Monday Morning Memo

Monday, March 12, 2018

Partnership Presents

Solving Urban Issues: Join the Conversation March 23

The 22nd Annual Downtown Development Forum is taking place March 23 at the Tampa Convention Center. 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.  Join us to hear from developers and industry experts on the front lines of the most significant projects in downtown including sports and learn about Tampa’s city center progress in economic development, higher education, and commercial and residential development. Learn more about the event including panelists and presenters, and register today!

Mayor’s River O’Green Fest

Join us for the 7th Annual Mayor’s River O’Green Fest, presented by Grow Financial, on Saturday, March 17! In partnership with the City of Tampa, this signature event of the Tampa Downtown Partnership takes place in the beautiful Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. The party is centered around the Hillsborough River, which will be transformed into a bright shade of green for the occasion. The river provides a perfect backdrop to the celebration which includes live entertainment, games, kids’ activities, food trucks, and of course, beer! Interested in volunteering during this fun-filled day? Sign-up today! Your help ensures we are able to keep these events fun and free to attend.

Win Two Tickets to a Straz Comedy Show

Robert Dubac’s newest Off-Broadway solo hit, The Book of Moron, has been described as one of the most “hilarious,” “intelligent” and “scorching” satirical attacks on idiocracy since Mark Twain. (And “idiocracy” isn’t even a word. How dumb is that?) The New York Times raves: “Riding shotgun with intelligence and absurdity, there’s laughter for all!” Win two tickets to one of the shows by posting your favorite funny GIF on Faceook and tagging @TampasDowntown and @StrazCenter. Must post by Tuesday, March 13 at noon to be eligible to win!  You can also save 50% on Robert Dubac’s The Book of Moron when you check-out using promo code HYSTERICAL.

Take the #CoastChallenge

The #CoastChallenge will take place March 1-31. Encouraging new and existing members in both Tampa and St. Petersburg to hop on Coast bikes and take as many trips – lasting longer than three minutes – as they can, Coast Bike Share will track rides completed throughout the month and reward the top five users. To keep track for yourself, visit the app or website. Featured events:  Plan to be on your bike this Saturday, March 17 for the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Start with Coast’s River O’Green Ride then leave your wheels at our free secure event bike valet parking. #BikeMonthFL2018.

Apply for our Summer Internship

Tampa Downtown Partnership is currently seeking to fill the Marketing and Communications intern position for this coming summer semester. The Marketing and Communications Intern works directly with the Director of Marketing and Communications to oversee the organization’s marketing, communications, public relations, brand and social media programs. The position is responsible for assisting in the planning and implementation of all marketing, communications, and branding for the Downtown Tampa Special Services District (SSD) and Tampa Downtown Partnership (TDP).  Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors are encouraged to submit their cover letter and resume to Kelsy Van Camp by April 1. Candidate must be able to work 12 hours a week. This is a paying, part-time internship. View the full job description.

Diary of a Commuter

The following is an excerpt taken from an article Karen Kress, Director of Transportation and Planning for Tampa Downtown Partnership submitted to 83 Degrees. The article appeared online March 6, 2018. Read the full article here.

“Motivating, Safe, Scenic, Pleasant and Introspective” were the words my colleagues at the Tampa Downtown Partnership used to describe the new way they used to travel to work during Commuter Challenge 18. I threw out the challenge to them thinking it was a long shot, but was pleasantly surprised when every one of our small team agreed to participate. I think we covered all the mode choices between us including bus, bike, walk, carpool and even telework (working from home). I was able to try them all myself throughout the week. 

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. Going to one of the events? Snap a photo and tag #UrbanInsiderTPA

A Fantastic Woman

Monday, March 12 and Tuesday, March 13
Tampa Theatre
Marina is in a happy and growing relationship with divorcé Orlando, despite his being 30 years her senior. But while celebrating Marina’s birthday, Orlando is suddenly rushed to the hospital where he dies almost immediately. Marina, wanting only to grieve her lost lover in peace, is treated with suspicion by legal authorities who believe she may have been involved in Orlando’s death. But worst of all, as a trans woman, Orlando’s family treats her like an abomination; abusing, assaulting, and mistrusting her. For more information, go to A Fantastic Woman.

Tampa Heights Neighborhood Meeting

Tuesday, March 13, begins 6pm
Tampa Heights Community Center
Tampa Downtown Partnership is hosting a neighborhood meeting to discuss the proposed Special Service District expansion into Tampa Heights. All residents and property owners are welcome to attend. For more information, go to Tampa Heights Neighborhood Meeting.


Friday, March 16, begins 7pm
Tampa Museum of Art
Creative Loafing’s fifth annual GASP! is a performing arts event like no other. A kaleidoscopic circus of theater, dance, music, spoken word, visual art, soundscapes, cabaret, and more! GASP! focuses primarily on the performing arts, showcasing multiple genres that collide and surprise. And new this year: GASP! breaks into new territory with special outdoor performances everyone can enjoy. For more information, go to GASP!.

Mayor’s River O’Green Fest

Saturday, March 17, 11am to 5pm
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
This party is centered around the Hillsborough River, which will be transformed into a bright shade of green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. The river provides a perfect backdrop for the celebration which will include live entertainment, games, kids activities, small plates of Irish fare, beer, and more! For more information, go to Mayor’s River O’Green Fest.

Taking the Stage at the Straz Center

Forever Plaid – Through Saturday, March 17
HIR – Through Sunday, April 1
Latin Nights – Thursday, March 15, begins 7pm
Discover Opera – Macbeth – Sunday, March 18, begins 2pm
Ana Gasteyer – Sunday, March 18, begins 4pm
Tiffany – Sunday, March 18, begins 7:30pm

This Week at Amalie Arena

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Ottawa Senators – Tuesday, March 13, begins 7:30pm
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins – Saturday, March 17, begins 7pm
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Edmonton Oilers – Sunday, March 18, begins 5pm

Doing Business in Downtown

Wave Incubator Benefits from Diversity

Located in the Channel District and in downtown Tampa, the WaVE is a go-to place for businesses that want to connect with other businesses to build, launch, or grow. The WaVE initially went through almost 100 applications to narrow the field to 13. Twelve made it through the program. The cohort has a high number of women, minority or veteran owned or led businesses. “We’re casting a wider and a more diverse net,” explains Rich Heruska, the WaVE’s Interim Accelerator Director. Diversity has a positive effect on an organization’s performance, according to a 2015 study by McKinsey and Co. entitled Diversity Matters. Not only does diversity broaden the talent pool, enabling an organization to find the most qualified individuals, but it improves decision making by incorporating a variety of perspectives and ideas, the study shows. It also enhances a company’s image and increases employee satisfaction while helping to forge better relationships with customers.
“Tampa Bay Wave: Diversity Highlights Latest Tech Cohort”83 Degrees

Register with Business Watch

Business Watch Tampa is a valuable partnership with local businesses and the City of Tampa Police that will help keep our businesses and our community safe. Business Watch Tampa is a free program offered by the City of Tampa Police Department that encourages neighboring businesses to become each other’s’ eyes and ears. It first launched in Ybor City with dramatic results: crime was reduced by 60% during the day and 50% at night. The partnership opens up several lines of communication – via social media, our brand new website, and face-to-face conversation – that enable working together with accurate and up-to-date information that can help prevent crime in Tampa. Registering your business with Business Watch Tampa is FREE and offers great benefits. Register today!

Tampa Attracts Corporate Re-locations and Expansions

Tampa Bay has been deemed one of the most attractive metro areas in the country when it comes to corporate relocations and expansions. Site Selection ranked the area No. 4 for south Atlantic metros with the most corporate projects in 2017. It jumped one spot from last year, when it ranked No. 5. The Atlanta metro area ranked No. 1 for south Atlantic states, followed by Washington, D.C., at No. 2 and Charlotte, N.C., coming in third. Florida, which had 152 projects in 2017, ranked fourth for south Atlantic states. Georgia was No. 1 with 284 projects, North Carolina was second with 274 projects and Virginia was third with 164 projects.
“Tampa Bay Ranks No. 4 For Corporate Relocation, Expansion”Tampa Bay Times

Carolyn Wilson Quietly Transforms Downtown

Under the radar and to the relief of many historic preservationists, Carolyn Wilson, known by her friends as “CW” and the owner of The Wilson Company, The Vault, and CW’s Gin Joint in downtown Tampa, purchased the Kress block, just north of her present holdings. The block in question, snuggled between The Element residential high-rise and the federal courthouse, is actually four separate structures which include the 1929 Kress building and former site of Woolworth’s, where a desegregation sit-in occurred in 1960 at the “whites-only” lunch counter. That particular set of buildings has sat empty for decades, forlornly referencing a different time in our city’s history. Instead of falling into the hands of an owner who would sooner raze the structures to create more surface parking (and pedestrian dead-zones), CW’s only definite conviction is: She has big plans for restoration. CW is especially adamant about reestablishing that lunch counter, and reinforcing the concept of equality and harmony in daily life for Tampa urbanites.
“Urban Stimuli: Meet CW a.k.a. Carolyn Wilson”83 Degrees

Innovation Summit Coming to Amalie Arena

Synapse, an organization formed to help Tampa Bay entrepreneurs, investors and others make more meaningful connections more quickly, will be in the spotlight later this month when it launches its inaugural Innovation Summit. The initiative is designed to highlight the growing technology ecosystem in the area. More than 200 companies will exhibit and nearly two dozen technology leaders will be on the main stage during the summit on March 28-29 at Amalie Arena — among them, executives from Uber, IBM and the Henry Ford Health System. Local presenters include Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, who has invested in several Tampa Bay startups, and Arnie Bellini, co-founder and CEO of ConnectWise, a Tampa software firm with business management software. ConnectWise, with $200 million in revenue in 2017, 850 employees and more than 20,000 customers, has a valuation of $1.2 billion, a spokeswoman for the company said.
Backers Of Innovation Summit Aim To Change Tampa Bay’s Brand”Tampa Bay Business Journal

Development and Transportation

TECO Line Streetcar, an Affordable Option

Tampa’s electric streetcars have been whisking passengers throughout Tampa’s Downtown since 1892 and continue to serve as an affordable, fun, and reliable transportation option. On the Fourth Friday of each month with a wristband and every Saturday, the TECO Line Streetcar is free to ride! For Special Assessment Tax District employees, business owners and residents, 20-ride Streetcar passes are available for 50% off your purchase – that’s only $1.25 per ride. Three-day unlimited passes as well as annual passes are available at all HART ride Card Sales Outlets. For a full list of passes available and sales outlets, visit Did you know the City of Tampa is exploring a future for the streetcar as a true transportation option for residents, visitors, and employees in the downtown core? Learn more about the Tampa Streetcar Extension Study.

A Peek at Tampa’s Driverless Shuttle

Transit officials from a town outside of San Francisco tested for the first time in California driverless shuttles on public roads. The test serves as an example of what’s in store for Tampa when the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority launches its driverless shuttle pilot project along the Marion Transit Way in downtown Tampa later this year. HART’s program would connect downtown workers and visitors from the Marion Transit Center to various points throughout downtown. Both projects are heralded as an innovative solution to first-mile/last-mile problems associated with getting transit riders to and from bus stops.
San Francisco-Area Driverless Shuttle Is What Tampa Has To Look Forward To (Video)”Tampa Bay Business Journal

HART Seeks Community Input on New Routes

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) is hosting a series of 10 community outreaches, a public meeting and public hearing to seek community input about the proposed new 275LX route. Beginning, Tuesday, March 6, these meetings give residents a convenient one-stop opportunity to share their thoughts on the service options for the proposed 275LX route serving Wesley Chapel, University area, Downtown Tampa and Tampa International Airport. HART seeks input from transit riders and the community on three possible options for the new limited express route that will replace the existing 51LX utilizing the funds provided by the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) urban corridor grants. The 275LX route would be funded 100% by FDOT’s Urban Corridor program and is renewable.  View the community outreach schedule and get more information here.

ICYMI: Water Street to Have Flexible Garages

When the first phase of Water Street Tampa opens in two to three years, it will include the parking garages typical of a downtown area in a car-dependent region. But the developers are conscious that those garages — which can cost from $10,000 to $20,000 per space to build — may not always be necessary, as both Tampa Bay’s transit system and autonomous vehicles evolve. That’s why those garages will be designed to eventually be converted to other uses. Urban vibrancy requires more cars than people, which is why car-dependent cities like Tampa have struggled to build dense urban neighborhoods. Tampa’s urban core has seen an influx of thousands of new residents in recent years, but the vast majority of people who work and visit downtown still drive there.
“Vinik: Water Street Tampa Planning For ‘Flexible’ Parking Garages That Can Be Converted To Other Uses”Tampa Bay Business Journal

Member Corner

Buchanan Ingersoll Increases its Reach

In a move designed to increase the reach of its Tampa office, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney has hired four lawyers, three as shareholders, to bolster its litigation, corporate and real estate practices. The quartet of attorneys — Leslie Wager Hudock, Steven C. Pratico, Leonard H. Johnson and Sheada Madani — are all joining from Barnett Bolt Kirkwood Long & Koche, which was created in 1975 as a boutique tax law firm. Hudock and Pratico, who were partners at their former firm, as well as Johnson are joining Buchanan Ingersoll as shareholders. Hudock is joining the firm’s corporate section while Pratico is joining the litigation section. Johnson will be a shareholder in the real estate section where Madani is also joining as senior attorney.
“Buchanan Ingersoll Snags Four From Boutique Tampa Firm”Tampa Bay Business Journal

Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County

The Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County, a leading agency in Hillsborough’s early childhood care and education arena, has announced that its Board of Directors has selected Gordon L. Gillette as its next Chief Executive Officer. Gillette will assume the role of CEO of the $72-million-dollar agency on March 12, 2018.

TBARTA Announces Public Meetings

The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) has announced dates for its public meetings for the month of March 2018. View a full calendar of meetings and their agenda, including a description of the subjects scheduled to be addressed in each meeting. All meetings are held at the TBARTA office, located at 4350 W. Cypress Street, Suite 700, Tampa, FL. 33607, unless otherwise noted, and are subject to change.

AIA Tampa Bay Hosts School Security Demo

Join AIA Tampa Bay on Thursday, March 15, as they host a live demonstration at 11:30am showing which security glass products pass the test once shot up with handguns and AR-15’s by local enforcement. Held at Advanced Impact Technologies at 2310 Starkey Road in Largo, the event will provide knowledge about forced entry and ballistic products. RSVP to Jimmy Moore at

Around Town

A World in Disarray: A Panel Discussion

Brought to you by the Center for a New American Security, hosted in partnership with the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library and The University of Tampa’s Department of Political Science & International Studies, join for a panel discussion with three distinguished foreign policy experts as they address, A World in Disarray: Prospects and Challenges for Transatlantic Cooperation. View the event details and RSVP to attend this free event.

Tampa Bay is a Hot Hotel Market

In another sign of Tampa Bay’s strong economy, the bay area tied with Orlando for the most hotel sales last year. Each had 26 sales, six more than the runner-up Miami-South Florida area. The volume of Tampa Bay sales “represents the level of interest and confidence that buyers have in hotels right now,’’ said Kent Schwarz, executive vice president for Colliers Hotels. “There really isn’t tremendous pressure for most hotel owners to sell unless they can sell at somewhat of a premium and these 26 sellers evidently thought the current price was enticing.’’ Tampa Bay has a flurry of hotel activity underway, including a 92-room boutique hotel going up in downtown St. Petersburg and two major hotels announced for downtown Tampa’s Water Street area — a 519-room JW Marriott and a 157-room hotel that may carry the Edition flag, a Marriott brand inspired by legendary New York hotelier Ian Schrager.
“Tampa Bay is a Hot Hotel Market”Tampa Bay Times

Nova Southeastern University Open House

Realize your potential close to home by visiting the Nova Southeastern University Open House on April 5 beginning at 6pm. Advance your career with a degree from an acclaimed, not-for-profit university that’s committed to your success.  Nova Southeastern University offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with small classes taught by expert faculty who will prepare you for the real world. Their flexible class formats allow you to earn your bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree conveniently–on site or online. RSVP for the Open House at 3632 Queen Palm Drive in Tampa.

Circulator System Coming to USF Tampa Area

Former County Commissioner Mark Sharpe wants to get people who live and work in the University of South Florida area out of their cars and on to public transit. He hopes a new circulator connecting the university to nearby medical centers and Busch Gardens will help convince people to ditch their personal vehicles when going to lunch, stopping by the mall or grabbing drinks after work at World of Beer or other nearby options. It could take years before people are willing to give up their cars. But Sharpe said this project linking the traditionally gridlocked area between Fletcher Avenue and Busch Boulevard could give a region full of commuters a taste of mass transit.
“Circulator System Could Be Running In USF Tampa Area By Summer”Tampa Bay Times

Historic Preservation Challenge Grant Program

Hillsborough County is now accepting applications for the Historic Preservation Challenge Grant Program for the Fiscal Year 2018 cycle of grants. The deadline to submit an application is Monday, May 14, 2018.  The Historic Preservation Challenge Grant Program promotes historic preservation, heritage tourism, and economic development within Hillsborough County. Available grant funds are awarded to selected applicants on a minimum of one-to-one matching basis, not to exceed an award of $250,000 per applicant, per project in any County budget year. A grant workshop for applicants will be held on March 27, 2018. Information about the workshop, the grant application, submission instructions, and a summary of past awards are available online at, or contact Rebecca Hessinger, Hillsborough County Economic Development, at (813) 272-5909.

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