Monday Morning Memo

Monday, January 14, 2019

Board Member Spotlight: Craig J. Richard

Craig J. Richard is President and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the designated lead economic development organization for companies seeking to expand or locate in Hillsborough County, Florida.

Craig is a certified economic developer with over two decades of economic development experience in major markets such as Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. He is a collaborative leader with strengths in marketing, business development, entrepreneurial development, workforce development, global commerce, strategic planning, and managing talented teams to achieve desired results. Career highlights include more than 267 successful projects representing more than 155,000 jobs and nearly $9 billion in capital investment.

Prior to assuming the leadership role of the Tampa Hillsborough EDC, Craig served as President and CEO of Invest Atlanta, the City of Atlanta’s official economic development authority. Earlier roles include serving as President and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. and as Chief Economic Development Officer for the Greater Houston Partnership. He has held leadership positions at Hawes Hill Calderon LLC, Arlington (Texas) Chamber of Commerce, and the Dallas Regional Chamber.  He also served at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the City of Richmond, Virginia.

Craig earned his master’s degree in urban and regional planning, with a concentration in economic development, from Virginia Commonwealth University and a bachelor’s degree in general studies from the University of Houston. He is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and has attended executive education programs at Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University and Air War College.

Community involvement is a priority for Craig. He currently serves on the following boards: Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, CareerSource Tampa Bay and the Downtown Tampa Partnership. He is the 2018 Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and was designated a “Fellow Member” by IEDC for his contributions to the economic development profession.

Married with two children, Craig enjoys golf, hunting and fishing in his spare time.

Learn more.

Director of Marketing and Communication Named President-Elect of PRSA Tampa Bay

Kelsy Van Camp, Director of Marketing and Communication for the Tampa Downtown Partnership, was named President-Elect for the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Tampa Bay Chapter.

Since 1964, the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has been the premiere public relations organization in Tampa Bay area and beyond. PRSA Tampa Bay is one of the largest and most well-established professional organizations in the communications industry. Serving more than 200 members across west central Florida, chapter members hail from business and industry, counseling firms, government, associations, hospitals, schools, professional services firms, independent practicioners and nonprofit organizations. Members enjoy unmatched learning and networking opportunities.

In her role, Kelsy is poised to become the President of PRSA Tampa Bay in 2020. She also serves as Chair of the Media Roundtable Committee, a position she has held for two years. In 2018, Kelsy served as Secretary for PRSA Tampa Bay. Learn more about the organization here.

Urban Excellence Award Winners Focus: Won’t You Be My Neighbor Franklin Street Block Party

The Tampa Theatre was awarded the 2018 Urban Excellence Downtown Experience Award for their “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” Franklin Street Block Party project.

The following is from a Bay News 9 story that ran on June 14, 2018.

Downtown Tampa felt just a little bit more “neighborly” Thursday evening, as Tampa Theatre hosted a special early showing and block party in honor of a new documentary about the one and only ‘Mr. Rogers.’

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” from Focus Features opens in limited release across the U.S. on June 15. 

Tampa Theatre will be one of the theaters showing the documentary in its first week of release and held a block party in downtown Tampa to celebrate.

“People’s good feelings, warm feelings still about Mr. Rogers has really driven this to something beyond our wildest expectations,” said Tampa Theatre’s James DeFord.

From chalk drawings of some of Mr. Rogers’s favorite “friends” to a puppet show celebrating his legacy, friendliness flourished among the neighbors out for the party.

“If I were to pull a Mr. Rogers right here, I’d say to you ‘There’s no one else like you,” said fan Ellery Aguayo. “And you know what? I like you just the way you are.”

Puppeteer Jerry Bickel said Fred Rogers, who starred in all 895 episodes of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on public television from 1968 to 2001, understood that simple things, like cloth puppets, can have a significant impact.

“He talked about how we should take care of each other, how we should feel good towards each other and he’s very relevant every day right now when you turn on the TV,” Bickel explained. “Everyone needs to think about each other.”

Artist Marty Kledzik uses a quote from Rogers — “Imagine what our neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered one kind word to another person?” — as artistic inspiration.

“It’s very appropriate for today,” Kledzik said. “For communities to come together.”

“I would say now more than ever, yeah, the world needs as much ‘Mr. Rogers’ as we can get,” DeFord said. 

About the award: This award

recognizes an event, entity or idea that involved people in or exposed them to a positive Downtown experience, thus enhancing their enjoyment while visiting the area.

Finalists are chosen through a three-step process. First, the Tampa Downtown Partnership invites the public to submit nominations for each category. When the nomination period closes, each submission is considered based on the criteria set within each category. Finally, a panel of jurors representing a cross-section of downtown constituencies evaluate the nominations on a scale of 1-10 based on the criteria and their relation to six topics; innovation, creativity, engagement, sustainability, advancement, and impact.

See all of the winners.

Mayoral Candidate Forum: Sold Out! Streaming Live on Facebook

Be informed and join us for a chance to have your questions answered by the 2019 Mayoral Candidates on Wednesday, January 16th from 5:30pm – 7:30 during the Tampa Downtown Partnership 2019 Mayoral Candidate Forum, presented by AdeasQ. Attend the first event with Dick Greco, Jr. as a candidate! Networking and casual conversation will follow a panel discussion with Diane Egner from 83 Degrees Media as moderator.

Hear from the 2019 Mayoral Candidates:

Jane Castor
Harry Cohen
Dick Greco, Jr.
LaVaughn King
Topher Morrison
David Straz
Mike Suarez
Ed Turanchik

Not able to join us in person? No problem! Tampa Downtown Partnership will be streaming the event live from Facebook. Be sure to like the page for updates and announcements.


Presented by

Platinum Sponsors: AARP Tampa Bay

Gold Sponsors: The Leytham Group, Related Group, Rialto Theatre
Silver Sponsors: Gray | Robinson, RSA Consulting, Tampa Housing Authority

Downtown Security Network Event: Human Trafficking

This edition of the Tampa Downtown Partnership Quarterly Downtown Security Network Breakfast will focus on human trafficking awareness and response. The discussion will include what signs property managers, security professionals, business leaders, and other stakeholders should be on the lookout for and how to take action. The event will take place January 24 at TECO Hall in Tampa’s Downtown with breakfast and registration starting at 7:15am and the program running 8am to 9am.

Moderator: Natasha Nascimento, Founder/Executive Director of Redefining Refuge

Panelists: Major Mike Hutner, Criminal Investigation Division of Tampa Police Department; Gina Evans, Director of Government Relations for Tampa International Airport

More panelists to be announced!

Click here to register

Why Everyone is Moving to Tampa

If you’re looking for a great comeback story — or the perfect place to make your own comeback — look no further than Tampa, FL.

Some may have counted Tampa out after the city was hit hard by the Great Recession. But over the last eight years, Tampa hasn’t just managed to get back up, it’s been completely transformed into a desirable and competitive city. In fact, Tampa is now one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, with nearly 300,000 new residents migrating to the city between 2010 and 2017.

From the reinvention of its urban core and waterfront areas to Tampa’s job growth and affordability, there are plenty of reasons why people are choosing to make this sunny city their new home, and you may want to, too…

The Reinvention of the Downtown & Waterfront

Water Street Tampa is one of the largest redevelopment projects that Tampa has seen in recent history, and it’s helping transform the city into a vibrant, diverse and attractive option for young people looking for a new place to call home.

The $3 billion multi-use development project spans more than 54 acres along the city’s downtown waterfront and connects to downtown. It includes two luxury hotels, office towers and apartment buildings that feature amenities like rooftop gardens and fitness centers.

And if your dream is to live in a city that’s walkable with easy and ample access to water activities and outdoor fun, Tampa won’t disappoint. In 2015, Tampa completed the stunning 2.5-mile Riverwalk. This gorgeous path connects multiple arts and cultural centers with public parks and dining and shopping options.

Residents can wander the path from the Aquarium to the Tampa Museum of Art through beautiful parks and down to Sparkman Wharf — one of the most recent highly desirable elements of the Water Street Development to open.

Sparkman Wharf is a waterfront entertainment venue with a beer garden and a collection of shipping containers(!) that house small eateries by some of the city’s best-known chefs. Locals can catch live music while relaxing and dining in the open-air.

Along with attracting new residents to the area, Tampa has been drawing new businesses. The Fortune 500 company Mosaic announced plans to relocated its headquarters to Tampa. Additionally, the Frank Recruitment Group, a UK-based specialist IT staffing firm; and Liftup, a Denmark-based accessibility products designer and manufacturer, are both opening offices in Tampa. Combined, the three businesses will bring over 200 jobs to the area.


Finding an affordable place to call home doesn’t have to mean settling for less when you live in Tampa. The cost of living in this thriving city is more than 8% below the national average, and it was recently ranked second among the best places for first-time homebuyers.

Beyond housing, the cost of transportation in and around the city is low to nothing for those living and working in the urban core. While downtown Tampa is walkable and bikeable for the most part, those looking to hitch a ride can do it for free on the city’s TECO Line street cars. The iconic, old school cars run through downtown Tampa to Ybor City from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and departing from stations every 15 minutes.

Sun and Fun

Located in the sunshine state, Tampa’s weather is not to be overlooked when it comes to the reasons why so many people are eager to move there. Water lovers can easily head to the ocean and bask in the golden rays on one of the nearby beaches. Or you can stay close to home and kayak or SUP in the waters that run alongside the Riverwalk.

Warm temperatures also make for the perfect festival atmosphere, and Tampa takes full advantage with year-round celebrations that spill into the streets. There are festivals that celebrate almost everything from music to the arts to the tasty margaritas. With new venues like Sparkman Wharf hosting live music, as well as multiple stadiums drawing big acts and sporting events, Tampa really is where it’s all happening.

Why Everyone Is Moving to Tampa Right Now (And You Might Want to Join Them)”Livability

Second Office Tower Probable for Water Street Tampa in 2019

Developers already planned office space at Sparkman Wharf and 1001 Water Street. Pre-leasing interest is strong enough that they could break ground on a tower at 400 Channelside Drive, too.

The construction schedule for one of two office towers planned at Water Street Tampa may be coming into view, and work could begin sometime in 2019, development executive James Nozar said Tuesday.

That’s more than developers at Strategic Property Partners have previously said about the schedule for the 19-story office building at 400 Channelside Drive.

And it could mean that Strategic, the development company formed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment, could have two office towers under way this year, plus an overhaul that will put 180,000 square feet of loft offices into the old Channelside Bay Plaza complex, now known as Sparkman Wharf.

Strategic already had planned to break ground on the first office tower, at 1001 Water Street, next to the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute building, this spring. That 20-story tower is expected to include about 380,000 square feet of office space, a green plaza shared with the USF med school and nine large terraces, plus a rooftop terrace.

When Strategic unveiled details for the office buildings last September, executives said the construction schedule for the second, 19-story building at 400 Channelside Drive would depend on how leasing goes.

It’s going well, said Nozar, Strategic’s CEO. With 500,000 square feet of space, 400 Channelside will be Water Street Tampa’s largest office project, and “we want to pre-lease a certain portion of the building before we start construction.”

“The leasing velocity has been so strong on Sparkman Wharf and 1001 Water Street that we feel very confident that we’ll break ground on (400 Channelside) before the end of the year,” he said. “That building is fully designed now, and we’re teeing it up to be shovel-ready and to be able to break ground on a moment’s notice when we’re ready.”

Strategic is aiming to have about 250,000 square feet of the office space at 400 Channelside pre-leased before it starts construction, and it’s been talking to prospective tenants who would be interested in about that amount of space, Nozar said.

“Based on some of the conversations we’re having with the size and type of the users we’re talking to, we feel very confident about that,” he said. “We’re really focused on larger tenants right now, for the most part over 50,000 square feet. Kind of the smallest is about 25,000 square feet, which is a single floor of one of these buildings.”

“Water Street Tampa could have second office tower under construction this year”Tampa Bay Times

Riverwalk Place Secures Construction Financing

At more than 50 stories, Riverwalk Place will be the tallest tower on the Gulf Coast of Florida when it’s completed in about three years. The project, set to rise on the west side of the Hillsborough River, is jointly led by West Palm Beach-based Two Roads Development and Tampa-based Feldman Equities LLC.

According to a press release, Mosaic’s investment will help prepare the foundation for the tower, including the demolition of the existing CapTrust building. The Calabasas, Calif.-based firm previously worked with Two Roads Development on Elysee, a 57-story tower under construction in Miami.

“This financing represents the next important milestone in our project plan,” states Reid Boren, managing partner of Two Roads Development, in the release. “We are quite pleased to be working again with Mosaic and their wonderful team, and we are excited to begin the next phase of our work.”

Interest is high in Riverwalk Place, the release states, with buyers already placing deposits on more than $80 million in condominiums.

“Financing in place, tower project enters new phase”Business Observer

Kansas City Law Firm Opens Downtown Tampa Office

A Kansas City, Missouri law firm with offices in several metro areas throughout the country is expanding its footprint into Tampa.

Spencer Fane LLP attorneys Doug Knox and Kirby McDonough have opened the firm’s first Florida office in Tampa City Center at 201 N. Franklin St. The Tampa office is the firm’s 17th location to open in the country.

The firm’s expansion brings new service offerings driven by a strategy to align Spencer Fane resources with the evolving needs of its client base, according to a statement from the firm. The firm also recently added attorneys to its practices in Minneapolis and Phoenix.

“Our commitment to delivering the best possible legal solutions requires agility — including expanding to areas where our clients can significantly benefit from our local presence,” said Patrick J. Whalen, Spencer Fane managing partner.

Knox and McDonough will add to the firm’s business litigation, financial services and franchise practices.

Knox has experience representing franchise companies, financial institutions and other entities in commercial litigation. He also provides counseling to clients on regulatory compliance, risk management and alternative dispute resolution.

McDonough, who has experience representing financial institutions and corporate clients in all phases of litigation and dispute resolution, also has an appellate practice. He’s represented financial institutions in several appeals throughout Florida’s five District Courts of Appeal and the U.S. 11th Circuit.

“The collaborative culture at Spencer Fane is a perfect match for us, and the service platform that the firm offers will be a great benefit to our clients,” McDonough said in a statement.

“Kansas City law firm opens downtown Tampa office”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Tampa Bay Wave Now Accepting TechDiversity Cohort Applications

Tampa Bay Wave and the Neilsen Foundation are now accepting applications for the 2019 TechDiversity accelerator cohort.

The Tampa Bay Wave TechDiversity Accelerator Program gives entrepreneurs of varied backgrounds an opportunity to leverage their diversity for the expressed purpose of realizing their aspirations of success and to make a positive impact on our growing technology community.

Applications are being accepted now through March 31. Learn more.

In Memory

Our deepest condolences to the family of Vincent Bostick. Vincent was a member of the Tampa Downtown Partnership’s Clean Team. We are saddened to learn of his passing this weekend. He was a dependable, hardworking employee and will be missed.

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.

At Eternity’s Gate (2018)

Through Thursday, January 17
Tampa Theatre
This film is a journey inside the world and mind of Vincent Van Gogh (played with deep understanding by Willem Dafoe) who, in spite of skepticism, ridicule and illness, created some of the world’s most beloved and stunning works of art; though he would never live to see any of that success in his own lifetime. But don’t expect a work of historical or biographical fact. The film is based on van Gogh’s letters, the later words of other people around his life, flat rumor, and scenes of pure invention. For more information, go to At Eternity’s Gate (2018).

Mayoral Candidate Forum

Wednesday, January 16, begins 5:30pm
Rialto Theatre
Be informed and join us for a chance to have your questions answered by the 2019 Mayoral Candidates. Networking and casual conversation will follow a panel discussion with a moderator. For more information, go to Mayoral Candidate Forum.

3rd Thursdays

Thursday, January 17, 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.

19th Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival Music Fest

Saturday, January 19 and Sunday, January 20
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
This captivating event will host a variety of family-friendly activities, including an engaging children’s village, free health screening, food vendors, local and regional musical entertainment, giveaways, and much more. Head to the park for a beautiful day of celebration! For more information, go to 19th Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival Music Fest.

Taking the Stage at the Straz Center

Othello by William Shakespeare – Through February 3
Hundred Days – Tuesday, January 15 to Sunday, March 24
Into the Arctic Kingdom with Florian Schulz, photographer – Tuesday, January 15, begins 7pm
Jeremy Douglass: Broadway Pre-Show – Tuesday, January 15, begins 7pm
Les Misérables – Tuesday, January 15 to Sunday, January 20
Eden Shireen – Live & Local – Friday, January 18, 6pm to 9pm
The Florida Orchestra – Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 – Friday, January 18, begins 8pm
Chris Poe – Live & Local – Saturday, January 19, 6pm to 9pm
Rob Bell: An Introduction to Joy – Saturday, January 19, begins 7:30pm
Rosie Revere, Engineer – Sunday, January 20, begins 2:30pm

This Week at Amalie Arena

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs – Thursday, January 17, begins 7:30pm
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. San Jose Sharks – Saturday, January 19, 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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