Monday Morning Memo

Monday, January 20, 2020

Pirates to Demand Key to the City on Tuesday, Threaten Invasion if Denied

The bearded bandits are at it once again. This morning, three daring and determined warriors from Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla’s elite Plunder-Team Ten Special Operations Unit infiltrated Tampa’s outer defenses. They quickly swept into City Hall, with their eyes squarely set on Tampa’s new Mayor. A letter from their Captain, Richard Chapman, commands that Mayor Jane Castor meet with Captain Chapman at high noon on Tuesday, January 21, in downtown Tampa. Their intent: negotiate a peaceful surrender of the city or face a long and costly battle.

Rumors have circulated that the Captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and a fierce battalion of pirates plan to invade downtown Tampa on Saturday, January 25, at approximately 11:30 a.m. The Krewe, notorious for its theatrical noise props (cannons), will “discuss” the advantages of Mayor Castor surrendering the key to the City of Tampa. Her only chance — surrender now or face the historic Gasparilla Invasion.

Should the Mayor choose not to voluntarily meet the Captain at the appointed date and time, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla’s advance team will likely take the Mayor by force. They will respectfully deliver her to the appointed meeting place, reported to be Lykes Gaslight Park on Franklin Street, between Kennedy and Madison.

The 2020 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest, Tampa’s historic community event, begins on Saturday, January 25, at the Tampa Convention Center’s Invasion Brunch held at 9:30 a.m. Guests will gather along the waterfront to witness the Gasparilla Invasion and the Jose Gasparilla docking tableside at 1 p.m. Following the Mayor’s surrender of the key to the city at approximately 1:15 p.m., our Krewe of merry pirates will take to the streets to celebrate. The Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates will begin at 2 p.m. at Bay to Bay and Bayshore. Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla has proudly presented Tampa’s historic Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of Pirates since 1904.

Media parking for the Mayor’s Raid will be available on the North curb of Kennedy, between Franklin and Florida.

Tuesday, January 21

11:30 a.m. – Pirates arrive (noisily) in downtown Tampa via float, on the west side (Tampa Street) of Lykes Gaslight Park

NOON – Pirates meet with Mayor to negotiate the city’s surrender*

(*Theatrical noise props may be used)

Tampa’s signature events, the Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest and Ashley HomeStore Children’s Gasparilla Presented by Chick-fil-A are marketed, managed & produced by EventFest, Inc.

Downtown Debriefing Series with Carol Post, City of Tampa

Join us on February 25th for the latest edition of the Downtown Debriefing Series. Held at the Tampa Marriott Water Street, attendees will hear from Carol Post, new Administrator for Development and Economic Opportunity. She will share her vision for Tampa’s Downtown’s economic development future.

Sign up today!

Channel District Improvements Project Public Meeting Tomorrow

The City of Tampa is hosting an open house public meeting on January 21, 2020 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. regarding the Channel District Improvements project. Residents, property, and business owners are encouraged to attend the public meeting, which will be held in the Port Tampa Bay Board Room, 1101 Channelside Dr., Tampa, FL 33602.    

The purpose of the meeting is to provide information regarding the new parking changes that will take place as part of the project. There will be a formal presentation by representatives from the City of Tampa Parking Department. City of Tampa and project staff will also be available to answer project-related questions and concerns. Project boards and other materials will be available for viewing by the public. Comment cards will be made available for residents, property, and business owners to provide the project team with their feedback. Community members will be encouraged to contribute their written thoughts and concerns for consideration regarding project design elements and upcoming construction activities. 

For additional information, please contact Rob Rosner, Project Manager |Channel District CRA Manager, City of Tampa, at (813) 274-8812 or by e-mail at

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Section 286.26, Florida Statutes, persons with disabilities needing a reasonable accommodation to participate in this public hearing or meeting should contact the City of Tampa’s ADA Coordinator at least 48 hours prior to the proceeding.  The ADA Coordinator may be contacted via phone at 813-274-3964, email at, or by submitting an ADA – Accommodations Request form available online at

2020 Downtown Development Forum

Registration and sponsorship/marketing opportunities are now open for the 2020 Downtown Development Forum! The Downtown Development Forum is a half day conference discussing topics and efforts of the downtown community’s development efforts. Hear from expert panelists, speakers and keynote address. Early Bird Pricing OPEN until February 5th at Midnight! Early Bird Partnership Members $65 (Increase after 2/5 is $75) Early Bird SSD Stakeholders & Non Members $80 (Increase after 2/5 is $95)

FRIDAY >> APRIL 3, 2020

Westin Tampa Waterside

725 S. Harbour Island Waterside Blvd.

Tampa, FL 33602

8:30am – 11:30

Stay tuned for the announcement of our expert speakers and keynote address!

Register Here:

Tampa's Tourism Revenue Doubled In Last Decade

You might not like the way they hesitantly drive down unfamiliar roads with their blinkers flashing.

And it might annoy you when they invade the quiet beach where you hoped to spend a peaceful afternoon.

But you can’t complain about the way they spend their money in Tampa Bay.

Tourists may not always be convenient, but they are always welcome, said Santiago C. Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. And right now, Tampa Bay is a hot destination for tourists.

During the 2019 fiscal year, Tampa collected $35.4 million in Tourist Development funding, the largest ever recorded by the city’s tourism bureau.

That increase was up 5 percent from the previous year, which was ahead of expectations and substantially better than many other areas of the state, said Corrada. In fact, revenues have now reached a level that is almost double that of only a decade ago.

“The past 12 months have been Tampa Bay’s time to shine as a destination for visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Corrada. “We’re seeing the results of that growth every day in terms of new builds, new jobsband new opportunities. We’re also thrilled that many of those visitors want to return as residents or investors in the future here in the hip, urban heart of Florida’s west coast.”

Nine of the 12 months of the budget year, which ended Sept. 30, produced records for Tourist Development funding.

September’s monthly total — $2.87 million – was up 25.5 percent year-over-year and included more than $400,000 generated in August after the Hillsborough County Commission approved an increase in the county’s levy on hotel nights from 5 percent to 6 percent.

Meanwhile, Hillsborough County added more than 1,000 new hotel rooms, according to industry analyst STR Inc. – including the massive expansion of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the new Current Hotel in the Westshore District and the area’s first dual Hampton Inn/Home2Suites property in the Channel District.

Several major properties also underwent renovations and expansions including the Marriott Water Street and the Epicurean.

Nearly 2,000 more rooms are either under construction or on the drawing board for 2020-22.

The developers of The Heights District, the 50-acre mixed-use destination along the Hillsborough River, has signed an agreement with Marriott International to bring its Moxy Hotel brand to the neighborhood. Plans call for a 153-room hotel that will occupy the first seven floors within a new, mixed-use 25-story tower. Construction is expected to begin in early 2020, with the hotel slated to open in 2022.

While hotel occupancy in 2019 remained consistent at 74.6 percent, room demand grew 4 percent, outpacing the growth in supply (3.3 percent).

Average room rates and profitability stayed even with the year before, which had been a record for the destination, according to STR Inc.

Also on the horizon are additions to key attractions such as Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, the expansion of Tampa International Airport and the addition of new international and domestic flights, and new cruise lines at Port Tampa Bay.

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