Monday Morning Memo

Monday, March 4, 2019

Member Spotlight: Glazer Children’s Museum Names New CEO

The Board of Directors of the Glazer Children’s Museum announced on February 26 that Sarah Cole was hired as the museum’s new chief executive officer. Cole brings more than 18 years of experience working in museums across the country – including serving as the director of education and programs at the Glazer Children’s Museum when it first opened in 2010.

“I’m incredibly honored to be chosen to lead the Glazer Children’s Museum,” said Cole. “This museum has always held a special place in my heart. Serving on the team that opened the museum has been a highlight of my career and I’m looking forward to be a part of the next chapter.”

Cole brings a passion for educational enrichment, community collaboration, and experience development, and will focus on amplifying the museum’s mission of creating opportunities for children to play with purpose and develop as lifelong learners and leaders.

“We’re very excited for Sarah to rejoin the team as CEO, and firmly believe that her wealth of experience and leadership will be the start of a new era for the museum,” said Brad Ford, board chairman. “Her talent and experience will be integral to expanding the museum’s relationships with the Tampa Bay area community, and enhancing the program and exhibit offerings to our local families and tourists.”

Most recently, Cole served as the vice president of guest experience at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago for five years. In this role, she was responsible for unifying the experience delivery teams – including exhibitions, customer service, public programs and theaters – to improve the guest experience.

Additionally, Cole held numerous roles related to visitor experience at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Cole will begin her role as CEO on April 1, 2019.

Tampa State of the Market – Here is Your 20 Percent Off Discount Code

Lynda Remund, President and CEO of the Tampa Downtown Partnership joins a panel of real estate experts and developers on March 13th to discuss the State of Tampa’s Real Estate Market.

Register today and use code SOTMTT20GL to earn 20% off the total cost.

Tampa is thriving with tons of development and economic growth. Multifamily development has been booming within the past 5 years, and rental rates are continuing to increase due to the growing population flooding into Tampa. Companies are starting to move their offices to Tampa, which is contributing to the increase of vacancy, as well as development.

Tampa’s industrial sector is booming as well. Tampa has one of the largest ports in the state, as well as direct access to Interstates 4 and 75, which makes it a very popular destination for new industrial tenants. Retailers are also expanding to Tampa, which will increase a demand for vacant space.

Hear from some of the biggest names in CRE, as they discuss the hottest projects, and the future of real estate in Tampa.

Check Out These Upcoming Partnership Events

The Tampa Downtown Partnership has several upcoming events offering opportunities to learn, network, experience a traveling biergarten and to watch the Hillsborough River turn green for St. Patrick’s Day. Join us!

Member Mixer at Harpoon Harry’s Crab House

Join fellow Partnership members and guests on March 6th from 5-7pm for a casual networking opportunity while enjoying complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks in the newest culinary addition to the Tampa Convention Center. The popular Punta Gorda-based crab house, Harpoon Harry’s Crab House Tampa, debuted on January 24 featuring a variety of seafood dishes, a 40-foot-long sushi and oyster bar, and ten 84-inch TVs. Stop by for food, drinks, and conversation! Members are free and may bring one guest for $5. Register today!


Bike to Work Ride and Rally

Celebrate Florida Bike Month in Tampa’s Downtown on March 8, 2019. After your ride, meet in Lykes Gaslight Park for the Rally with exhibitors, coffee and healthy nibbles! There are 8 different neighborhood meet-up locations to choose from. All rides are led by experienced cyclists. Helmets are strongly encouraged. Get more information here.


Downtown Debriefing Series: Economic Impact of Tourism

Join us on Tuesday, March 26 at the Florida Aquarium for our Downtown Debriefing, Land, Air & Sea: Economic Impact of Tourism and Events. Visitors pumped nearly $6 billion into Tampa Bay’s economy in 2016, helping to support nearly 50,000 jobs and reduce the tax burden on local residents in the process, according to an analysis of tourism data commissioned by Visit Tampa Bay. Hear from tourism experts Santiago Corrada with Visit Tampa Bay, Roger Germann with The Florida Aquarium, and more as they discuss how events and visitors to Tampa’s Downtown contribute to its economic health. This event includes a buffet breakfast and a panel discussion. Check-in and breakfast starts at 7:30am with the program beginning promptly at 8am. Register today! Interested in getting your company’s name in front of Tampa’s most engaged business leaders and decision makers? Check out our sponsorship opportunities. The Florida Aquarium is a Gold Sponsor of this event.


Save the Date: Downtown Development Forum

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. Each year, hundreds of downtown stakeholders, urban planners, developers, real estate professionals, property owners, public officials, non-profit organizations, and arts and entertainment professionals and those interested in improving downtown are in attendance. This year we welcome David Downey, President and CEO of the International Downtown Association (IDA), as our keynote speaker as well as HCP who will present the results of our 2018 Biennial Survey of Workers and Residents. More speakers, panelists and program details will be shared leading up to the event.

April 12, 2019
8am – noon
Armature Works

Save the date, register, and tell your colleagues to join. We look forward to seeing you at this signature Tampa Downtown Partnership event!

Registration is open!


Mayor’s River O’Green Gallop

Walk, run, jump, or jig your way through the River O’Green Gallop as you kick off the day of celebration with a healthy start. This Fun Run will take you 1 mile south along the Tampa Riverwalk, to the History Center, and back with enough time to snag a great viewing spot for the dying of the river, which commences at 11:00am. Be sure to register early, space is limited.

All participants receive a Mayor’s River O’Green tee-shirt as well as a race packet that would rival a pot of gold.

Race Details

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Location: The southwest corner of Curtis Hixon Park
600 N. Ashley Dr.
Walk-up Registration: 8:30am
Pre-registered Registration: 9:00am
Race Begins: 10:00am


Click here to register
Pre-registration: $25
Day of registration: $30

City of Tampa Unveils New Hurricane Re-entry Program

After one of the most destructive hurricane seasons in Florida history, the city of Tampa announced a program designed to make the recovery process faster, safer, and more efficient in the event of a major hurricane and massive evacuation. With the official hurricane season still three months away, the city is taking steps now to prepare, and is seeking help from the local media and the public to help make the new program work.

Starting on Monday, March 4, the city will begin mailing out envelopes with color-coded hang tags to more than 70,000 residents and businesses in the areas most likely to be evacuated in a major storm.

“We will need the assistance of the public for this program to work,” said Police Chief Brian Dugan. “If you live in the affected area, please keep an eye out for the envelope. Don’t throw it away. Put it in the glove box of your vehicle. That way it will be where you need it when you need it.”

Tampa has had close calls in recent years, such as Hurricane Irma in 2017, but has not experienced a major hurricane in over 90 years. “It is going to happen at some point. We need to be prepared,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

The goal of the new Hurricane Re-Entry Program is twofold: It is designed to make it easier for residents and business representatives to re-enter the area after evacuation orders have been lifted – and to prevent gawkers and potential criminals from entering the area.

During a catastrophic hurricane event, public safety officials will screen vehicles attempting to re-enter the impacted area. In an effort to avoid long lines, the vehicle Re-Entry Hang Tag will allow public safety officials to quickly identify vehicles approved to re-enter. Those vehicles will be waved through, bypassing the normal public screening required to enter the affected area. The Re-Entry Hang Tag Program will enhance safety and speed up the recovery process by getting residents and business representatives in – while keeping criminals out.

“This plan is something we have been working on in one form or another for a while,” said Tampa Fire Chief Nick LoCicero. “Considering what Florida has faced over the last two hurricane seasons, I’m pleased that we are able to implement this re-entry program now. It just adds another layer of preparedness for the city.”

The city is working with organizations and community groups to get the word out regarding the Re-Entry program.

“We’re looking forward to working with the City and TPD in implementing the new hurricane re-entry program for our residents and business owners to ensure their safe and swift return into Downtown in the event of an emergency,” said Lynda Remund, president and CEO for the Tampa Downtown Partnership.


  1. On Monday, March 4, the city will begin mailing out color-coded hang tags to residents and businesses in the areas most likely to face an evacuation during a hurricane event. That includes neighborhoods south of Interstate 275 and Interstate 4.
  2. Residents will be asked to keep an eye out for the white envelope with the words “CITY OF TAMPA HURRICANE HANG TAG ENCLOSED.” When it arrives, they are urged to remove the hang tag and immediately place it in their primary vehicle.
  3. In the event of an evacuation, the hang tags will enable residents to get back to their homes or businesses quickly and safely. Those without hang tags will still be able to re-enter the area, but they will be asked to produce identification or a utility bill to show that they have a reason to enter the neighborhoods.

A web page with maps and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at Just click on the Hurricane Re-Entry Program link.

Nonprofit Launches to Advocate for Transportation Options

A new nonprofit organization has launched to advocate for better transportation options across the Tampa Bay region. Karen Kress, Director of Transportation and Planning for the Tampa Downtown Partnership is among the founding board members.

The Tampa Bay Mobility Alliance (TBMO) includes representatives from approximately 30 businesses and civic organizations in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties. Tampa International Airport, Cigar City Brewing, the Pasco County Economic Development Council, Organize Florida, the Westshore Alliance, the Tampa Downtown Partnership, Tampa Innovation Partnership, and Armature Works developer SoHo Capital are among the group of founding members, along with businesses from a cross-section of industries

The organization provides a preview of its approach to advocacy work in a statement on its website:

“The alliance will be active across the entire Tampa Bay region. Members will write letters and scour the social media blogs to advance the cause of greater transportation options. Coalition members will speak before our boards of county commissioners and appear before our city councils. This group will also attend local transportation agency board meetings on a regular basis, from Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties. We want people to think that, ‘These guys are everywhere,’ and then ask, ‘How can I join?’”

Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, the leader of the Tampa Innovation Alliance, is a driving force behind the group. He says it all started in 2017, when he gave up his car keys for a week to rely solely on public transit. During his bus experiment, Sharpe says he was approached about working to improve transit and mobility options for the region.

He started to research and reviewe benchmarking trips local officials had taken to other areas of the country to see their transportation systems in person. From Los Angeles to Seattle to Watauga County, NC, Sharpe says areas with successful systems that provide for several modes of transportation often had a similar trait — an engaged community advocacy group.

TBMO registered as a nonprofit organization in the Spring of 2018 but did not have its first official meeting until Tuesday at Tampa International Airport. Sharpe says the group spent the interim building a membership base from its tri-county focus area and staying out of the campaign for Hillsborough’s transportation sales tax.

“We’re just beginning to scratch the surface,” he says. “This is going to be a large group and it is not going to have monolithic thinking. We all support mobility options but there will be differences of opinion.”

The group plans to meet monthly. Sharpe says research and public engagement will come first, before the group begins to advocate on issues.

“If you come out of the gate and advocate for this and that, you lose people,” he says.

The TBMO launches at a potential inflection point for transportation in the Tampa Bay region. Hillsborough County voters passed a transportation sales tax referendum in 2018 after rejecting multiple prior efforts, although expenditures are on hold after a lawsuit filed by Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White. St Petersburg is planning a bus rapid transit system on the Central Avenue corridor and a larger BRT system is a possibility along all or some of I-275 from Pasco County into St. Pete. The Florida Department of Transportation is also in the planning stages of several projects to ease congestion and increase along I-275 and the potential addition of express toll lanes could also accommodate an express bus system.

Sharpe says TBMO will focus on large regional projects as well as on the smaller local projects that connect transit and mobility systems and position the region to compete with areas such as Silicon Valley.

Tampa entrepreneur Roberto Torres, the co-chair representing Hillsborough County, says businesses see that providing better bicycle, pedestrian, and transit options are key to attracting and retaining talent. Torres, with Black Tiger Café and Black & Denim, says the TBMO will provide a “safe space” to talk about transportation and hopefully reach “common ground solutions.”

Pasco EDC President/CEO Bill Cronin is co-chair representing Pasco. Andrew Machota, the CEO and founder of New Town Connections, a social club for young professionals, is the co-chair representing Pinellas.

“Tampa Bay Mobility Alliance forms to advocate for better transportation options”83 Degrees Media

March is Florida Bike Month – The Diary of a Bicyclist

To celebrate Florida Bike Month, we will feature an article each week which highlights the ease of biking in and around Tampa’s Downtown.

This week features an article from 83 Degrees Media, Commuting by bike: Bicyclist shares experience riding to work in Tampa

Editor’s note: Plan Hillsborough and its community partners kicked off a five-month campaign in February that highlights a different mode of transportation each month. 83 Degrees asked Christine Acosta, a local transportation advocate and Founder of Pedal Power Promoters, to keep a journal of her commute as part of #commuterchallenge19 with the theme “fall in love with your commute.” Here is what she wrote:

I began bicycle commuting during the Great Recession while attending classes at Hillsborough Community College. To
academics, I was something called “non-traditional,” a student pursuing a long-postponed bachelor’s degree in my late 40s. To this day I am grateful to HCC for granting me bike-commuter access to the women’s locker room, which was normally for use only by the school’s athletes.

Years later, after graduating from the University of Tampa, where I also had bike-commuter privileges, I started a social enterprise, Pedal Power Promoters. The business works with public and private organizations on a variety of initiatives, all aimed at improving bicycle friendliness.

While I often ride my bike from my home office to business meetings and life’s daily activities, this week I made a special effort in honor of Commuter Challenge Week.

Many people, including my friends and family, are frightened by what is reported often about Tampa Bay Area’s dangerous roadway conditions for bicyclists. There is truth to those reports; however, it is possible to safely ride and enjoy being a bicycle commuter in Tampa. Having been one for 10+ years, I take my safety very seriously and will share some of my safety tips within the diary below.

In addition to riding in Tampa, I have ridden bicycles in 22 cities in 8 countries. I do this out a deep love of riding, and as a way to feel immediately connected to the city that I’m visiting. Some of the cities I’ve pedaled are places where a large percentage of the population bikes as a normal course of everyday life. I strive to model my own behavior, wardrobe, and attitude after places like Amsterdam. It is my vision that Tampa Bay will continue to grow in bicycle friendliness, and become a world-class place for bicycle commuters.

Preparation and essential gear:

1. Shoes with heel straps — I dress for the purpose of my ride, a business meeting, dining out, going to the grocery store, etc., not the ride itself, including my shoes. So, they’re fashionable, but they have to stay on my feet should I stop suddenly, or worse, fall.
2. Gloves — I know I’m going to fall down at some point! No sense getting gravel-palms. Plus, my gloves prevent my age spots from getting sun!
3. Fully charged front and rear lights — Using my USB rechargeable lights all day everyday keeps me visible to motorists.
4. Side/rearview mirror — This is the most important safety feature on my bike. I have a constant awareness of vehicles coming from behind. When I sense they do not see me or may pass too closely, I wave my arm, or do a slight zig-zag to get their attention. After I make this kind of motion, drivers are much more likely to pass me with more than the state-required 3 feet; more slowly too.
5. Water, nutrients, or a good plan to get them.
6. An awesome playlist! Great music makes my rides that much more fun. Rest assured, I never wear earbuds!
7. Check the weather, check the weather, check the weather.

Read the full article.

Tampa Names Three Vendors for E-Scooter Pilot Program

City officials have narrowed down their selection of what three electric scooter operators will be cruising their product on the streets of Tampa.

The city of Tampa, director of purchasing, with concurrence of Tampa’s transportation and stormwater services department staff, have recommended to award a contract to:

  • Skinny Labs Inc., known as Spin
  • Social Bicycles LLC, known as JUMP
  • Bird Rides Inc.

The final award is subject to review by the city’s purchasing staff for compliance with purchasing procedures, funding availability, insurance coverage and legal sufficiency, according to the Feb. 25 notice.

March 4 is the intended award date and it’s expected to go before city council for approval.

The one-year pilot project is said to be underway by April 1. The three vendors will supply a total of 1,800 scooters that would be placed in different areas throughout downtown in corrals.

Tampa’s program is expected to launch in April and last for 12 months. Operators will be responsible for sharing revenue and operational data, communicating with the city, addressing public complaints and resolving any operational issues that may arise, according to the request for applications.

The city specifically states that the scooters will not be allowed on the Tampa Riverwalk, the Bayshore Boulevard sidewalk, 7th Avenue and on any private property.

At the end of the period, the city may select one vendor to serve the entire area.

Vendors such as Bird and Uber, which recently purchased startup JUMP and invested in Lime, spoke at the Synapse Summit in Tampa with the Tampa Bay Business Journal about their interest in Tampa’s program. A Bird executive told TBBJ if the company was to be selected as one of three operators for the Shared Motorized Scooter Pilot Program, it would roll out its newest product to Tampa— Bird Zero. It’s the first rugged e-scooter built by Bird that is made to be more durable.

Bird is also interested in implementing scooters in other municipalities such as St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

“Tampa names three vendors for e-scooter pilot program”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Downtown Tampa’s Office Market to Experience a Pivotal Year

Tampa’s central business district had the lowest office vacancy rate of any office market in the bay area as of the end of 2018. A new report by JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle) showed the vacancy rate at 9 percent, compared to 11.6 percent in downtown St. Petersburg and a high of 24.6 percent in outlying areas of Pinellas County. For the bay area overall, the total vacancy rate stood at 13.8, lower than in 2015 but higher than in 2017. The average gross asking rent was $25.69 per square foot, the highest in three years.

With only one new office project breaking ground in 2018 — the MetWest Three building in Tampa’s Westshore area — this could be “a year of realization given the 1.5 million square feet of planned development that was scheduled or has been pushed back in2019,’’ the report said. “Yet regardless of whether promised development is kept or if we continue to see minimal groundbreakings, the new year will be a pivotal one for Tampa office (space).’’

Tampa Bay’s office market faces a ‘pivotal’ year in 2019”Tampa Bay Times (subscription required)

Paninoteca Reopens as Dio Mediterranean

Downtown Tampa’s panini spot expands its space and its menu with dinner options. The new restaurant offers brunch and dinner, featuring kebabs and a lobster pasta.

Since it opened in 2007, Paninoteca has been a popular downtown dining spot at the corner of Franklin and Twiggs streets. It has lived up to its name, which means sandwich shop in Italian, serving up paninis, wraps, Greek salads and hummus.

In Tampa’s ever-growing food scene, Joe and Mary Khabbaz, the husband and wife duo behind the restaurant, decided to step things up a notch.

They initially set out to simply update their menu. But, after acquiring an additional 1,200 square feet from the former restaurant that operated behind them, the couple completely remodeled their restaurant. They will reopen the first week of March under a new name — Dio Modern Mediterranean.

“Part of the reason we decided to expand is because we saw downtown growing and we felt like now was the right time to do it,” said Mary Khabbaz.

“It’s drawing a crowd into this area, people who wouldn’t normally venture into the downtown district. So we figured let’s give people something to do down here, hang out and have some more dinner options.”

Paninoteca was formerly dark and cozy inside, but according to Mary Khabbaz, Dio’s atmosphere will be completely different.

“It’s more open and airy,” she said. “Everything is lighter and brighter with whitewashed brick walls and white and gray chairs.”

And she believes the name perfectly matches their new restaurant.

Dio, meaning “two” in Greek, represents their second-time opening. And Modern Mediterranean represents their new menu, which adds brunch and dinner items like lobster pasta and chicken, steak and seafood kebabs.

Although many menu items are new, Khabbaz promises some Paninoteca favorites will remain, like their ceviche, hummus and chicken pancetta.

Dio Modern Mediterranean operates from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturdays, and 8 midnight on Sundays at 519 N Franklin St.

Prices range from $6 to $25, and for more information visit

“Paninoteca reopens with larger space as Dio Modern Mediterranean”Tampa Bay Times (subscription required)

Downtown Calendar

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, March 6, 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, March 7, 6:30pm to 9pm
MacDill Park on the Riverwalk
Listen to some great musical talent in a beautiful, relaxing setting. This month’s show features Row Jomah, Hotel Life, and Shae Krispinsky. 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.

Downtown’s Bike to Work Ride & Rally 2019

Friday, March 8, begins 7am
Lykes Gaslight Park
Break out the bikes and get ready to pedal around town! Choose from 8 different neighborhood meet-up locations for a guided ride with experienced cyclists. All will finish at Lykes Gaslight Square for food, music, information, and fun. For more information, go to Downtown’s Bike to Work Ride & Rally 2019.

Taking the Stage at the Straz Center

Hundred Days – Through Sunday, March 24
Hamilton – Through Sunday, March 10
Open Rehearsal – The Pearl Fishers – Through Thursday, March 7
Jeremy Douglass: Broadway Pre-Show – Tuesday, March 5, begins 7pm
Live & Local – Eden Shireen – Friday, March 8, begins 6pm

On the Marquee at Tampa Theatre

Never Look Away (2019) – Through Wednesday, March 6
Tom Segura: Take It Down Tour – Thursday, March 7 and Friday, March 8
Sing-Along Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) – Saturday, March 9, begins 7:30pm
CatVideoFest 2019 – Sunday, March 10, begins 3pm

This Week at Amalie Arena

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Winnipeg Jets – Tuesday, March 5, begins 7:30pm
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Minnesota Wild – Thursday, March 7, begins 7:30pm
Blake Shelton – Friday, March 8, begins 7pm
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings – Saturday, March 9, begins 7pm

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Monday Morning Memo –Monday Morning Memo is a weekly update of “insider downtown information” regarding developments, transportation, special opportunities and other useful information to help you make the most of downtown. Subscribe to receive this weekly newsletter.

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