Monday Morning Memo

Monday, July 23, 2018

Partnership Presents

Deadline Approaches for ‘All for Transportation’ Petitions

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. All petitions are due by 5pm on Friday, July 27. 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.

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. Beginning July 5, there will be programs 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 over-sized yard games in the heart of Downtown Tampa. 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!

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.

Yoga in the Park, a Tampa Tradition

In operation since 2010, the Tampa Downtown Partnership is proud to continue its Sunday Yoga in the Park tradition with seasoned yoga instructors from Lucky Cat Yoga. Every Sunday we invite you to fill the steps of the terrace in Curtis Hixon Park for free classes beginning at 6pm during daylight savings and 5pm the remainder of the year. Follow our Facebook page for announcements and details. We welcome your photos and comments! Be sure to check out our other community classes – VKNG Drip on Monday, Zumba on Tuesday and Bamboozle Fit Club on Wednesday. All classes begin at 6pm, are free to attend, and sure to kick you into shape! #DTGetFit

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 Smashing Pumpkins

Wednesday, July 25, begins 7pm
Amalie Arena
It’s been almost 20 years since The Smashing Pumpkins hit the road for a tour, and they’ve decided to make a stop in Downtown Tampa! The monumental Shiny And Oh So Bright Tour, which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the band’s formation, will highlight music from the group’s inception through 2000. Longtime Smashing Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder will also take part, as the band moves to a three-guitar lineup to better emulate the signature tones and textures of their albums. This show is a rare opportunity for fans of the band and music lovers alike. For more information, go to The Smashing Pumpkins.

Fourth Friday

Friday, July 27, 4pm to 10pm
Downtown Tampa, Tampa Heights, and Ybor City
When the sun goes down, the streets of Tampa and Ybor will light up with music, laughter, art, friends and FREE fun. This evening of special offerings and programs by cultural venues, restaurants, and more takes place on the fourth Friday of every month! For more information, go to Fourth Friday.

American Supermodel

Saturday, July 28, begins 8pm
Stageworks Theatre
American Supermodel is ready to take the stage for a fantastic performance. Few rock bands are as widely diverse yet criminally accessible as American Supermodel. The four piece group, featuring Bryan Hess and Steve Marotta on guitar and vocal, Jim Stevens on bass, and Shane Cohn on the drums, seems destined for the big time with their irresistible blend of melodic harmonies, lush riffing, and stadium rock detours. Four Star Riot will open the show. For more information, go to American Supermodel.

The Prego Expo

Sunday, July 29, begins 11am
Tampa Convention Center
The Prego Expo is the premier pregnancy, parenting, and baby expo. The event is designed to help expecting and new parents plan for their baby. Get some great tips, find top products, and meet plenty of experts and fellow future parents. The event is open to the public with purchase of a ticket. Expecting and new parents will not want to miss this terrific expo! For more information, go to The Prego Expo.

On Stage at the Straz Center

mad Theatre of Tampa presents It Shoulda Been You – Through Sunday, July 29
Gilbert & Sullivan Trial By Jury – Through Sunday, July 29

On the Marquee at Tampa Theatre

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018) – Through Thursday, July 26
Sing-Along Mary Poppins (1964) – Saturday, July 28 and Sunday, July 29
Balcony to Backstage Tour – Saturday, July 28, 11:30am to 1pm

Doing Business in Downtown

House of Carbs Opens in Downtown

Formerly known as the Cheeses & Crust food stand, House of Carbs at 410 E. Madison St. offers a variety of elevated grilled cheese. The bakery — taking indulgence one step further — also finishes every ‘wich with its signature Parmesan truffle butter crust, in addition to a side of tomato bisque sourced from Lakeland’s Bay Street Bistro. Partner Jeremy Camp unlocked the doors and fired up the bread oven nearly two weeks ago, and passersby have been stumbling upon the new bakery ever since. Although House of Carbs is going from mobile to brick-and-mortar, the place is fully functional, cranking out Instagramable cheese pulls from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. The 700-square-foot bakery seats 14 inside and two out front. Glass barriers separate customers from the kitchen, which allows them to watch as loaves are shaped, baked and sliced before getting crafted into grilled cheese and additional menu items. For example, breakfast selections include avocado toast, build-your-own oatmeal and The Breaks, featuring American cheese, egg and the choice of bacon or steak.
“House Of Carbs Debuts In Downtown Tampa With Almost Nothing But Grilled Cheese” – Creative Loafing

Big Rays Fish Camp Heads Downtown

Nothing says “Florida” quite like a waterfront seafood shack, which is why Nick Cruz, Owner and Operator of Big Ray’s Fish Camp, is excited to see his restaurant expand to the Tampa Convention Center, right next to The Sail (formerly the Sail Pavilion). Cruz recently signed a licensing agreement with Aramark, the food and beverage provider for the Tampa Convention Center, after the concession company’s representatives came and ate a meal at his Ballast Point establishment in South Tampa. Opened in July 2015, Big Ray’s quickly became a favorite for locals in the mood for a delicious, no-frills seafood experience. Serving some of Tampa’s best grouper sandwiches from an unassuming spot on Interbay Boulevard, Big Ray’s was built in a tradition of Florida fish shacks from yesteryear. Its menu walks a fine line between traditional and daring, from conch fritters and peel-and-eat shrimp to succulent grouper cheeks and decadent lobster corndogs.
“Big Ray’s Fish Camp Heads to Tampa Riverwalk” – 83 Degrees

New Concept Opens at the Hall on Franklin

Piquant, a popular but embattled French bakery that filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after being pushed out of Hyde Park Village, is no more. The bakery closed its West Tampa storefront on July 8, owners and chefs Rosana Rivera and Ricardo Castro said in an email to their followers. Rivera and Castro have already lined up their next act: Xilo, a Mexican street food concept they piloted at the Hall on Franklin, will have a permanent presence at the Tampa Heights restaurant collective beginning July 23. Xilo was piloted at the Hall on Cinco de Mayo, and Hall owner Jamal Wilson said it was well-received — especially the tableside guacamole.
“Piquant Owners Shutter West Tampa Bakery, Will Open Inside The Hall On Franklin With New Concept”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Downtown Gets a New Taproom

Palm Harbor’s Pint and Brew recently expanded its impressive craft beer selection — an homage to Florida breweries of sorts — to the other side of the bay at 200 N. Tampa St. Located next door to Tropical Smoothie and neighbors with Hotel Bar, which is a few steps away, the second taproom for The Pint and Brew celebrated its grand opening on July 7. The industrial-style space features a laid-back feel with a few TVs (it really does give off brewery vibes), and there’s a straightforward bill of pub grub available during lunch and dinner, plus to patrons with late-night cravings.
“Palm Harbor’s Pint And Brew Expands With Downtown Tampa Taproom”Creative Loafing Tampa Bay

Development and Transportation

Traffic Congestion Relief for Downtown Workers

The city of Tampa is moving forward with downtown street improvements to alleviate traffic congestion resulting from other street construction. Construction along Jackson Street is causing crippling backups for workers in the Bank of America building exiting the parking garage onto Ashley Drive. Workers in the Bank of America building complained to the city that construction was creating gridlock along the road and keeping them from being able to exit the parking garage quickly and efficiently. Some workers reported waiting almost an hour just to get out of the parking garage. City Council directed staff to identify solutions during a meeting in May and they presented those solutions on Thursday during the council meeting. The city is contributing $180,000 to an expedited project adding a through lane on Ashley Drive from Washington Street to Jackson Street. The changes are expected to double northbound capacity.
“Workers In Downtown Tampa’s Bank Of America Plaza Could See Traffic Congestion Relief”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Tampa’s Development Turns to the Water

Like other U.S. cities in the post-industrial era, Tampa largely ignored its former industrial waterfront for the majority of the late 20th century, instead focusing on building highways, surface parking lots, and structures that ultimately cut off the water from city residents. Tampa’s lack of a cohesive downtown identity has been an issue that has plagued the city and is one of the main issues that SPP is aiming to resolve with Water Street. It’s an ambitious project. If successful, Water Street will become the world’s first WELL-certified community, which sets new standards for design as a means for well-being and health through elements like daylighting and air quality. A centralized district cooling facility will be built to serve all the buildings in Water Street, opening up rooftops to have more space for greenery and/or active amenity spaces. Water Street also intends to be LEED Neighborhood Development (ND) certified, which was created to shape more sustainable and well-connected neighborhoods.
“Massive Development Aims To Transform Tampa’s Downtown And Waterfront”The Architects Newspaper

Luxury Condo Tower Expected to Break Ground in 2019

A 35-story condo tower with just two units per floor is expected to start construction in the booming Channel District early next year. Tampa-based Mercury Advisors announced Wednesday that it had obtained construction financing for the $74 million Elevé 61, which would be the third tallest residential building in the Tampa Bay area. Each floor would have just two units, each with three bedroom, three bathrooms and expansive city and water views. Prices would range from the $800,000s to more than $1.8 million. Elevé will be within a mile of Mercury Advisors’ Channel Club, a 23-story apartment building under construction, and a new 37,000-square-foot Publix. Also within walking distance will be Amalie Arena, the Riverwalk trail and other urban amenities. Smith & Associates Real Estate will handle sales for Elevé, with a sales center expected to open at 1212 E. Whiting Street in Tampa in late September. Construction of the tower is expected to take 18 months.
“New 35-Story Condo Tower To Rise In Tampa’s Channelside Area”Tampa Bay Times

Affordable Downtown Homeownership is 2 Years Out

Multifamily experts say it’s unlikely that there will be any new condos built in a middle-market price range of $300,000 to $500,000 anytime soon. That’s a function of the current real estate market in downtown Tampa, where land and construction costs are so high that it’s not profitable to build anything besides luxury units. The most likely source of condos in that price range, experts say, is from the conversion of existing rental units to for-sale units. But it could be up to two years before investors start taking that plunge. Larger units are on the way: The 35-story Eleve 61, proposed along Channelside Drive, will feature three-bedroom condos that are 2,200 square feet. Those condos start in the $800,000s and are priced up to $1.8 million. Riverwalk Place, slated for a vacant lot on the Tampa Riverwalk at Ashley Drive and Brorein Street, will mostly include million-dollar-plus condos, though there are some live-work units lining the exterior of the tower’s parking deck. Those units range from 822 to 1,774 square feet and start in the $600,000s. Tampa is hardly alone when it comes to an affordable housing shortage; cities like Seattle and San Francisco are frequently held up as places with a true affordability crisis. But as Tampa developers venture back into condo projects — after a drought that lasted more than a decade — all of the proposals are at the very high end of the market. That takes downtown home ownership off the table for the majority of a demographic that’s been key to the city’s urban revitalization efforts: Educated millennials.
“Tampa’s New Condos Are Mostly In The Million-Dollar Range. Where Does That Leave Millennials Who Are Ready To Buy — But Want To Stay Downtown?”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Share Your Transit Ideas with TBARTA

The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) currently has an online survey to help come up with the best regional transit plan for the area; one that not only offers options that people will choose to use over their own vehicles, but one that will fit the requirements for state and federal transit funding. Traffic is one of the Tampa Bay area’s biggest issues despite various attempts to address it in recent years. As the region’s population has grown, the issue has compounded to the point where it may start to hurt the local economy, and depending on who you talk to, it may already be having a negative effect on growth. Part of the solution might be what’s known as Bus Rapid Transit, which would involve dedicated lanes for buses to move freely, even during high-traffic times. Even with that, in order to convince people to get out of their cars and use public transit, those buses need to be comfortable and clean, run on regular, reliable schedules, and they need to easily accessible. “Tampa Bay is behind the curve, we are of course congested as most growing metropolitan areas are, but we need to be careful,” said Dr. Steven Polzin, Director of Mobility Policy Research for the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida. “The need to do something is real if we want to continue to grow.”

Forum Discusses Future of Mass Transit

The overriding message at the Tampa Bay Transit Forum on Friday was that it’s finally time for action on mass transportation. Politicians, activists and transportation officials came together to discuss the future of mass transit in the region at Tampa International Airport. Several key Republican and Democratic politicians are lining up behind the plan for a 41 mile bus rapid transit route from Wesley Chapel to St. Petersburg. The stretch from St. Petersburg to the University of South Florida Tampa will use a dedicated lane, and the entire route would have more frequent and updated buses. A proposal for a private company to build a high speed rail link between Tampa and Orlando also received bipartisan support at the forum. Earlier this year, Brightline submitted plans to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to build a rail system in the median of Interstate 4. The forum also served as a venue for transportation officials to highlight ongoing projects. Many transportation leaders spoke during the Forum , including Karen Kress, the Director of Transportation and Planning for the Tampa Downtown Partnership.
“New Bus, Rail Proposals Receive Wide Support At Transit Forum”WJCT

Member Corner

UT Announces Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

The University of Tampa has announced it will begin offering a doctoral degree in nursing practice (DNP), starting Fall 2019. The DNP is UT’s first doctoral program. The program prepares DNP students to design, implement and evaluate evidence-based disease management care and to coordinate acute and chronic illness care for individuals and populations. It is targeted at advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) living in Florida. The program’s online format, with only three required visits to campus, allows students to continue their full-time careers in their clinical practice. The program consists of 30 credit hours spread over six semesters. The program is pending approval by The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC). Applications are being accepted now for Fall 2019. For more information about the program, including admission requirements, see

AIA T-Shirt Design Contest

Want to see your design around town? Enter the AIA Tampa Bay + TBFAD 2018 T-Shirt Design Contest! Two Winners will be selected. Architecture students and members welcome to submit. Original designs only! The deadline to submit your design is September 3, 2018. Email submissions to

Join the Arts Council Board

The Arts Council of Hillsborough County is accepting applications for one open position on its 15-member Board of Directors through August 6. In brief, they are seeking applicants who reflect the diversity found within our county; represent a broad range of geographic areas; and demonstrate a passion for arts and culture. The Board meets monthly in support of arts and culture in Hillsborough County and Board members serve four-year terms. The application and required Standard of Conduct forms are available for download (see below) or by calling the Arts Council at 813-276-8250. The deadline to apply is August 6, 2018. Email questions to

Stageworks Theatre Presents ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Save the date for Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, happening August 24 and 25 at Stageworks Theatre. Directed by Karen Buesing, this play is about newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter. He’s too staid, too boring, and she just wants him to be a little more spontaneous. Running “barefoot in the park” would be a start. Get your tickets today!

CAMLS Welcomes New Executive Director

Yasuharu (Haru) Okuda, MD, FACEP, FSSH, an internationally respected leader in simulation-based clinical education and training, has joined USF Health as the executive director of the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS). He has also been named the first executive director of USF Health’s Interprofessional Education Simulation (IPE) Programming. Dr. Okuda comes to USF Health from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, where he served as the national medical director of the Simulation Learning Education and Research Network (SimLEARN) program based in Orlando, FL. He was also the VHA’s deputy chief patient care services officer, and held appointments as a professor of emergency medicine and director of simulation at the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine. Read the full press release.

Around Town

St. Pete Downtown Partnership’s New CEO

The nonprofit St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership has hired Jason Mathis as its new CEO. Mathis has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience, including serving as executive director of the Downtown Alliance in Salt Lake City and working in communications, marketing and branding at the Salt Lake City convention and visitors bureau. In Utah, he worked on commercial and residential real estate projects, affordable housing, place-making and workforce development initiatives that together brought more than $5 billion in public and private investment to Salt Lake City. Mathis fills a position that came open in December when then-partnership CEO Joni James left for a new job as senior impact director for the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, the nonprofit that owns a 20 percent stake in Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. During the search, David Metz, a former administrator for both the city of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County, served as interim CEO.
“St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership Hires New CEO From Salt Lake City”Tampa Bay Times

Ybor Chickens are Safe, Again

Ybor City chickens have escaped the political chopping block — again. The Tampa City Council on Thursday declined to do anything about a wild flock of poultry that drew a loud, strong throng of supporters to City Hall to ask council members not to disturb the 1989 bird sanctuary ordinance that protects the chickens. Council members listened. And they noted that a recent city survey of chickens living in the historic neighborhood has plummeted from 89 to 29 in just a few months. In the end, council members decided it wasn’t a problem that needed fixing. Chairman Frank Reddick’s motion to temporarily amend the ordinance to allow humane egg collecting and, possibly, relocating injured roosters and domesticated birds dropped off from outside Ybor, went nowhere.
“Chickens Remain Free To Range In Ybor”Tampa Bay Times

4th Friday Art Walk in Ybor

A unique exhibit comes to Burn Rubber in Ybor City this Friday, July 27th, 2018. While graffiti started in the 1960’s in Philly, South Bronx graffiti helped propel modern street art and contemporary art. The artists who created pieces in the train yards of the South Bronx during the time that hip hop was being born in the same neighborhood have influence many subcultures, including streetwear.  July 27th at 6pm, 6 legends of South Bronx graffiti (these artists painted in the 70s and 80s on over 5000 subway trains) paired with 14 other contemporary artists from all over the country bring their work to Ybor City in an exhibit curated by Mergeculture Gallery in partnership with Reebok Classics and Burn Rubber, a sneaker boutique on 7th avenue to bring the city “Classics” a custom one of one shoe exhibit. Each artist is customizing one pair of Reebok Classics.

TIA Recognized for Excellence

Tampa International Airport has earned its wings from the trade association for the world’s airports, which has recognized TIA for its excellence in customer service. The honor from Airports Council International recognizes airports which have consistently delivered excellence in customer service, according to a news release. The ACI Airport Service Quality program is a worldwide service quality measurement and benchmarking service that questions passengers while at the airport. The ACI director general’s Roll of Excellence identified Tampa International as the only North American airport to receive the recognition.
“Tampa International Becomes Only North American Airport to Land A Spot In Excellence Awards”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

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