Monday Morning Memo

Monday, July 16, 2018

Partnership Presents

We Support ‘All for Transportation’

Transportation and transit options continue to be at the forefront of our community’s greatest challenges.  “All for Transportation” is a community led effort aiming to allow Hillsborough County voters decide in November if they want to invest in or community’s core transportation infrastructure. This citizen initiative is collecting petitions to meet the requirements to have this issue placed on the ballot without having to rely on our elected representatives to make that decision. The Tampa Downtown Partnership encourages you to sign the petition and to ask your colleagues, friends and neighbors to do the same. Here is a link to the “All for Transportation” web page, containing a copy of the organization’s petition for a sales tax referendum, along with delivery instructions. We believe it is the right of the citizens of our community to have the opportunity to vote on issues affecting the future of our region. To assist in this effort, the Partnership’s office located at 400 N. Ashley Dr., Suite 2125, is an official drop-off location for signed petitions as well. We are happy to receive your signed petitions and deliver to the “All for Transportation” group prior to the filing deadline. We appreciate your consideration of this request. Thanks again for all your efforts and support to the Tampa Downtown Partnership.

Member Exclusive Mixer at Watervue Grille

Tampa Downtown Partnership Members are invited to join us for our bi-monthly happy hour at Watervue Grille to mix and mingle with fellow members of the Partnership and the downtown community. There will be food, drinks, and a great river view! This event is free to our Members but registration is required. Please register here.

What you Missed at our Annual Meeting and Luncheon

Our 32nd Annual Meeting and Luncheon, held Wednesday June 27 at the Hilton Downtown Tampa, broke previous attendance records with over 500 Downtown stakeholders in attendance celebrating our previous year of accomplishments and welcoming our new Board of Directors and Officers. “I am so proud of what our talented team has accomplished this past year,” said Lynda Remund, Acting President and CEO of the Tampa Downtown Partnership. “With the strategic initiatives set, we were able to build momentum right away,” said Remund. “This allowed us to quickly leverage our engaged Board Officers and turn those guiding principles into actionable goals with tangible results.” This year, Chief Marketing Officer for BDG Architects, Mickey Jacob, FAIA, returns as the Chairman for the Tampa Downtown Partnership for a second term. “It’s truly an honor to work with such an amazing staff, Board, Executive Committee, and group of stakeholders who are focused each and every day on making Downtown Tampa the best it can be for everyone who lives, works, plays, learns and visits our city,” said Jacob. “This year we are going to focus on three things – leadership, advocacy, and communication – to ensure our message and those issues impacting our Downtown are shared with everyone so they can make informed decisions to make our city great.”
See who was there by viewing photos from the event. View the video presented during the meeting.

Active Shooter Awareness

Given the current climate, we want to be sure community members like you are informed on steps to take during an active shooting.  The Tampa Police Department is committed to providing quality instruction to help keep its community members safe. If you would like to learn more about active shooter awareness, please visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website at: This government site will provide you with tips on what to do if you find yourself in an active shooting incident, how to recognize signs of potential violence around you, and what to expect after an active shooting takes place. Please be safe and remember to contact us immediately at (813) 231-6130 if you see or hear of suspicious activity taking place in the city of Tampa.

Summer Series in Curtis Hixon Park

We are proud to bring 12,000 square feet of shade and free children’s programs to Tampa’s Downtown with our Summer Series at Curtis Hixon Park. There will be programs at 9am, 2pm and 6pm every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday through August 4 brought to you by Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park, YMCA, Hillsborough County Library, Salt Block Catering, Fit4Mom, and Barrett School of Music. Make a play date to enjoy the sandboxes and arts and crafts available. We hope to see you out there! Check out the event on Facebook or hear from parents and kids who have stopped by in this ABC Action News segment!

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.

3rd Thursdays

Thursday, July 19, 6pm to 10pm
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.

Metrocon – Annual Convention

Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, July 22
Tampa Convention Center
Florida’s best anime convention boasts a number of exciting stage shows, unique vendors, exciting panelists, and interactive events throughout the weekend, including the world famous Anime Human Chess Match, where characters from your favorite anime and video games will battle it out for the fate of the world! For more info, go to Metrocon – Annual Convention.

Poetry and Punchlines

Saturday, July 21, begins 7pm
Stageworks Theatre
Take your seats for a show with a young and sophisticated experience that fans have come to expect from the Poetry and Punchlines performances. The show will be headlined by comedian T-Ray Sanders from Highpoint, North Carolina. Sanders has appeared on BET Comic View and Bounce TV. Fans of hard-hitting poetry and laugh-filled comedy will have a special evening watching this performance! For more info, go to Poetry and Punchlines.

On Stage at the Straz Center

Patel Conservatory presents Hello, Dolly! – Through Sunday, July 22
mad Theatre of Tampa presents It Shoulda Been You – Through Sunday, July 29
Opera Tampa League’s Wondrous Wednesday – Wednesday, July 18, begins 5:30pm
Next Generation Ballet’s Summer Intensive Showcase – Friday, July 20, begins 7pm
Patel Conservatory presents Summer Jazz Intensive – Friday, July 20, begins 7pm
Gilbert & Sullivan Trial By Jury – Saturday, July 21 to Sunday, July 29
The FUN Show with Cat & Nat – Sunday, July 22, begins 7pm

On the Marquee at Tampa Theatre

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018) – Through Thursday, July 19
Before Sunrise (1995) – Friday, July 20, 10:30pm to 12:15am
BeerFest 2018: Hop Gun – Saturday, July 21, begins 7pm
Safety Last! (1923) – Sunday, July 22, 3pm to 4:15pm

Doing Business in Downtown

Tampa Marriott Waterside’s $40 Million Renovation 

The Tampa Marriott Waterside hotel is well into a $40 million renovation that is expected to be done by early next year and to re-think what people — both guests and bay area residents — would like from its rooms and public spaces. Most of the renovation’s budget, $26 million, has been spent on upgrades to rooms, including adding hardwood flooring, walk-in showers and 55-inch TVs configured to let guests program their own entertainment via Hulu and Netflix instead of buying movies. The project also is splitting some lower-level suites into separate rooms, bringing the hotel’s total to 727. Workers also have updated the pool and deck, are adding a Starbucks, will refresh the hotel’s meeting spaces, paint the exterior, and create a more open lobby. Part of the lobby work will entail getting rid of the imposing reception desk in favor of smaller work stations that allow hotel employees to step out for more personal conversation with guests. Part of it will mean removing the 16 indoor palm trees that obscure a lot of what you can see inside the lobby.
“Tampa Marriott Waterside’s $40 Million Renovation Aims For A ‘More Approachable’ Space”Tampa Bay Times

Rays Invite Community Feedback on New Ballpark Design

The Tampa Bay Rays are encouraging the community to collaborate and provide collective ideas for its new ballpark design in Ybor City. The team is looking to provide a community asset that reflects the spirit and energy of Tampa Bay. Community involvement is certainly needed to help fund the new ballpark. Help the Rays create something we’re all proud to call home by joining the conversation, getting involved and signing up. View all the renderings and share your feedback at Be sure to explore all three editions available on the site.

Suffolk Pushes Engineering Envelope in Channel District

National building contractor Suffolk, headquartered in Boston, has brought an innovative Smart Lab project management facility to its office in downtown Tampa’s Channel District. The privately held, $2.9 billion company debuted the Smart Lab concept last year at offices in San Francisco and New York City. Essentially, a Smart Lab is a meeting room equipped with enormous flat-screen monitors on all sides, plus an electronic white board and a virtual reality “cave” Suffolk staff and clients can use to fully model and explore a building project before ground is even broken. Suffolk has an entire team in Boston dedicated to analyzing project data, such as schedules and cost estimates. That data is fed into the Smart Lab and displayed on one of the big screens in real time, so Suffolk leaders know, for example, exactly what size crew they will need on a particular day to complete a specific task. Locally, Suffolk has utilized its Smart Lab to help plan The Related Group’s Manor Riverwalk project, a 400-unit apartment complex in downtown Tampa — on the site of the former Tampa Tribune building — expected to open for occupancy in early 2019.
“Get Smart: Building Contractor Pushes Engineering Envelope”Business Observer

‘Top Chef’ Favorite Brings Restaurant to Tampa

The buzzed-about Osteria Italian Bar and Kitchen brings rustic but refined Italian cuisine to downtown Tampa. “Top Chef’s” Fabio Viviani is spearheading the project along with The Nocturnal Group. The owners initially met through a mutual friend in Italy and had a hunger to make people happy. Tampa’s booming market drew them in, and this frontier restaurant was born. The famed chef is still testing out recipes but the idea is a modern, new-age menu that doesn’t leave guests feeling stuffed. The celebrity chef’s first Tampa Bay area restaurant is slated to open by the end of summer. The 150-seat restaurant will feature 3,500 square feet of interior space with a mezzanine/private room overlooking the bar area. Plus, a 1,700-square-foot patio.
“’Top Chef’ Favorite Brings Rustic Italian Restaurant To Tampa”News Channel 8 (WFLA)

Move Over Millennials, Gen X Tavern to Open in Downtown

Millennials, move aside. Generation X is going to party like it’s 1999 again — or perhaps even 1989 — when the Gen X Tavern opens for business in downtown Tampa. The 1980s- and ‘90s-themed bar is the brainchild of Dave Burton, a Tampa restaurateur and, yes, proud member of Gen X — the overlooked cohort situated between the much larger baby boom and millennial generations, with the up-and-coming generation Z stealing even more of its thunder. Burton originally planned to open the Gen X Tavern, with 35 to 40 employees, in late summer, but it’s been pushed back to the fourth quarter of 2018. The reason for the delay, however, is a good one: more space became available. Burton had originally planned to open the Gen X Tavern in a 3,100-square-foot, street-level space in the Bank of America Plaza’s parking garage. The tavern will increase in size to more than 5,000 square feet, though, thanks to the availability of adjacent space that used to house a restaurant.
“New Tavern Concept Plays The Gen X Hits”Business Observer

Development and Transportation

Streetcar Goes Fare Free in October

HART has been awarded $2.7 million in grant funding from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) that will support extending TECO Line Streetcar service hours, increasing frequency, and providing free rides to customers for the next three years. The $2.7 million grant will be used to increase Streetcar service from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes and provide extended service hours. The increased streetcar service will improve mobility and access by affording residents access to additional job opportunities, and provide enhanced connectivity in downtown, the Channel District, and Ybor City. The enhanced streetcar service will accomplish multiple goals; however, the primary objective is to add another mobility and connectivity option for residents, employees, and visitors in downtown Tampa and the city at large. With planned extensions, the Streetcar will also create a vital connection between downtown and neighborhoods and further spread the vibrancy and development that is currently being seen in the downtown area. Read the full blog.

CSX Exec Joins Brightline

Bob O’Malley, a top executive for CSX Transportation, is leaving the company to work for another train company — All Aboard Florida’s Brightline. O’Malley’s final day as the vice president of state and local government relations is July 13; he starts as the vice president of public affairs for Brightline on July 16. Brightline is currently working through the request for proposal process with the state to use the stretch of right of way between Tampa and Orlando. The company already has routes operating in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Eventually the company plans to connect all of the routes so riders in any of the five locations can connect to each other.
“CSX Executive Joins Brightline As Plans For Tampa/Orlando High-Speed Rail Are Put In Motion”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Tampa Mayor to Back Cross Bay Ferry

On Monday, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was still pondering whether to kick in $150,000 toward a return of the CrossBay ferry in November. Tampa is still finalizing a tight budget, made tighter by a $5 million deficit. But Thursday, Buckhorn spokeswoman Ashley Bauman said the mayor has recommended that City Council approve the city’s contribution at its July 26 meeting. St. Petersburg City Council and the Hillsborough County Commission have already signed off. The Pinellas County Commission will consider the proposal on July 17.
“All aboard! Bob Buckhorn will back the CrossBay Ferry”Tampa Bay Times

Coverage of the Rays Proposed Ybor City Ballpark

The Tampa Bay Rays have unveiled artist renderings for their proposed new $809 million stadium in Ybor City. And, another $83 million in what they called “necessary infrastructure” too, bringing the grand total to $892 million. Tuesday afternoon’s press conference at Ybor City’s Italian Club was aimed to build hype and excitement beyond the urban core. The Rays have been campaigning for a new stadium for more than a decade and have repeatedly suggested they couldn’t afford to build it on their own. New details of the proposed ballpark include a total capacity of 30,842 – the smallest in the majors. It would have a fixed, translucent roof and synthetic turf. But the glass outfield wall would slide open completely. “This is not a stadium. This is a ballpark,” Rays’ Sr. Vice President Melanie Lenz said. Keep up with all the live coverage, provided by the Tampa Bay Times.

SunPass Woes

The vendor who runs the system has a backlog of unprocessed charges now running into the millions, a total accumulated since it stopped processing tolls on June 1. Earlier this week, after it began posting older charges for customers, the vendor promised the state a permanent fix. But based on court documents and news accounts across the country, this could just be the start of a long nightmare for Florida drivers. And the state Department of Transportation could have seen it coming. The contractor the state picked in 2015 to operate SunPass, a subsidiary of a Xerox spin-off called Conduent State & Local Solutions, has a track record of mishandling customer service while updating tolling systems in at least seven other states.
“Sunpass Is A Mess. Florida Could Have Seen It Coming.”Tampa Bay Times

Member Corner

36th Annual Planning & Design Awards

The Planning Commission is proud to announce the 36th annual celebration of excellence in planning in Hillsborough County. This awards program is a well-respected tradition honoring projects contributing to a better quality of life in our community and serving as models to learn from and emulate.  See Call for Entries for details on Criteria, Categories, and Submission. Complete submission packages will be accepted only in digital format no later than Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 5 p.m. with $195 entry fee. Don’t miss the Early Bird Entry! This year, we will be accepting early bird entries for complete submission packages delivered no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 with reduced entry fee of $125! Visit event site for more info and sponsorship opportunities.

Visitors Guide Cover Contest
Visit Tampa Bay and the Arts Council of Hillsborough County are calling all local artists to enter for a chance to have their art featured on the cover of Visit Tampa Bay’s 2019 Official Visitor’s Guide. Artists must be 18 years or older to participate. For contest guidelines and to submit your artwork, visit

TECO Voted Most Trusted Utility in the Country

TECO Peoples Gas was named the most trusted utility in the country, according to a recent report by Market Studies International. The report ranks utilities based on votes by their customers. “Our team members work hard each and every day to provide world-class service and we are proud that our efforts are recognized by our more than 370,000 customers across the state,” T.J. Szelistowski, president of Peoples Gas, said in a release. Peoples Gas has held the No. 1 spot on the report since 2015.
“TECO Peoples Gas Voted Most Trusted Utility In Country”Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Hillsborough EDC is Hiring

The Tampa Hillsborough EDC is hiring a Business Development Manager! Under the leadership of the Vice President, Business Development the Business Development Manager [BDM] will be responsible for building and maintaining relationships with local economic base companies in specific target industries with a special focus on the jurisdiction of Plant City. The BDM will support their unique needs with various services and state/local programs.  This will be accomplished through business retention visits, industry specific trade organization meetings, community meetings, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings. The BDM will also manage select Business Recruitment Projects including those that are considering Plant City. This role will manage projects and relationships in all of Hillsborough County, but will be the main liaison between the Tampa Hillsborough EDC, the City of Plant City and the Plant City EDC. Read the full job description.

Around Town

Gas Remains At Four Year High In Florida

Even as the cost of gas in Florida declined by a half-cent over the past week, prices at the pump are the highest in four years. “Reduced global oil supplies have caused summer travelers to pay a higher price at the pump this year,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a statement. “Fortunately, domestic gasoline production remains strong, which should help prevent major swings in summer gas prices.” Jenkins warned that prices could “pop” if refineries along the Gulf Coast are again threatened by a hurricane.
“Gas Remains At Four Year High In Florida”CBS Miami

Tampa Bay’s First Tiny House Community

Tampa Bay’s first tiny-house community won unanimous approval Wednesday from St. Petersburg’s Development Review Commission. Pedro Medina, manager of the project, said he hopes to start construction this fall on six houses in the city’s Midtown area. Initially, they wouldn’t be for sale but instead would be rentals, possibly through Airbnb. E ach house would have 722 square feet of living space, including two bedrooms, and a porch with an additional 94 square feet. Although each would have the same floor plan, the houses would be painted in different colors with different trim. The city’s planning and zoning development staff recommended approval of the project, which is in a blighted area targeted for new construction and affordable housing.
“St. Petersburg Panel Approves Tiny-House Community”Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Transit Forum

Talk about transit is everywhere in the Tampa Bay area, more so today than ever before. Current transit efforts will be discussed at length at the Tampa Bay Transit Forum scheduled for Friday, July 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Tampa Airport Marriott. The event, moderated by business columnist Graham Brink of the Tampa Bay Times, will feature discussion and comments from local transit leaders and elected officials, and national expert on transit-oriented development. A central theme of the forum is to hear from many regional voices on the topic of transit in Tampa Bay, among them is Tampa Downtown Partnership’s Director of Transportation and Planning, Karen Kress. Learn more about the conference and sign up for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of SkyConnect at

Tropicana Site Redevelopment

St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday approved its first reading of an amendment to an ordinance that would provide $115 million for projects within the Intown Redevelopment Plan, including the Tropicana Field site and parts of downtown. The measure now heads to a public hearing for a final vote Aug. 2. Gone unchanged, the current district would cease to provide funding for the area in 2023 and would not provide significant fiscal opportunities to major economic development projects beyond that. The amendments would provide $75 million for redevelopment opportunities at the Tropicana Field site including streetscaping within the 81-acre site to return it to the city’s grid system, parking enhancements and activating Booker Creek into a usable public space. Another $35 million would pay for parking and transportation infrastructure on the downtown waterfront as well as possible seawall and marina hardening. Additionally, $5 million would be set aside for historic preservation within the district.
“St. Pete One Vote Closer To Raising $75M For Tropicana Field Site Redevelopment”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

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