Monday Morning Memo

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Partnership Presents

Hurricane Preparedness Meeting, June 13

Hurricane season begins June 1st. After last year’s active and deadly season, be sure your business and employees are prepared by joining our Annual Hurricane Preparedness meeting on Wednesday, June 13 at TECO Hall in Tampa’s Downtown. Attendees will hear from Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Tampa Electric Company, Tampa Fire Rescue, Tampa Police Department, NOAA Operations Center, National Weather Center, and USF Health, CAMLS as they discuss best practices to implement in planning for an incoming storm. Register today!

Won’t You Be Our Neighbor?

On Thursday, June 14, Tampa Theatre will be one of only a handful of theatres in the country to open the new documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? And in the spirit of Mr. Rogers’ enduring message, the historic movie palace and the Tampa Downtown Partnership will host a Franklin Street Block Party from 5:00 to 7:00pm before the 7:30pm screening of the film. Restaurants along the surrounding blocks of Franklin Street will be sampling house favorites out on the sidewalks in front of each location. Under the Theatre’s historic marquee at 711 N. Franklin Street, guests will experience a pop-up art exhibit, live chalk art, and the opportunity to  meet representatives from community organizations.  Inside, Tampa Theatre will be collecting new and gently used sweaters and sneakers for adults and children to benefit The Spring of Tampa Bay and other local charities who care for our neighbors in need. Click here to get more information and buy tickets.

Debriefing Recap on the Hillsborough River

The following is a selection from a Tampa Bay Times article published on May 22 after our Debriefing Series held that morning at the River Center in the new Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. “If you looked up and down the Hillsborough River in the 1980s, you would have seen much of the shoreline reinforced with vertical walls built in an attempt to stave off erosion or, in some cases, as a convenient place to park a boat. Back then, little thought was given to how pollutants such as motor oil, pesticides and fertilizers were impacting the river’s health. Those pollutants can harm fish and wildlife and foul water quality. But as the Hillsborough River plays an ever greater role in the growth of downtown Tampa, the challenge of keeping it healthy is more important than ever. And that can be difficult, said Shawn College, team leader for the Hillsborough City-County Planning Commission, who spoke Tuesday at a Tampa Downtown Partnership panel that discussed the river’s role in the region.” Read the full article here.

Tampa Downtown Partnership Receives Award

Tampa Downtown Partnership is a proud recipient of the Travel Choices Innovative Program Award for implementing the Downtowner Micro-Transit Service. Given by the Florida Department of Transportation each year, the award is given to a Florida public transportation system, commuter assistance program, transportation management organization or other Florida entity that has designed and implemented specific public transportation-related programs that demonstrate innovative concepts or effective problem-solving techniques. The program should be of proven value and adaptable for use by others.  Karen Kress, Director of Transportation and Planning, received the award during the 2018 Florida Commuter Transportation Summit. Congratulations!

Save the Date, Celebrate with us on June 27

Mark your calendars for our 32nd Annual Meeting happening June 27 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. The Annual Meeting and Luncheon is the Tampa Downtown Partnership’s premier event. Once a year the Partnership has the opportunity to share with our members and the downtown community a celebration of our organization’s successes and accomplishments throughout the year, recognize our outgoing and incoming Board Chair and induct Board officers and directors for the upcoming year. The event features dynamic speakers, the release of the Partnership’s Annual Year in Review, remarks from the Partnership’s Board leadership, and a look at what lays ahead for downtown and our organization.  The Annual Meeting is a great opportunity to connect with downtown stakeholders, learn about key issues, and celebrate downtown’s continued growth. This year we welcome Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Mayor Joe Riley from the City of Charleston. Register today! Sponsorship opportunities are available.

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.

Blithe Spirit

Thursday, May 31 to Sunday, June 17
Stageworks Theatre
Charles Condomine, a mediocre novelist, summons a medium to his hime to study “the techniques” of spiritualists for his new book. Along with Ruth, his second wife, and Dr. and Mrs. Bradman, close friends, he participates in a seance conducted by Madame Arcati, who supplies Charles with more than he bargained for. She produces a “protoplasmic manifestation” in the form of Elvira, Charles’s deceased first wife whom only he (and the audience) can see and hear. With farce and wit unleashed, playwright Noel Coward presents some of his best comic characters in a situation full of spirits and satire. For more information, go to Blithe Spirit.

Tampa Bay Throwdown Cornhole Tournament

Saturday, June 2, begins 10am
Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park
This event is centered around the greatest leisurely sport known to man: Cornhole! Registered teams of two will compete for a number of prizes, including cash and cornhole boards. Proceeds from the competition will benefit local charities, including Tampa Bay Veteran’s Closet and National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. For more information, go to Tampa Bay Throwdown Cornhole Tournament.

Applying the Language of Photography to Bookmaking

Saturday, June 2, 1:30pm to 4pm
Florida Museum of Photographic Arts
Photography is a language, the same as the written or spoken word. This course will not be a “how to physically make a book” but how to apply the language of photography to your images to help you create a book. Participants will explore the concept of sequencing images to create a book. Various concepts will be discussed including working in a series or using a sequence and setting your goal for a book. For more information, go to Applying the Language of Photography to Bookmaking.

Shania Twain

Saturday, June 2, begins 7:30pm
Amalie Arena
Global superstar Shania Twain is coming to Downtown Tampa for one of the most anticipated concerts of the year! This is Shania’s first tour since 2015. Hear all of your classic favorites, as well as some new hits. This country show is sure to get everyone moving, grooving, and having a spectacular evening. Find some tickets and take your seats for this high level concert experience! For more info, go to Shania Twain.

On the Marquee at Tampa Theatre

RBG – Through Friday, June 1
Tampa Theatre’s Restoration Celebration – Saturday, June 2, begins 8:30pm
Top Gun – Sunday, June 3, 3pm to 5pm

Doing Business in Downtown

Marketplace Spotlight: Lector Social Club

Located at 305 E. Polk Street, Lector Social Club is a place for old friends to drink old wine and burn the house down with new friends, music, and stories. Their name is inspired by Tampa’s historical lineage of los lectores, the readers, from the 19th century cigar-factory days. In this era, lectores read the daily newspapers in multiple languages, recited poetry and great works of literature, as well as, comical dramas while factory workers quietly rolled cigars. This is also when Tampa enjoyed a fluid exchange of ideas between friends from all over the world – Cuba and New York in particular. It is in this spirit that we have built Lector, as much a listening room as a wine bar. Whether our stage hosts a famous author reading from their latest novel, a local musician performing at our open mic, or a natural wine class, we invite our guests to listen and to be heard. So be sure to stop by for their grand opening Father’s Day weekend and be sure to like their Facebook page for events and updates. Welcome to Tampa’s Downtown!

Ulele Names New Executive Chef

Ulele, the native Floridian cuisine restaurant in Tampa Heights, has named a new executive chef. Columbia Restaurant Group on Monday announced that Keith Williamson is the new executive chef at Ulele, replacing Eric Lackey, who left the post “a few months ago,” a spokesman said. Williamson has an international resume, joining Ulele after time at Ocean Prime and Bulla Gastrobar in Tampa as well as the Ca ’Peo, a 1-Michelin star restaurant in Liguria, Italy. He also owned and operated Baci Italian Grill in New Tampa from 1997 until 2002.
“Ulele Names New Executive Chef”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Co-Work Offices Open at Armature Works

The name of the new Bay 3 co-working space at the Armature Works goes back to World War I, when the red-brick warehouse overlooking the Hillsborough River was the maintenance barn for Tampa Electric’s streetcar system. Bay 3 leases come with 24-hour access, a kitchenette with a couple of Sub-Zero refrigerators, a Keurig coffee machine and a Vero Water dispenser, a staffed front desk, high-speed secure internet service, a notary and video conferencing, plus — for an additional cost — mail and package handling, color printing and the use of five conference rooms. At 11,000 square feet, Bay 3 has 29 private offices ranging from 61 to 450 square feet in size and renting for from $699 to $1,999 a month; 10 dedicated desks starting at $400 a month and common-area memberships starting at $175 a month. About 80 percent of the spaces are leased.
“At Bay 3, Developers of Tampa’s Armature Works Transform Old Industrial Space Into New Co-Work Offices”Tampa Bay Times

Watervue Opens for Brunch, June 3

Andrew Bonnemort , the owner of Café Dufrain and Cry Baby Café on Harbour Island, has opened his new Harbour Island restaurant, Watervue Grille. The restaurant, located at 700 Harbour Post Drive, opened in early April.  The restaurant is open Monday – Saturday from 5pm to 10 and starting June 3rd, Sunday Brunch. Watervue Grille focuses on fresh Florida seafood in a waterfront setting with the best views of Downtown Tampa. Guest favorites include Whole Fried Snapper and Chips, Red Chili Rubbed Black Gulf Grouper, Grilled Tomahawk Pork Chop and Lobster Mac & Cheese. The newly renovated space has been designed to provide an inviting coastal feel with accordion patio doors and oversized picturesque windows that provide an open and relaxed waterfront dining experience. Watervue Grille’s full bar, featuring fresh hand crafted and draft cocktails, is designed to complement the atmosphere and enhance the diverse flavors of the menu. Visit their website for more information.

DAS Health Secures $6M Credit Facility

DAS Health has secured a $6 million credit facility that it primarily will use for future acquisitions and growth. The health technology company in Tampa that works with independent physicians got the credit line from Fifth Third Bank, a press release said. DAS provides information technology, management solutions and consulting services to doctors and hospitals nationwide. It’s made five acquisitions in three years and has used its own internal operating cash flow for each of them, the release said. The company now serves nearly 2,000 clinicians and more than 600 physician practices nationwide. DAS, is “exactly the type of company that Tampa has been trying to grow here,” Mayor Bob Buckhorn said when DAS last year announced a $145,000 capital investment to expand its headquarters in downtown Tampa and said it would add 30 jobs paying an average annual wage of $55,130.
“How A Fast-Growing Tampa Health Tech Company Will Use New Access To Credit”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Development and Transportation

Regional Transit Plan Survey

The team creating the Regional Transit Feasibility Plan is rolling out an online survey this week to obtain additional public input on the draft plan while hearing more about how residents would use transit. The survey is on the project website,, and includes questions about respondents’ transit preferences. It also asks for feedback on the team’s technical recommendations released earlier this year regarding a proposed “catalyst project” and the Regional Vision. The survey will be open for just a few more weeks. To learn more about the Regional Transit Feasibility Plan and the online survey, visit the project website.

Tampa Recognized for Transportation Tech

Tampa is one of two Florida cities noted in a list of “21 smart cities to watch” published this week by the state and local government technology news organization StateScoop. Tampa is listed based on its $3 billion Water Street Tampa development and a $21 million grant to study connected vehicle technology. “Tampa is a smart city in the making,” the listing reads, “and the only city in the U.S. using public residents to facilitate a U.S. Department of Transportation-funded connected vehicle project.” The term “smart cities” is used to describe areas where technology is being used to solve problems and often includes transportation technology. Adapting to innovation while solving things like traffic congestion is an attractive feature in a community as businesses look to grow or move.
“Tampa Recognized As A ‘Smart City’ Based On $21M Transportation Tech, Water Street” Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Construction Begins on Ybor Hotel

Developers launched construction last Thursday, May 24, on one of Ybor City’s biggest new projects in years — a four-story, $50 million boutique hotel being created by a Chicago company that seeks out neighborhoods rich in color and character. In Ybor City, it found just what it wants. The 176-room hotel is planned for the 1400 block of E Seventh Avenue. It’s mostly a parking lot now but is loaded with local history. A couple of buildings on the block once were home to the Czar nightclub, and before that the Pleasuredome, Tracks and El Goya, a disco and gay bar famous for its huge dance floor and over-the-top drag shows. Decades before, the block also was home to the El Dorado, the notorious gambling house and bordello run by Tampa crime boss Charlie Wall. Go even farther back, and history arrives at one of Tampa’s oldest restaurants, Las Novedades.
“One Of Ybor City’s Most Historic Blocks About To See Construction Of Four-Story Boutique Hotel”Tampa Bay Times

Smartphones Driving Downtown Housing Booms

The boom in downtown housing can be traced to your phone, according to Mark Vitner, senior economist for Wells Fargo Securities Economics Group. “What we are seeing is that a larger proportion of people — millennials, boomers, Gen X-ers — all want to live in the downtown area. What’s driving that is the smartphone,” Vitner said during a May 24 conference call on the mid-year 2018 Florida economic outlook. Downtowns everywhere are feeling the impact, including in Tampa. Nearly 4,000 residential units have been built in downtown Tampa since 2012, more than 3,200 are under construction and another 6,000 are planned, Tampa Bay Business Journal recently reported. There’s data that indicates suburbs are growing faster than downtowns, and that’s true in Tampa as well, Vitner said. Vitner sees downtowns as the trend to watch. People want to live in places where there are more things to do, and the prevalence of smartphones makes users more aware of activities around them and makes it easier to take part in those activities, he said.
“Why Smartphones Are Driving People To Move To Downtown Tampa And Downtowns Everywhere”Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)

Member Corner

Coast Bike Share Responds to Data

It’s not just tourists using bike-sharing; a review of customer data after Coast Bike’s first year in St. Pete shows that many city and county residents are using the service; some are even using it to commute to work. 55% of trips taken are by users who live in the city of St. Petersburg, says Coast, and a whopping 79% of trips taken are by residents of Florida. And based on the data they’ve collected, Coast Bikes is planning two big, new initiatives they believe will encourage even more ridership in 2018 and beyond. One initiative would be what Coast is calling their “Bikes for Everyone” program to “address barriers to bike share use among low-income communities.” The program will offer a reduced $7 per month membership to low-income residents, the same as what Coast already offers as a student rate, and the program includes the usual 60 minutes of daily ride time that comes with the traditional $15/month plan. The other major change coming to Coast Bikes is what they are calling “virtual stations” which would allow riders to park their bikes in certain public bike racks that would be marked as such on their app.
“It’s Not Just Tourists Using Bike-Sharing In St. Pete; Some Are Even Commuting With Them”ABC Action News

Tampa Electric Modernizes Big Bend

As part of Tampa Electric’s commitment to clean energy, the utility is making significant changes to the Big Bend Power Station: 1. modernize Unit 1, after 50 years of operation, and will use natural gas combined-cycle technology, which will eliminate coal as this unit’s fuel. 2. Retire Unit 2 in 2021, after 48 years of operation. The project will reuse existing equipment, including the cooling system, which will continue to produce the warm water that attracts manatees to the power station’s discharge canal each winter. The $853 million Big Bend project will repower Big Bend Unit 1 with state-of-the-art combined-cycle technology. When complete in 2023, the project will be capable of producing 1,090 MW in a two-on-one format. The units were originally designed to burn coal, and in recent years we added natural gas as a secondary fuel to all four units. As part of this investment, Big Bend Unit 2 will be retired in 2021.

Hill Ward Henderson Shareholder Named to Board

Hill Ward Henderson is proud to announce Shareholder Ed Armstrong was recently elected to serve as the vice-chair of the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s (The District) Governing Board for the 2018-2019 term.  Mr. Armstrong was originally appointed to The District’s Governing Board in 2014, and has since held various positions. The 13-member Governing Board establishes policies for the entire 16-county District. The Governing Board represents a wide cross section of interests, including agricultural, recreational, business, industrial, urban, rural and the public. Board members are appointed by the Governor and are confirmed by the Florida Senate. Hill Ward Henderson is a full-service law firm with multi-disciplinary practices. Headquartered in downtown Tampa, with over 100 attorneys, the firm has a wide range of local, regional and national clients. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at

Tampa Theatre Celebrates Restoration Completion

Just 15 months after announcing a $6 million fundraising campaign for Phase 1 of Tampa Theatre’s first major restoration in 40 years, the historic landmark reached its goal during the “Wine’s World” WineFest event held in March. Construction has been progressing since October, and is scheduled to wrap up in May. To celebrate this transformational chapter in its 91-year story, Tampa Theatre and Members of The Florida Orchestra will present Buster Keaton’s The General in its original silent format with live musical accompaniment at 8:30pm Saturday, June 2.  Given that it was released in 1926 – the same year Tampa Theatre opened in downtown Tampa – it is the perfect film to celebrate Tampa Theatre’s Restoration Celebration.  Tickets are on sale now for $25 for General Admission and $22 for Tampa Theatre Members at the historic Franklin Street Box Office and online at (service fees apply).

Around Town

Changes Made to Bayshore Boulevard

The City of Tampa has incorporated the reduction of the speed limit on Bayshore Blvd into its anticipated traffic calming plan and had advised all of the affected neighborhood groups and interested parties of this decision.  Beginning as early as tomorrow, the City will begin replacing all speed limit signs on Bayshore Blvd.  Over the next few days, the City will speed up an already planned phase of the Bayshore Boulevard project. TPD traffic enforcement will continue and officers will incorporate the new speed limits as the signs are erected. There will be message boards along the road notifying drivers of the change for the next few weeks. In addition, there are a whole series of improvements and modifications that will be incorporated over the next few months to make Bayshore safer for both pedestrians and vehicles.

Investors are Bullish on West Tampa

Mike Braccia has been keeping his eye on West Tampa for a long time. Now Braccia is part of a team of investors that is stepping into West Tampa to reinvigorate one of the neighborhood’s landmark buildings. Braccia is one of the principals of Bay Street Commercial, a South Tampa-based boutique brokerage that has handled transactions for properties all over the area. He says he’s been intrigued by the potential of West Tampa for years. Recent developments have led Braccia to determine that the time is right to get involved in the area financially. His investment partnership, which is not part of Bay Street Commercial, is renovating a 9,200-square-foot, two-story building on West Main Street at Albany Albany. The building, at 2100 N. Main St., is in the early stages of renovation. Plans call for four retail businesses to take the ground floor. The second floor is an open space, and the partners don’t have firm plans for that area yet.
“Bullish On West Tampa, Investor Helps Shape Its Future”83 Degrees

Tampa Parks and Recreation Host Stay & Play

This summer, starting May 25th, select recreation centers around the City of Tampa will hold extended hours. These extended hours will provide teens with free Rec Cards, which allows access to these recreation centers, different programs to participate in, and a variety of educational events. Since the inception of our Stay & Play Program, over 100,000 teens have visited our various centers and pools.  Stay & Play aims to provide teens a place to be active, safe, and healthy. Food will be provided for free as well as transportation home when available from the Parks and Recreation Department. Read the full news alert.

St. Pete Needs More Office Space

Talk to any public official in the bay area, and you’ll probably hear them repeat the latest catch phrase: Live, work, play. Yet as St. Petersburg grows and reshapes its identity as a cultural and entertainment destination, city leaders are concerned that this side of the bay is missing one critical aspect of that mantra. The problem is that not enough people work in downtown St. Petersburg. Community and business leaders hope to change that by adding more high-end office space. St. Petersburg hasn’t built any new Class A space in almost 30 years. Without any new office construction on the horizon, developers are instead finding creative ways to renovate and modernize existing properties, hoping to entice companies, especially those out of state.
“St. Petersburg Needs – And Wants – To Offer More Office Space”Tampa Bay Times

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