In November of 2018, Hillsborough County Voters made a decisive choice and approved the All For Transportation amendment, ensure funding went to Improve roads and bridges, Expand public transit options, Fix potholes, Enhance bus services, Relieve rush hour bottlenecks, Improve intersections, and Make walking and biking safer.
In June, the All For Transportation amendment was validated by the 13th Judicial Circuit Court. In his ruling, Judge Barbas explained that the County Commission must enact the priorities that voters agreed upon. After the decision, you showed up and told the County Commission to #HonorOurVote at their June meeting. They heard us loud and clear.
Now, County Staff have prepared and drafted the AFT Ordinance, protecting all of the priorities that we voted on in November by making it county policy. It’s up to us to stand up for the 282,000 of our neighbors who asked for safe streets, faster commutes, and real options to get around our County.
Join Team AFT as we mobilize to #HonorOurVote in the Month of September to help pass the AFT Ordinance at the Board of County Commissioners.
1) REACH OUT: Email your County Commissioners at the link below & Ask a friend to do the same.
2) SPEAK UP: Come to the Board of County Commissioners Meeting next Thursday, September 5th at 9:00am. Public comment sign ups will take place prior to the meeting beginning, so get there early and ask to sign up!
3) TURN OUT: Bring a friend, coworker, neighbor and ask them to come to the Board of County Commissioners and make their voice heard. Turning out sends a powerful message to our friends at County Center sitting at the Dias, and we want to pack the room!
Join us and tell the County Commission to #HonorOurVote and restore our funding priorities by passing the AFT Ordinance. We’ll see you there.
We recently caught up with Dr. Judy Genshaft, former USF President, and she shared her excitement for the upcoming Local Leaders Luncheon on September 10th, 2019 at the Tampa River Center. Click below to watch her video and to secure your spot today!
Register for the Local Leader’s Luncheon here.
Shelves packed with chips, freezers stuffed with ice cream and nine aisles full of any other midnight snack Channel District dwellers could crave, are finally steps, a trolley stop or a mere elevator ride away.
Talk about easy access — and temptation. For years, it’s been just a dream. Now, it’s finally a reality. The new downtown Tampa Publix attached to the Club Channel apartment building opens Thursday at 7 a.m.
The store doesn’t only share a structure with an apartment, it’s sandwiched between two other residential high-rises. The Channel District has exploded in recent years, but one missing piece was a grocer to serve the quarter’s growing number of residents. Construction delays left citizens even more anxious for the long-awaited supermarket.
“It was pushed back, and pushed back and pushed back,” said Amanda Black, who watched the Publix’s construction process while living at a neighboring complex. “I almost can’t believe it’s finally here.”
The nearest options for residents like Black have been small urban grocer Duckweed and the Publix on Bayshore Boulevard at Platt Street.
When Black, 28, needed carrots for a recipe last week she rejoiced that Duckweed, which is within walking distance, had them. The store’s curated assortment can make it tough to know what kind of fresh produce or other staple items will be in stock.
The other Publix, though under 2 miles away, can be difficult to access when hockey games or concerts at nearby Amalie Arena clog up roadways.
“I think a grocery store, as an anchor, really defines a community, defines a development, as a neighborhood,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, who will help cut the store’s opening ribbon Thursday morning. “So, we’re very excited to see Publix open up.”
Publix spokesman Brian West said when he took on his current role at the Lakeland grocery chain seven years ago, he was getting questions about a store in the Channel District. They never let up. He said the hype around this location has been especially intense.
The glossy new store is just over 28,000 square feet, which is smaller than the standard 48,000-square-foot suburban stores. But with the rise of mixed-used properties in urban areas, Publix has perfected its compact layouts. The newer Publix stores in downtown St. Petersburg and on the University of South Florida campus in Tampa are two other recent examples.
The Bayshore store, also a smaller store, doesn’t have the same open feel as the new one at 1105 E Twiggs St.
The store has things Florida shoppers have come to expect from their neighborhood Publix, and a couple bonuses.
“We expect a lot of customers in the downtown area to want grab-and-go,” West said, as employees packed fresh prepared salads and sandwiches into empty racks.
Playing to the luxury apartment residents who live so close, the store has an assortment of specialty cheeses and a larger wine selection than most of its other urban footprint stores.
There’s a small seating area in the mezzanine near the parking garage entrance, too, that has free Wifi.
“It’s the perfect place to take your Pub Sub and go eat,” West said.
“Downtown Tampa finally gets its Publix” – Tampa Bay Times (subscription required)
One of the first restaurants to make a bet on the revitalization of downtown Tampa will close for good in mid-September.
Anise Global Gastrobar, which opened on the street level of the Skypoint condominium tower in February 2013, said on Facebook that its last day will be Sept. 14.
“As with everything in life, chapters must end so that new growth can begin,” the restaurant’s Facebook post, published the Sunday before Labor Day, reads. “The factors involved in the decision to close our doors have signaled that it is time for all of us at Anise to move on to our next adventures.”
Anise, which serves craft cocktails and Asian-inspired small bites, is the brainchild of husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Kevin and Xuan “Sing” Hurt. Before opening Anise, the Hurts ran the Stinky Bunz food truck, known for steamed buns filled with Korean barbecue and kimchi.
Kevin Hurt did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. The restaurant’s Facebook post said it would maintain North Star, its booth at the Hall on Franklin in Tampa Heights.
The restaurant has one of the best locations in downtown Tampa, in close proximity to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for Performing Arts Center and the William F. Poe Garage. Anise had a pre-show menu, specifically aimed at theatergoers headed to performances at the Straz.
In 2013, downtown Tampa’s dining scene was far less competitive than it is today. Since Anise opened, a number of other destination bars and restaurants have cropped up around the urban core. Ulele opened a year and a half after Anise on the Tampa Heights waterfront. Gin Joint and Osteria Bar and Kitchen are within blocks of Anise and are also popular pre-Straz haunts. There are two full-service restaurants and a food hall inside the explosively popular Armature Works.
Anise’s storefront — along with all of the other retail condos on the ground level of Skypoint — are owned by a group of investors that paid a record-setting price per square foot in 2015. At the time of the sale, a broker involved in the deal said the current tenants were on five-year terms.
“Anise Global Gastrobar in downtown Tampa to close mid-September” – Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required)
Surveys showing loneliness is at a peak in the United States are shaping plans for Riverwalk Place, a luxury condominium project in downtown Tampa.
The 53-story project is being designed with restaurants, outdoor space and other amenities to bring people together, said Larry Feldman, president and CEO of Feldman Equities.
Feldman Equities and Two Roads Development in south Florida are collaborating on Riverwalk Place.
Feldman was one of four prominent local real estate experts who talked about topics ranging from office design to affordable housing at an Aug. 22 panel discussion sponsored by Bisnow, a digital media company that focuses on real estate trends.
“We’re all plugged in and wired in with a million devices and social media, so you would think people would not be lonely, but the loneliness problem is an epidemic in the United States. My job as a developer is to do things in our buildings that are going to help that,” Feldman said.
He said the Riverwalk Place project will have four restaurants, all with outdoor seating along downtown Tampa’s Riverwalk, a pedestrian trail along the Hillsborough River.
“We’re going to have as many as 240 outdoor seats and tables. We’re requiring that our restaurants that operate there be open not just for dinner. We’re requiring them to be open for lunch and in many cases breakfast. We want them all to have bar activity. We want that bar activity to be open to as late as 2 o’clock in the morning,” Feldman said.
Restaurants are one of the few types of retail that are “Amazon-proof,” despite the presence of meal delivery options such as Uber Eats, Feldman said. “They still haven’t figured out how to deliver by Amazon a night of entertainment with friends and company.”
He also wants to take advantage of the city park in front of the property.
“This will be the funnel point to enter the Riverwalk, and we think that this is a way for cities to go in the future, to create a series of entertainment zones in the heart of the city. I think it is partly an antidote to the loneliness problem,” Feldman said.
Feldman Equities is the largest owner of office buildings in downtown St. Petersburg, where its portfolio is made up of City Center, First Central Tower and Morgan Stanley Tower downtown. The company just acquired Castille at Carillon in Carillon Office Park. Feldman also owns Park Tower and the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Tampa.
“What we’re seeing here in Tampa finally is a resurgence in the downtown. I think we’re not even in the first inning of where I think downtown Tampa can go. We’ve already seen a lot of growth in downtown St. Petersburg,” Feldman said. “What I want to see is that downtown becomes extremely dense and extremely large. I would love to see the city do away with restrictions on height and go with much greater density. I think that’s the wave of the future.”
There’s been a generational shift in how people use office space, as mobile devices bring more connectivity, said Kyle Burd, managing director of Cousins Properties, an Atlanta-based real estate investment trust that owns the Corporate Center buildings near International Plaza in Tampa, as well as Harborview Plaza and The Pointe in Rocky Point.
He cited life sciences firm Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN), with a 136,000-square-foot capabilities center in Corporate Center I.
“They didn’t start with a design firm or an architect or engineer. They started with an organizational communications consultant. What it’s about — what Larry said — is the connectivity of the human being and the proximity from person to person in a space. Too close and you put up walls. Too far apart and you don’t connect … When they use a big conference room, people are more stiff and the communication is not as good,” Burd said. “But if we can break it down and put a cool coffee bar in the middle where the cubicles are and they cluster around there, then there’s another type of communication that goes on.”
For office landlords, that means more gyms, cafes and even shuttles from office buildings to neighborhood amenities, Burd said.
For apartment developers, a key challenge is attainable rents, said Nick Herring, vice president of development for Tampa-based Framework Group.
“Eighty-two percent of multi-family built in Tampa in 2018 was at ‘high level’ — about $2,000 a month — and to qualify a family has to make $80,000 a year,” Herring said. “Sixty-five percent of Hillsborough County makes less than $80,000 a year as a household. That’s 325,000 people who have effectively been left out of this latest multi-family boom.”
The opportunity to develop housing is “tremendous,” Herring said, adding, “The fact that I can’t match capital to that market opportunity means there are structural issues going on.”
One approach is to apply innovation to multi-family housing development.
“When I’m not executing one of the projects currently in our pipeline I’m thinking about how to tackle the attainable housing problem. I’m thinking about construction types, methodologies, different innovations. We’re challenging every last budget line item to see where we can pull money out of these things. We’re pushing the product type to see what renters will accept. What kind of square footage will they accept, what kind of amenities can they do away with?” Herring said.
He also called for local governments to step up.
“When there’s a market failure, a lot of times it’s government intervention that is required. By that I mean, tackling the labor issue. Let’s think about workforce development and how we get more workers here and develop more workers organically. Leverage land holdings. The city of Tampa and Hillsborough County have got fantastic pieces of land that are perfect fits for attainable housing, for workforce housing. Those should be leveraged,” Herring said. “There are also a lot of levers that cities and counties can pull. They are significant contributors to our costs in terms of fees — impact fees, permitting fees and the like. So those could be reduced when the right product is proposed.”
Feldman offered a different solution that he said would not cost local government any money.
“I would like to see Tampa become a hub for micro-units, down to 250 square feet. When you can build a unit down to that size, you can make it affordable for that 65 percent that’s being left out in the urban center,” Feldman said.
An effort to allow micro housing units in Tampa fell short a few years ago, because of city requirements for parking spaces that made a proposed project unaffordable.
Better transportation that would reduce city residents’ dependence on cars is one answer, according to David Kemper, senior principal and leader at design firm Stantec.
“Hopefully the broader solution is a shared parking scenario in the downtown environment. The Tampa Downtown Partnership has recently done a study, and the conclusion was there is enough parking. It just has to get re-allocated and shared in a better manner. I think moving forward, trying to figure that out is going to be an important part of the solution,” Kemper said.
“Developer Larry Feldman draws on realt estate to tackle a national epidemic” – St. Pete Catalyst
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.
Rock the Park
Thursday, September 5, 6:30pm to 9pm
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
Listen to some great musical talent in a beautiful setting. This month’s show features The New Rulers, Sick Hot, and Danielle Mohr. Greg Wolf will host. 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.
Yoga in the Museum
Saturday, September 7, begins 10:30am
Tampa Museum of Art
Head to the Museum for a chance to experience the revitalizing power of yoga! In collaboration with Lucky Cat Yoga, the Tampa Museum of Art will be offering a yoga session inside the Museum, providing an extremely unique opportunity to experience yoga in a fascinating setting. The session will be tailored to all skill levels, and will aim to explore the intersection between the practices of yoga and art. For more information, go to Yoga in the Museum.
On the Marquee at Tampa Theatre
Maiden (2019) – Through Wednesday, September 4
The Proposal (2018) – Thursday, September 5, 7pm to 8:30pm
Planes: Fire & Rescue (2013) – Saturday, September 7, 6pm to 7:30pm
Sing-Along The Sound of Music (1965) – Sunday, September 8, begins 3pm
Taking the Stage at the Straz Center
Meteor Shower by Steve Martin – Wednesday, September 4 to Sunday, September 29
Heather McMahan Live: The Farewell Tour – Saturday, September 7, shows at 7pm and 10pm
Rhett & Link: Live in Concert – Sunday, September 8, begins 7pm
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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