Monday Morning Memo

Monday, January 28, 2019

Board Member Spotlight: Bob McDonaugh

Bob McDonaugh is the Administrator of Economic Opportunity.  He brings a wealth of public and private development experience to the position.

Prior to his positions with the City, Bob held a development position with Equity One, a publicly traded REIT, who owned and operated almost 200 shopping centers in the southeast.  He was a development partner with Tampa based HuntDouglas Real Estate Services where he developed retail properties in Florida, Colorado and Arizona.  Prior public sector experience included 5 years for the Port of Tampa as Manager of Real Estate.  He also spent more than 8 years with CB Richard Ellis as a Downtown Tampa Specialist.

He has lived in Tampa for over 40 years and has served as a volunteer for several area organizations including; The City of Tampa Variance Review Board, the Better Business Bureau, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Tampa Bay Little League. Bob is a graduate of the University of Tampa with a degree in Economics.

Learn more.

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 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
Armature Works

7:30 – 8:00am                       Registration and Breakfast

8:00 – 11:30am                     Program

11:30am – Noon                   Networking

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!

Unveiling of the Downtown Parking Plan Results

The Tampa Downtown Partnership (with Strategic Property Partners) will present the results of our Downtown Tampa Parking Plan. This presentation will outline short and long-term recommendations from this data-driven, comprehensive study, along with implementation strategies. The plan addresses issues such as availability of parking, managing City-owned assets, and connecting parking to key destinations through enhanced mobility options. RSVPs are appreciated.

Friday, February 1
9:00-10:30am (20 minute presentation, open house after)
702 N Franklin Street

Two Apartments Proposed Near Straz Center

Two new apartment projects are in the works in downtown Tampa that would add more than 500 units to the urban core.

Mill Creek Residential Trust is reviving plans to build the Modera Tampa apartments on the 2.2-acre surface parking lot that surrounds the Tampa Bay Times building at 160 W. Tyler St.

This iteration of Mill Creek’s plans calls for 370 units in eight stories, with 15,000 square feet of street-level retail. It would have parking, two pool areas, a leasing center, fitness center and gathering spaces.

Mill Creek withdrew plans to build on that site in 2017 after seeking a variance to remove a grand live oak tree on the parking lot. The previous plans called for 275 residential units with ground-level retail.

On the next block, at 102 E. Tyler St., McKibbon Hospitality has proposed a 172-unit building that would include space for one restaurant, a leasing office and tenant lounge and a rooftop pool. It’s not clear if McKibbon, which specializes in hotel properties, plans to pursue the apartment development itself. McKibbon has owned the property — a triangle that’s just shy of 1 acre — since 1999.

Executives from McKibbon and Mill Creek were not immediately available for comment Sunday.

The new apartments are close to a multifamily property that wrapped up construction and welcomed its first residents in early 2018. Novel Riverwalk, at 109 W. Fortune St., has 394 units.

“Two new apartment developments proposed near Straz Center in downtown Tampa” – Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Why Tampa Sees Itself as a Top Girlfriend Getaway Destination

Not since Thelma and Louise drove their Thunderbird across the desert and over the edge of the Grand Canyon has the idea of “Girlfriend Getaways” been as enthusiastically embraced as now.

Hollywood’s 1991 version of girls gone wild has given way to tamer female bonding experiences. The core of Girlfriend Getaways remains the temporary reprieve from mundane work and home duties and the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family.

Blowing up trucks and robbing stores has been replaced with food, fun, and relaxation; a very appealing concept for today’s multi-tasking working women. So appealing that the Girlfriend Getaway market has become a $6 billion dollar industry.

That number emerged through a study conducted in 2018 by Dr. Heather Gibson for the University of Florida Health and Human Performance College, Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute. In Gibson’s study, “Girlfriend Getaways,” GGA’s for short, a term created by the media a decade ago, is defined as “all female leisure-travel groups consisting of female friends, relatives, colleagues, members of sports teams, or other female acquaintances.”

When women were asked what motivates them to organize a GGA, the answers ranged from quality time with friends and relatives to a need for downtime to support for a friend in a time of need. Think Sex and the City characters flying off to Mexico after Carrie is jilted at the altar.

Also ranked high on the list is attending special events such as the NCAA Women’s Final Four Basketball Tournament being held at Tampa’s Amalie Arena April 5-7 along with the related National Association of Sports Commissions Women’s Summit April 3-5 at Crown Plaza Tampa-Westshore. Tickets for the games start at $75 and can be purchased online. For girlfriends looking for an upscale experience, VIP suites are available by contacting Suite Services. And check out the ultimate NCAA Experience, which includes food, beverages, entertainment, and access to coaches and players.

The University of Florida study not only reveals motivation, as in why women want to get away, it provides an impressive headcount: 24 percent of U.S. women took a Girlfriend Getaway between 2013 and 2015, and 39 percent plan on taking one in the future. When Gibson presented the results of her study at Visit Tampa Bay’s 4th Annual Marketing Summit in December 2018, the tourism and hospitality industry took notice.

Turning visitors into residents

Santiago Corrada, President and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, sees tourism as the red carpet inviting people to discover all the region has to offer.

“Visitors can become your residents. They come here, have a wonderful time, and realize it’s a safe, clean, friendly place to live. The economic development around tourism means jobs and an improved quality of life. In the next three years, we’ll be adding 2,000 hotel rooms. The fact that luxury brand JW Marriott and our first five-star property, Editions, are building here shows we are seeing the fruits of our labor.”

According to Professor Gibson’s study, the amenities that women are looking for when planning a Girlfriend Getaway can best be described as clean, bright, stylish, and modern. GGA appropriate spaces? Spas, beauty salons, and fun gathering places. An online description of the Edition hotel, which is expected to be finished in 2021 in Water Street Tampa, includes a rooftop pool with an adjacent bar and restaurant, top-of-the-line spa and fitness center, a second high-end restaurant on the ground floor and upscale retail spaces.

Read the full article.

“UF study shows why Tampa sees itself as top destination for girlfriend getaways”83 Degrees

New Office Building Moving Forward in Tampa Heights

The office portion of The Heights in downtown Tampa appears to be moving forward.

TPA Group, the Atlanta developers that plan to partner with Heights master developer SoHo Capital on the office project, has closed on the land and secured a construction loan, according to Hillsborough County property records filed Wednesday.

The office development will be known as Heights Union, and it will total 342,000 square feet — 300,000 square feet of office space and 42,000 square feet of retail.

The developer 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. That’s where a 150,051-square-foot building is planned, half of which has been preleased to AxoGen Inc. (NASDAQ: AXGN).

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

Chas Bruck, a partner in SoHo Capital, was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.

AxoGen, based in Alachua, is a medical technology company. It signed a conditional agreement with the developers to lease the office space in September.

Office space is the latest evolution of The Heights, a 50-acre mixed-use project on the northern end of downtown Tampa. The Heights is home to The Pearl apartments as well as the historic Armature Works building, which houses Heights Public Market, event space and a coworking facility.

“The Heights office development moves forward as Atlanta group buys land, secures construction financing”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Has Tampa Turned into a 24-Hour Destination City?

Downtown’s proposed Riverwalk Place project has been closely watched for more than just its height: at 53 stories, the city’s tallest. Did it also show there was a new wave of luxury downtown condo interest? And has Tampa evolved into a 24-hour destination city?

If this was a school yard test, condo backers got ‘A’s’ in both subjects.

West Palm Beach-based Two Roads and the St. Petersburg-based Feldman Equities LLC Riverwalk Place started the condo as a mix of office-residential. But they quickly found some buyers reserving multiple units on the same floor for larger spaces.

By standards of an area like Miami with a much longer 24-hour city reputation, the condos priced from $600,000 to $2 million were at bargain basement levels. But soon after the building’s announcement, developers scratched long-standing plans for the admittedly pioneering project. The new announcement was to build only condos above retail and restaurant space.

“Interest this strong in Riverwalk Place shows downtown Tampa is blossoming into an all-day, all-night live, work and play community,” said Feldman Equities President and Chief Executive Larry Feldman.

There was $70 million in pre-sales. Then, that figure went to $80 million.

“We always envisioned the mix of office and residential would be flexible,” the developers said in a statement when they announced new plans. “The demand for condominium buyers has been especially strong, and so we are responding.”

Latest milestone a $24.5 million loan

The latest critical milestone of a few days ago was that the project got a $24.5 million loan. Calabasas, California-based Mosaic Real Estate Credit LLC provided the financing for the first phase to prepare the foundation and demolition work of the project at Brorein Street and Ashley Drive in downtown Tampa

Construction is due to start this year.

But it was only part of the overall boom in construction for the city with one news account putting it this way:

“If you’re planning to be out of town in 2019 for more than a week, prepare for change when you return. That’s how fast building projects are getting started, being topped off and finishing up in time for people to move in throughout the Tampa Bay Area.”

To cite just one: The biggest and most anticipated, Water Street Tampa.

It’s a $3-billion, 53-acre reconfiguration of downtown between the Tampa Convention Center and the Florida Aquarium. The development by Strategic Property Partners is a joint venture of Jeff Vinik, the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Cascade Investments, LLC.

“Miami-like Condo Market Emerges in Tampa” (subscription required)

Southern Pride: A Guide to Tampa’s LGBTQ Scene

Tampa’s beautiful year-round weather, sunny beaches and a thriving job market are all huge draws for anyone who’s looking for a fresh start. Now, with a recent perfect MEI score from the Human Rights Campaign, Tampa is also becoming a hotspot for LGBTQ folks who want the benefits that come with living in the sunshine state — along with a culture of acceptance and inclusion.

The city’s MEI score of 100 is well earned. Tampa’s outgoing mayor Bob Buckhorn has dedicated both time and effort to championing diversity and the LGBTQ community. He says, “I would be hard pressed to imagine that you would find a city in America that is any more inclusive than we are — and proud of it.” He admits to using his pulpit to drive home the message, “In our diversity, we are stronger.”

The following are five factors that make LGBTQ visitors and residents feel welcomed, supported and accepted in Tampa.

  1. A Historic Gayborhood

That’s right: Tampa has a dedicated gayborhood that’s brimming with cool shops, restaurants, bars, and arts and culture establishments. The historic Ybor City is a neighborhood in Tampa that is fondly referred to as Gaybor City. Founded in the 1880s by Vicente Martinez-Ybor and other cigar manufacturers, it was originally inhabited by a rainbow of migrant families, which created a diverse community that evolved to become inclusive to all — including the LGBT community.

Ybor City is a vibrant neighborhood with streets that buzz with activity night and day, year-round (including wild chickens descended from backyard birds kept by the area’s earliest residents!). Affordable living options are available with a growing number of new residential units. Another much loved gay-friendly neighborhood worth checking out is Seminole Heights.

  1. Festivals & Events

Tampa doesn’t fall short when it comes to LGBTQ festivals and events. Tampa PRIDE takes place in Ybor City and features parade floats, booths and a variety of unique celebrations and entertainment. Tampa’s International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is one of the country’s largest and longest running events of its kind. The nine-day juried festival showcases a selection of films by, for and about LGBTQ communities.

  1. Nightlife Galore

There’s never a dull moment in Tampa, especially when it comes to the LGBT nightlife. If you are in the mood to dance, you’ll want to check out Bradley’s on 7th or Southern Nights. Enjoy a cocktail at City Side lounge or sample great wine at Ybor City Wine bar. If you are into exploring dive bars, Reservoir Bar is a hip hole-in-the-wall establishment.  And if you are looking for a leather bar, Cristoph’s offers drag shows and dance. There’s a little something for everyone.

  1. The Local Government & Community

Members of the LGBTQ community don’t have to worry about feeling alone or isolated in Tampa. “Our LGBT friends and neighbors that are here know first and foremost that I’ve got their backs and that we are a community that is tolerant and inclusive,” says Buckhorn. Acceptance is intentionally infused throughout Tampa. The local government takes inclusivity seriously. “For our LGBT friends, what we have done institutionally is put a lot of things in place to make sure they know that they are welcome … and that their value is inherently honored. We are not ever, ever going to discriminate against anybody for any reason.”

The much celebrated MIE score proves that the mayor means what he says. If you want to live somewhere where the local leaders aren’t afraid to make promises to the LGBTQ community, then take a close look at Tampa.

  1. LGBT Support Resources

With numerous LGBTQ resources in place, finding support is easy. Whether you are looking for assistance with business, your family’s health or trying to figure out where to make social connections and find support, there’s an organization waiting to help you.

Some of Tampa’s resources include:

Equality Florida: The largest civil rights organization in Florida, Equality Florida is dedicated to securing full equality for the LGBTQ community. They host events for members around Florida and welcome those interested in taking action to volunteer.

Metro Wellness: Inclusive and supportive health and wellness services are provided for the LGBTQ community at seven locations throughout the Tampa Bay Metro area.

Balance Tampa Bay: This cool organization helps individuals find their tribe and connect to the local LGBT community. They offer socials, activates and public service events designed to bring people together.

Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce: Offering support for business owners and local organizations, the Chamber helps build an alternative, inclusive professional community.

“Southern Pride: A Guide to Tampa’s LGBTQ Scene” Livability

Miami Law Firm Opens First Tampa Office Downtown


A litigation and bankruptcy law firm in Miami has opened a new office in downtown Tampa, its first in the area.

Genovese Joblove & Battista PA opened an office in the Regions building at 100 N. Tampa St., Suite 2600. It now has offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, according to its website.

“We are excited to establish the firm’s third location, in the heart of Tampa. This new office presents significant opportunities for growth, due to current market conditions in bankruptcy and related litigation,” said founding shareholder John Genovese.

Comprising the Tampa team are three of the firm’s current partners: Robert Elgidely, Michael Friedman and Mark Feluren; and the addition of Lisa M. Castellano and Eric D. Jacobs.

“These attorneys have longstanding ties to the Tampa area and significant experience in our core practice areas,” said Elgidely.

Castellano specializes in bankruptcy, creditors’ rights and commercial litigation in the bankruptcy federal district and state courts. Jacobs concentrates his practice in the area of corporate restructuring, Chapter 11 bankruptcy, complex civil litigation and business litigation.

“Miami law firm expands to Tampa, opens new downtown office”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Travel Apartment Company Opens First Florida Location in Downtown Tampa

Saying the city is a top destination for domestic and international travelers, Stay Alfred has chosen Tampa for its first Florida location.

Stay Alfred offers upscale travel apartments in the walkable downtown neighborhoods of 29 U.S. cities and counting. The company says its next-generation booking process, 24/7 customer service and professional housekeeping staff provide guests with the reliability of a hotel stay, while the “spacious accommodations” provide guests with a kitchen, laundry and private bedrooms and the convenience of an apartment.

Since 2011, the company has hosted more than 600,000 guests across the nation. The opening of travel apartments, located at Nine15 on Franklin Street in downtown Tampa’s arts and entertainment district, marks the 29th domestic destination for Stay Alfred.

“Tampa has had record-breaking travel for the past eight years and when you look at all that Tampa has to offer, it’s easy to see why,” said Jordan Allen, Stay Alfred founder and CEO. “With our expansion into Tampa, we look forward to being a part of the larger community and sharing this great city with our global travelers.”

Each Stay Alfred one- and two-bedroom travel apartment will offer guests conveniences like free WiFi, dedicated living spaces, a full kitchen, a washer and dryer, and the ease of a self-guided check-in process. And, as part of the Stay Alfred community, all long-term building residents enjoy exclusive perks, including discounts at any Stay Alfred property and complimentary friends and family stays at their own building.

Located in the most desirable downtown neighborhoods, Stay Alfred travel apartments combine the quality, consistency and guest support of a hotel with the lifestyle amenities of an upscale apartment building, bringing travelers the best of both worlds. And, offering two to three times the space of a traditional hotel, Stay Alfred travel apartments are perfect for family travelers, making them a much-needed addition to Tampa’s hospitality scene.

For information or to book a stay, go to

“Stay Alfred Opens First Florida Location in Downtown Tampa” – Tampa Bay Reporter

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.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Through Saturday, February 2
Stageworks Theatre
Edward Tulane is an expensive toy rabbit. He is loved by a little girl named Abilene, but Edward doesn’t care. He is vain and self-centered. He has no interest in anyone other than himself. On an ocean voyage, Edward is accidentally thrown overboard and sinks to the bottom of the sea, and so begins his journey. As years pass by, Edward meets many different people in many different situations and through this miraculous journey, Edward learns what it is to love, what it is to lose that love, and how to find the courage to love again. For more information, go to The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

Evening Tide Talks

Wednesday, January 30, begins 5:45pm
The Florida Aquarium
Tracy Fanara, E.I., Ph.D. Program Manager, Environmental Health, Mote Marine Laboratory will conduct this Evening Tide Talk, titled: Florida Red Tide: Protecting Public Health Through Innovation and Citizen Science. In her talk, Dr. Fanara will discuss neurotoxins from Karenia brevis blooms and how they threaten aquatic and human health. Changes at the regulatory level may take time, but there are things citizens can do to help now. Learn about these issues and how you can help! For more information, go to Evening Tide Talks.

World Quilt Florida

Thursday, January 31 to Saturday, February 2
Tampa Convention Center
This is one of the most internationally diverse events in the world of quilting and the textile arts. The quilt show features informative workshops and lectures, a merchants mall offering everything for the quilter, textile artist, and home sewer, extraordinary special exhibits, and the Florida Quilt Competition. This event will also feature the Word Quilt Competition. See what all the excitement is about! For more info, go to World Quilt Florida.

Music and D.H. Stubblebine

Sunday, January 3, begins 3pm
Henry B. Plant Museum
This lecture by Dr. George C. Foreman is the first in a series of programs and events throughout 2019 celebrating the 200th anniversary of Henry B. Plant’s birth. The talk will provide an in-depth examination of D. H. Stubblebine, the orchestra leader at the Tampa Bay Hotel for its first five years, 1891-1896. In addition to information on Stubblebine’s life and the music of the era, this event will include live music performances on a cornet that belonged to Stubblebine himself. For more information, go to Music and D.H. Stubblebine.

Taking the Stage at the Straz Center

Othello by William Shakespeare – Through Sunday, February 3 (at Jobsite Theater)
Hundred Days – Through Sunday, March 24
Jeremy Douglass: Broadway Pre-Show – Tuesday, January 29, begins 7pm
A Bronx Tale – Tuesday, January 29 to Sunday, February 3
Live & Local – Frankie Raye – Friday, February 1, 6pm to 9pm
The Florida Orchestra – Dreams of Spain – Friday, February 1, begins 8pm
NGM Entertainment presents Im Hussein in Double Trouble – Saturday, February 2, begins 7:30pm
Live & Local – Hannah Jae – Saturday, February 2, 6pm to 9pm
Arts Legacy REMIX: Black Artists Film Series – Sunday, February 3, 3pm to 5:30pm

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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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