More than a dozen fire trucks raced to downtown Tampa Sunday night to contain a blaze that began at Szechuan House at 508 N Franklin St.
The fire began at about 6 p.m. at the back of the Chinese restaurant, which is closed on Sunday, and caused the second floor of the building to collapse, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.
A man inside the building when the fire began sustained minor injuries, said Tampa Fire spokesman Jason Penny. No other injuries were reported.
A thick column of smoke billowed into the air over N Franklin and E Twiggs Street. Nearby businesses include a CVS, Jimmy John’s and Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria. The block surrounding the restaurant was evacuated between Madison Street and Twiggs Street and between Franklin Street and Ashley Drive.
While the blaze was mostly contained as of 9 p.m. Sunday, firefighters were still working to make sure it was fully under control and checking for further fire damage, Penny said.
They were also investigating the fire’s cause. Firefighters initially thought an air conditioning unit on top of the building might have caught fire, but Penny said they no longer believe that theory.
So far, it hasn’t been safe enough inside the building to fully investigate, he said. The man who was in the building when the fire began doesn’t speak English.
Penny said he expects restaurants that were evacuated will be able to resume business on Monday.
“Major fire blazed in downtown Tampa, building partially collapsed” – Tampa Bay Times (subscription required)
Thank you Tampa Fire Rescue and Tampa Police Department for keeping everyone safe and containing the fire. This Friday, we are hosting a Day of Downtown Appreciation for our first responders and their families. If you are a Downtown business interested in supporting this event with a donation, please email Shaun Drinkard at firstname.lastname@example.org
The City of Tampa’s new tradition for New Year’s Eve attracted large crowds to Curtis Hixon Park.
Starting at 9 p.m., the city projected images on the side of the Sykes Building ahead of the main attraction at midnight during the first-ever New Yarrgh’s Eve Booty Drop.
“I saw that they’re gonna project a 320-foot treasure chest and I was like absolutely, that’s something we have to check out,” Louis Boestfleisch told 8 On Your Side.
Boestfleisch and his family are visiting from Atlanta after a cruise.
“I literally googled “family-friendly New Year’s events” and this is the first that came up,” he said.
The Boestfleisch family joined the large crowd gathered in the park next to the centerpiece of the celebration, the Riverfront Tower.
8 On Your Side met friends Laurie Norden and Shannon Southard dressed in festive accessories for New Year’s Eve.
“Seriously, we’re natives and we’ve never been down here first year down here,” they said, adding they were excited about the city’s new tradition.
“Something different, and I love Gasparilla so yeah it’s awesome,” they said.
2019 treated Boestfleisch and his wife well, but along with their girls, they have a lot to look forward to in 2020.
“We got married,” Daysi Boestfleisch said, “now we’re gonna have a new baby next year so that’s even more exciting.”
“Tampa Welcomes 2020 with First-Ever New Yarrgh’s Eve Booty Drop” – WFLA.com
Check out more coverage of the event!
Fox and Friends
Tampa Bay Times
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!
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.
“Tampa’s Tourism Revenue Doubled In Last Decade” – Patch.com
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