz’s new automated texting service, which sent a menu of parking options to ticket-holders’ cell phones. The texts were supplemented with tweets, Facebook posts and phone calls.
And if patrons were still confused, Shepard hired two “exuberant young people” to walk the area before every show, passing out fliers and providing directions. Their uniform: neon shirts that read “Parking? Ask me.”
The changes were born out of necessity. The Straz lost its most popular parking option two years ago — a 350-space lot just steps away from the center — to a newly-constructed apartment complex.
“Despite all the advanced preparations we made, we were hearing from our guests that there were problems parking here and we were starting to get a reputation, both in the news media and just by the experience people were having,” Shepard said.
There were no easy solutions. When the riverside complex was built in 1987, city planners didn’t think it would need a dedicated parking lot.
But the planners didn’t know the arts center would soon be sharing the neighborhood with a new home for the Tampa Museum of Art, the family-friendly Glazer Children’s Museum and events like Saturday’s “Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival, set to begin just as thousands take their seats for Hamilton’s matinee next door.
They also didn’t consider that the Straz would one day become the largest performing arts center in the southeast, easily drawing 4,000 to 5,000 visitors a night to its five theaters, rehearsal hall and performing arts conservatory.
The limited parking in the Straz’s control forced staff to forge partnerships with the people who own the parking spots, said Dionne Christian, Shepard’s executive administrator.
Local engineering firms helped staff conduct a zip code analysis of season ticket holders to map out their routes to downtown. They found truckstop owners and industrial parks in east Hillsborough where employees were willing to let the arts center park 13 semi trucks full of Hamilton’s costumes and set pieces throughout the show’s run. That freed up much-needed street parking near the theater.
And the Straz’s website now lists 13 privately owned parking locations where ticket-holders can prepurchase a parking pass.
“All of these partnerships have really allowed us to take the anxiety of ‘Where am I going to park?’ out of the equation completely,” Shepard said.
WHERE TO PARK
Rate: $8.42 (Available only by pre-purchase at strazcenter.pmreserve.com)
“Going to ‘Hamilton’? Here are some tips on where to park” – Tampa Bay Times (subscription required)
The Avett Brothers and Gary Clark Jr. will be headlining this year’s festival!! Also included in the lineup: The Pharcyde, Tank & the Bangas, The Infamous Stringdusters, Uncle John’s Band performs Dick’s Picks Vol. 1, and Jared & the Mill. In addition, Kids Fest will be returning as well! We look forward to seeing you on March 9th & 10th!
As an involved and passionate member of the Tampa community, consider the Group Sales package which features 10 to 20 tickets at a discount. This is a great way to say thank you and treat your employees, colleagues, friends, etc. Please feel free to pass this along to your office and others within your network. Below is pricing.
GMF Group Tickets 10 2-Day GA Tickets $400 20 20-Day GA Tickets $800
The easiest way to purchase tickets is through this link and your tickets will be emailed. Checks are also accepted. Please email Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will take care of payment and ticket delivery.
With the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts approaching on March 2 and 3 at Curtis Hixon Park, festival officials announced Wednesday that the event will change venues next year. For its 50th anniversary in 2020, the festival will move to Julian B. Lane Waterfront Park.
Opened in May 2018, the picturesque park sits on the west side of the Hillsborough River and has views of downtown Tampa’s skyline. The move will allow the outdoor festival to expand, as the footprint of the park is double that of Curtis Hixon Park and Kiley Garden, where the event has been held for years.
Gasparilla Festival of the Arts is a juried outdoor festival that showcases the work of more than 250 local, national and international artists. It includes an emerging artists program, a scholastic showcase and a Collectors in Training program that encourages children to start collecting affordable works of art.
Throughout its history, the festival has changed locations several times, always growing with the city of Tampa.
“By moving to the park, we will be one of the early adopters of the city’s goal of an expanded downtown on the west side of the river, said festival president Andy George at an event Wednesday to celebrate the festival. “It demonstrates our festival’s commitment to supporting the city’s initiatives.”
The extra space allows for more food and drink vendors, a larger stage for live music and performances, shaded seating options and larger playground areas.
Parking is a big factor in the decision. The park has on-site parking, and the festival will have designated areas for ride sharing and bicycle parking. Visitors will also have the opportunity to use water taxis to access the festival.
The most important aspect of the move is to make the artists’ experience more convenient. A larger park means more ease for set up and break down of booths. There’s also space for double booths, something that wasn’t possible at Curtis Hixon Park. That creates the opportunity to attract artists who hadn’t been able to participate because of size limitations.
“As this city has transformed itself, so is it appropriate that this festival grow with the city and become part of what is now one of America’s most exciting places,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
If you go
Gasparilla Festival of the Arts
March 2-3, 2019 at Curtis Hixon Park and Kiley Garden. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. gasparillaarts.com.
“Gasparilla Festival of the Arts moving to a new location in 2020” – Tampa Bay Times (subscription required)
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.
Thursday, February 21, begins 6pm Grand Central at Kennedy Enjoy some gourmet food truck fun paired with independent short flicks and live music! Pour House and City Dog Cantina provide micro brews and tasty cocktails. Over ten gourmet food trucks will be on site, offering everything from burgers to vegetarian bites and much more. This is a spectacular way to spend a Thursday evening in Downtown Tampa! For more information, go to 3rd Thursdays.
Friday, February 22, 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.
Gasparilla Distance Classic
Saturday, February 23, begins 6:45am Tampa Convention Center Surrounded by the area’s beautiful weather, every stride you make at this race benefits charitable youth organizations across the Tampa Bay area. And since 1978, the Gasparilla Distance Classic Association has donated $3.9 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa, Girls Inc. of Pinellas, The Friends of Tampa Parks & Recreation and youth running related programs. Athletes of all levels can take on the 15k, 5k, half marathon, 8k, Michelob Ultra challenges, 5k walk, 5k stroller races, and more! For more information, go to Gasparilla Distance Classic.
Taking the Stage at the Straz Center
Hundred Days – Through Sunday, March 24 Hamilton – Through Sunday, March 10 mad Theatre presents Heathers The Musical – Through Sunday, March 3 Jeremy Douglass: Broadway Pre-Show – Tuesday, February 19, begins 7pm Patel Conservatory presents Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark – Thursday, February 21 to Sunday, February 24 Mayumana: Currents – Thursday, February 21, begins 8pm Live & Local – Taylor Reed – Friday, February 22, 6pm to 9pm The Florida Orchestra – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Friday, February 22, begins 8pm Tampa Bay Symphony presents Brush Up Your Shakespeare – Sunday, February 24, begins 2:30pm
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 The Guardians (2018) – Wednesday, February 20, begins 2pm 2019 Winefest: Vino Royale – Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23 Hollywood Awards Night – Sunday, February 24, begins 7pm
This Week at Amalie Arena
Fleetwood Mac – Monday, February 18, begins 8pm Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Buffalo Sabres – Thursday, February 21, begins 7:30pm Tobymac Hits Deep 2019 – Sunday, February 24, begins 7pm
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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