Monday Morning Memo

Monday, July 30, 2018

Partnership Presents

Board Member Spotlight: Abbey Dohring Ahern

Abbey Dohring Ahern is a founding member of the commercial brokerage division of The Dohring Group, which she launched in 2005. Mrs. Ahern was then promoted to a Principal in 2014. The Dohring Group has been in business for nearly 25 years in the Tampa Bay Area with headquarters in downtown Tampa. Mrs. Ahern’s experience is in Landlord and Tenant Representation, both in Sales and Leasing, with a particular focus on urban office and retail properties primarily in downtown Tampa. Mrs. Ahern is immensely involved in her community, evidenced by her participation and leadership roles including Chairperson for the Channel District Community Redevelopment Agency; a Mayoral appointee to the board of directors of the Tampa Historic Streetcar; a board member of the Tampa Downtown Partnership; as well as the founder and past President of the Uptown Council, an association of commercial property and business owners focused on improving downtown’s commercial district. As one of the board of directors for CREW, Mrs. Ahern is responsible for the creation of, and is currently the co-chairperson of the ArtLOUD program, which focuses on improving and revitalizing downtown Tampa through the installation of sculptures. Her efforts in recent years have contributed to over a quarter-million dollars in physical improvements to the urban streetscape.

City Council Approves Year Three Funding for Downtowner Program 

On Thursday, July 26, 2018, City Council approved the Tampa Downtown Partnership’s request for $600,000 in funding for year three of the Downtowner ride service. The funding is a combined contribution from the City of Tampa’s Downtown and Channel District Community Redevelopment Areas. The app-based, on-demand ride service is the first of its kind in Downtown Tampa, moving over 324,999 riders since it launched in October 2016. Growing ridership in the first year of the program lead Downtowner to launch new tech advances and increase its fleet of vehicles. The service is made possible through the generous support from both the public and private sector. The City of Tampa’s Downtown and Channel District Community Redevelopment Areas have been key partners. Others include: FL Department of Transportation, SPP/Lightning, Marriott Waterside, Hilton Tampa Downtown, Aloft, Barrymore Riverwalk Hotel, Embassy Suites Tampa Downtown, Le Méridian Tampa, Park Tower, Bank of America Plaza, Tampa City Center, Franklin Exchange, Rivergate Tower, 100 North Tampa, Fifth Third Center, SunTrust Financial Center, Two Harbour Place, and the University of Tampa. Downtowner vehicles serve within the Special Service District (SSD) of Downtown Tampa. Service hours are 6am to 11pm, Monday through Friday and 11am to 11pm on the weekends. See the service map here. Read the full press release.

Play in the Park, Rain or Shine

We are proud to bring 12,000 square feet of shade, shelter from the summer rains, and free children’s programs to Tampa’s Downtown with our Summer Series at Curtis Hixon Park. Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday through August 4 there are free programs 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.

Interested in Getting Involved?

Since 1986, the Partnership has been an advocate for the business community, bringing together leaders from a broad range of industries and market segments to ensure Downtown Tampa remains an active central business district, arts and cultural center and residential neighborhood. Through our member events and hands-on committees, members make important connections with community and business leaders and gain knowledge and insights that can directly impact their companies and organizations. Membership with the Tampa Downtown Partnership is a direct investment into the health and economic vitality of downtown; and as downtown prospers, so too does your business. Becoming a member ensures your company’s involvement in our organization’s downtown revitalization efforts and means your company will be kept abreast of new developments; and ongoing activities and events. Come to a meeting. Join a committee. Volunteer for an afternoon. Share your visions for downtown Tampa. Start by becoming a member and subscribing to a newsletter that suits your interests.

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.

Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta

Wednesday, August 1, 11am to 2pm
Lykes Gaslight Square
Looking for a larger selection of lunch options? Step outside for a meal in the park! Choose from a wide variety of local food trucks serving up all sorts of delicious culinary creations. You’ll have your pick of dishes from plenty of delectable kitchens on wheels! For more information, go to Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta.

Rock the Park

Thursday, August 2, 6:30pm to 9pm
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
Listen to some great musical talent in a beautiful, relaxing setting. This month’s show features Tommy Phenom, Talk to Mark, and Jeff Brawer. With food and drinks on the premises and an always exciting vibe, this free concert is guaranteed not to disappoint. For more information, go to Rock the Park.

Tampa Bay Comic Con

Friday, August 3 to Sunday, August 5
Tampa Convention Center
This fan-centric comic book convention has been drawing in fans of the fantastical since 2000. Comic books, toys, cosplay, art, and more make up this cornucopia of nerdy fun. As Florida’s top family-friendly and fan-owned comic book convention, this event is the perfect place to let your inner-nerd run wild and free. For more information, go to Tampa Bay Comic Con.

On Stage at the Straz Center

The Keep Presents Carpe Noctem – Friday, August 3, begins 8pm
Patel Conservatory Popular Dance (PCPD) Summer Intensive – Through Saturday, August 4
Patel Conservatory presents Showstoppers: Broadway Intensive – Friday, August 3 to Sunday, August 5
Paw Patrol LIVE! The Great Pirate Adventure – Saturday, August 4 and Sunday, August 5

On the Marquee at Tampa Theatre

Three Identical Strangers (2018) – Through Thursday, August 2
Eighth Grade (2018) – Friday, August 3 to Thursday, August 9
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) – Friday, August 3, 10:30pm to 12:30am
Rope (1948) – Sunday, August 5, 3pm to 4:30pm

This Week at Amalie Arena

WWE Smackdown LIVE – Tuesday, July 31, begins 7:45pm
Panic! At The Disco: Pray for the Wicked Tour – Wednesday, August 1, begins 7pm
The Kevin Hart Irresponsible Tour – Saturday, August 4, begins 7pm

Doing Business in Downtown

Downtown Business Spotlight: Fly Bar & Restaurant

Fly Bar & Restaurant is Tampa’s pioneer urban bar and restaurant brought to life by Tampa native Leslie Shirah. Shirah brought her hugely successful San Francisco restaurant Fly to Tampa’s North Franklin Historic District 12 years ago. The restaurant is housed in a turn-of-the-century building, but Shirah and her team have created a modern atmosphere with a local Tampa flair inside, featuring original paintings by local artist Sean Spoto, local musical entertainment and a friendly staff to complete its funky vibe. Fly also claims the only rooftop bar in all of downtown Tampa which provides sunset views over downtown Tampa’s historic district, surrounded by some of Tampa’s most acclaimed architecture. People call it eclectic and original. We call it Fly. Pre or post meal, make sure to sit at the bar and order one of Fly’s signature cocktails, such as the Mexican Holiday, Sherry Zombie and Bourbon & Branch. The menu consists of main dishes such as Truffled Mac n Cheese, Thai Barbeque Salmon, Roasted Pork & Poblano Empanadas and Coconut Curry Shrimp. Enjoy live music held every Thursday – Saturday evening.  Fly Bar & Restaurant is located at 1202 N. Franklin St. Tampa, FL 33602 and opens daily at 4pm. The rooftop bar is open Friday & Saturday at 7pm. Weekly features include weekday Happy Hour specials from 4pm-6pm including $3 drafts, $4 premium wells, $5 sangrias, $6 select wines and $7 select plates. Every Monday is Tampa’s original half-price bottle of wine night.

Dough Nation: More Than Cookie Dough

The name Dough Nation initially brings to mind the trendy, sweet scoops of edible raw cookie dough. But Dough Nation in downtown Tampa offers more than just the cookie dough. The North Tampa Street cafe has cheesecake in flavors like Key Lime and pumpkin spice, and also features homemade ice cream. If you want to go all out, order a milkshake with ice cream and cookie dough. In a way, treating yourself to Dough Nation’s desserts is a guilt-free indulgence: It’s owned and operated by Metropolitan Ministries, a nonprofit serving homeless families, with proceeds helping to feed the hungry.

Inside TGH’s $200M+ Playbook

Tampa General Hospital is gearing up for big changes that will be a $200 million booster shot straight into the hospital’s growing strategy. Tampa General Hospital CEO John Couris’ plans for the 1,010-bed academic medical center include adding more space, breaking ground on new construction on the 25-acre campus and becoming more patient-centric. The hospital will be renovating 47 operating rooms, which will add more operating room capacity. That is expected to cost $30 million to $40 million. The hospital is also working in partnership with the University of South Florida on two major projects, one being a neuroscience institute. The concept is in early stages and the steps require the Davis Islands hospital to work with the city regarding zoning and site work, which may take over a year. The second project is the new $152.6 million Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute, which will be an anchor of the $3 billion, mixed-use district that Strategic Property Partners is planning between the Channel district and central business district. That project is under construction and will be completed in 2019.
“Inside Tampa General Hospital’s $200M+ Playbook”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

New Office Space in Channel District

Cad Rupp, managing director of office and industrial services at Franklin Street, is overseeing the office leasing at Sparkman Wharf — known previously as Channelside Bay Plaza — for Strategic Property Partners. SPP on Thursday unveiled redevelopment plans for the property that include not only 180,000 square feet of office space but also 65,000 square feet of retail space, a dining garden and a biergarten. But the loft-style office space, with up to 40-foot ceilings in the spaces that were previously occupied by a movie theater and other entertainment concepts, is under construction at a pivotal point in the downtown Tampa office market: The overall office vacancy rate in the central business district is around 11 percent, according to Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc. Between a surge of interest in downtown Tampa and a dearth of new construction, companies that want more than 25,000 square feet of top-tier, contiguous office space in the urban core have very few options. The uniqueness of the Sparkman Wharf office space — light-filled lofts with an amenity package that includes a biergarten, dining garden and recreational lawn on the downtown waterfront — comes with a pioneering price tag for Tampa Bay. Rupp said the gross rent is in the “mid to upper $40s” per square foot.
“Office Space In Water Street’s Sparkman Wharf Is Under Construction At A Pivotal Point For The Downtown Tampa Market”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Development and Transportation

Channelside Bay Plaza Reborn as Sparkman Wharf

Strategic Property Partners, LLC (“SPP”), a Tampa-based real estate development company, on Thursday unveiled plans for Sparkman Wharf, a creative mixed-use redevelopment near Water Street Tampa. Sparkman Wharf was born from the former Channelside Bay Plaza retail center, located along the Garrison Channel in downtown Tampa. Sparkman Wharf combines approximately 180,000 square feet of re-imagined, waterfront loft-style office space with 65,000 square feet of refreshed ground level retail oriented towards a dynamic park-like environment, which will feature an intimate dining garden, biergarten, and lawn for recreation. Currently under construction by Tampa-based contractor EWI, the grand opening of the dining garden, biergarten, and recreational lawn is planned for October 2018. Follow @SparkmanWharf on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or sign up for the newsletter at to stay up to speed with everything planned for Sparkman Wharf. Read the full press release.

Developers Ready to Proceed with Eleve 61 Residences

Elevé 61 is a 35-story luxury condominium tower with just two three-bedroom residences per floor that will present a highly amenitized lifestyle just steps from the heart of Tampa’s rising Downtown-Channel District. Comprised of 61 expansive 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom condos, Sky Residences will focus on sweeping city and water views with floor-to-ceiling glass and no adjoining walls with other residences. Elegant interior features and amenities reflect Elevé 61’s sophisticated lifestyle at the center of all that’s new and exciting in Tampa. Skyview residences in one of the tallest towers in Tampa will be priced from the $800,000s to more than $1.8 million. Tampa’s premier luxury real estate office, Smith & Associates, is managing sales for Elevé 61. The Sales Gallery will be located at 1212 E. Whiting Street, Suite 101, Tampa, FL 33602.
“Developer of Grand Central and Downtown Channel Club Ready to Proceed on Eleve 61 Channel District Residences”Tampa Bay Newswire

City Drops Eminent Domain Lawsuit

City Hall has dropped a lawsuit to use its power of eminent domain to secure a small patch of land needed for part of a road leading in to the $3 billion Water Street Tampa project, but that’s probably not the end of the matter. The land is at the southern end of what’s known as the Old Tampa Rail Yard, and has been used by various railroads for more than a century. The land is owned by the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority and is part of a larger parcel leased to the flour mill, which sits just north of Water Street Tampa’s 50 acres. The lease is in place as long as the 80,000-square-foot mill, which ships flour across Florida, the Southeast and the Caribbean, remains in business, and the mill’s owner has not given any sign that it plans to go anywhere. Several years ago, Strategic Property Partners (SPP), the development company formed by Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment, entered into talks to gain access to the land so that Cumberland Avenue could be extended about 125 feet to the east, where it would cross the tracks and intersect with S Meridian Avenue. That would create a new entry point into Water Street Tampa. It also would create a new east-west connection between the southern part of downtown and the Channel District.
Tampa Drops Eminent Domain Lawsuit to Secure Land For Road Into Water Street Tampa”Tampa Bay Times

Multifamily & Condo CRE Development Summit

With Tampa & St. Petersburg ranked as one of the top three destinations for millennials to move to in the US being a clear indicator of the region’s growth potential, there is no doubt that the outlook for the region is bright. These dynamics can be seen in the local workforce, which according to recently published statistics seem to also reflect the adage that “if it works here, it will work anywhere,” with the majority of the workforce aged between 24 and 35. Our test case, however, has not been finalized yet as the answer as to the outlook for the multifamily market. Namely, how will the increased supply of new product entering the market, combined with current aging inventory, and the low cost of home ownership forge the market? Join all-star panelists and the team at Bisnow on Thursday, September 13 as we journey into the answers on the horizon in addition to how the region is impacting the multifamily market across the nation from the startup planning on giving homes to flood victims, to the Bay’s storm resiliency planning. Use the discount code TDP20Y6PSW for 20% off the price of admission!

Member Corner

Trenam Law Adds Four New Partners

Five real estate attorneys have left the Tampa Bay region’s largest law firm to join a competitor. Trenam Law has picked up four new partners — C. Graham Carothers Jr., Timothy M. Hughes, Gregory-Scott R. Haney and Cate Wells — and a new associate, Mathew S. Poling. All five left Shumaker Loop & Kendrick to join Trenam. All five were part of Shumaker’s solar law team, led by Hughes. With 260 total attorneys, 107 of whom are local, Shumaker was the largest law firm in the Tampa Bay area in January, according to data provided to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Trenam ranked fourth with 82 attorneys, all of whom are local. Both Shumaker and Trenam have office space in downtown Tampa’s Bank of America Plaza.
“Exclusive: Trenam Law Lands Five Real Estate Attorneys From Shumaker Loop & Kendrick”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Tampa Bay Times Names New Executive Director

On Monday the Tampa Bay Times named Mark Katches, a veteran journalist who has led his teams to Pulitzer-Prize-winning work, as the next executive editor of Florida’s largest newspaper. Katches, 55, now the editor and vice president of content at The Oregonian in Portland, Ore., will guide all news operations at the Times and its website, He previously was editorial director at the Center for Investigative Reporting in California. He also led the investigative team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where his reporters won two Pulitzer Prizes in three years. The announcement capped nearly a year-long search for an executive editor to replace Neil Brown, who became president of the Poynter Institute, the journalism school that owns the Times. Katches, who will start Aug. 20, said he felt like “the luckiest guy in journalism” to be taking on his new role.
“Tampa Bay Times Names Mark Katches as New Executive Editor”Tampa Bay Times

Port Tampa Bay Commissioner Resigns

The executive who was appointed to oversee “excessive spending” by the port has left before his term was over. In a July 20 resignation letter from Mike Griffin to Port Tampa Bay Chairman Stephen Swindal, Griffin wrote: “Although I know that Port Tampa Bay’s best days are still ahead, it is time for me to move on. I hereby submit my resignation as a commissioner effective immediately.” The letter was also sent to Gov. Rick Scott, who appointed Griffin to the Tampa Port Authority in 2017 amid reports of suggested “wasteful” spending. However, the letter does not state what the driving force was behind his decision to resign; his term was slated to end on Nov. 15, 2019.
“Mike Griffin Says It’s ‘Time For Me To Move On,’ Leaves Port Tampa Bay Board”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Hill Ward Henderson Attorney Elected to Serve

Hill Ward Henderson is proud to announce that shareholder John C. Connery Jr. has been elected to serve on the Executive Committee for the Association for Corporate Growth’s (ACG) Global Board of Directors. Mr. Connery will serve a one-year term on the Executive Committee commencing on September 1, 2018. In addition to serving on the Executive Committee, Mr. Connery will continue his role as Chapter Representative Director for ACG Tampa Bay. Mr. Connery has been involved with ACG for several years, having held various positions throughout the organization as president and member of the Board of Directors of ACG Tampa Bay, and co-chair of ACG Florida’s 2014 Capital Connection. Hill Ward Henderson is a full-service law firm with multi-disciplinary practices. Headquartered in downtown Tampa, with more than 100 attorneys, the firm has a wide range of local, regional and national clients. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at

HART Receives Additional Funding, With Contingency

Hillsborough County commissioners plan to give an extra $2.1 million to the county’s cash-strapped bus agency to increase the frequency of buses on some of its most popular routes. But the money comes with conditions that could mean replacement of the agency’s top executive. Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to earmark the money for the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit but only if the agency conducts a statewide and, if needed, nationwide search for a new chief executive officer. They also want the agency to seek additional funding from the city of Tampa. The uncertainty over HART’s leadership comes at a critical point for both the agency and the future of transportation in Hillsborough. If successful, a citizen-led ballot initiative to raise sales tax for transportation would increase HART’s annual budget from $70 million to about $200 million in 2019. The agency would be in charge of developing a transit system linking the University of South Florida, Downtown Tampa and Westshore.
“Hillsborough Oks $2.1 Million for Bus System, With A Condition: Look For A New CEO” Tampa Bay Times

Around Town

West Tampa Attracts Young Families

When Maria Castillo was growing up in West Tampa, her grandparents lived right next door. It wasn’t an unusual arrangement in that era. West Tampa was a close-knit neighborhood of close-knit families who often lived with or near each other through several generations. Castillo went away to college, and when she and her husband Jorge moved back to Tampa, they chose to settle in Tampa’s northern suburban areas. But the pull of West Tampa proved irresistible. Maria and Jorge Castillo have recently moved back to West Tampa with their two children, 4-year-old Mia and 3-year-old Maite. Another West Tampa ex-pat who has returned to the neighborhood is Sam Militello, a former New York Yankees pitcher who is now associate head baseball coach at the University of Tampa, his alma mater. Both Militello and Castillo say that, after living in other parts of the Tampa Bay Area, they realize that West Tampa’s location is unsurpassed. Downtown Tampa is just a few minutes away, even during the most hectic rush hour. Interstate 275 makes the West Shore business district and even the Pinellas County beaches easily accessible, and several major north-south roads that cut through West Tampa make most other areas of Tampa easy to get to.
“West Tampa Attracts Young Families, Next-Gen Homebuyers”83 Degrees

Parking App Raises $2.3M

SpotAngels, an app that uses crowdsourced data to help drivers find parking and avoid tickets, has raised $2.3 million from a group of investors that includes Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen. The new feature allows drivers to know what the odds are of finding a spot in any given area before heading there. The existing app works like a network — the more users, the better the intel. Once a user installs the app, it can provide real-time data to the greater SpotAngels community. The app, which uses the car’s Bluetooth connection or phone motion sensors, knows when the user’s vehicle is parking or leaving a spot. The app also displays the location of all street parking spots and garages with detailed rules and prices that is kept current through its users. Drivers use it to find free street parking, the cheapest parking meter or garage.
“Waze of Parking App Spotangels Raises $2.3 Million”TechCrunch

Busch Gardens Ranked Among Best Theme Parks

Busch Gardens took a high spot in TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice awards for Amusement Parks and Water Parks. The winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for amusement parks and water parks worldwide over a 12-month period. Busch Gardens, owned by SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: SEAS), in Tampa was ranked as the 12th best amusement park in the U.S. and No. 21 in the world. However, on TripAdvisor, Busch Gardens is the No. 1 activity to do/place to go in Tampa. See the full list here.
“Busch Gardens Gets High Ranking As One Of The Nation’s Best Theme Parks”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Today is Deadline to Register to Vote in FL Primary

Today, Monday, July 30, is the last day to register to vote before Florida’s Aug. 28 primary election. Floridians who want to switch their party affiliation for the primary also must act by this deadline – and either register online, or in-person, or have your form postmarked by today. There are contested primary races for governor on both the Republican and Democratic sides.
“Monday Is Deadline to Register to Vote in Florida Primary”USNews

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