By: Ashley Gurbal Kritzer
Apartment development in downtown Tampa shows no signs of slowing any time soon.
Two major projects took key steps forward this week. The developers of a 22-story tower in the Channel district announced an equity commitment of more than $15 million and closed on a construction loan.
The Arts and Entertainments Residences
In the urban core, Crescent Communities closed on a five-acre site where it plans to build 400 residential units near the Tampa Riverwalk and also secured a loan.
On Thursday, another new development sprouted: The city of Tampa selected New Orleans-based HRI’s proposal to build a mixed-use tower, including 225 residential units, on a vacant city-owned lot at 405 E. Kennedy.
That tower is pegged at $120 million in construction costs.
In total, there are 4,111 residential units in 13 buildings under construction or in the planning stages within a one mile radius of the urban core. The most recent data available from the Tampa Downtown Partnership pegs the current downtown population at 8,100 residents in 4,979 units, though that data was based on a 2014 survey. In 2015, Skyhouse Channelside added another 320 units.
Building a residential base in downtown Tampa is crucial to transforming the urban core into the type of 24/7 city envisioned by business and political leaders. The anchor of downtown Tampa is its office market, which brings 60,000 people to the area five days a week. But that’s not enough to sustain the sidewalk cafes and retailers necessary for a vibrant city center. And while there’s been an uptick in residential development in the last five years, Tampa still lags competitor cities in downtown living options.
The 3,797 figure does not include the residential units planned in Strategic Property Partners’ $2 billion, mixed-use development between Amalie Arena and the central business district. At full buildout, SPP’s district is slated to have up to 5,000 residential units. (See a labeled site plan of SPP’s district here.)
Several of the projects are well under construction and even leasing. Others are behind schedule, like the closely watched Arts and Entertainments Residences, a 34-story tower planned near the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.
That tower was slated to break ground over the summer, but the construction has been pushed into 2017, said Bob McDonaugh, the city’s director of economic development.
It’s a complex site, McDonaugh said, and further complicated by the performance schedule at the Straz â the developer, American Land Ventures of Miami, has committed to working around the center’s Broadway series for the beginning of construction.
To make way for the tower, the city has had to reconfigure Tyler and Cass streets to create a 1-acre parcel where the tower will be built.
Granvil Tracy, the CEO of American Land Ventures, is in regular touch with the city, McDonaugh said.
Tracy did not return a request for comment Thursday.