For anyone who has lived in the Tampa Bay area for most of their life, a walk through downtown Tampa must seem pretty exhilarating these days. The downtown Tampa lifestyle is where it’s at.
Back in the 1980s, there was a sense that Tampa’s downtown was dying, and in desperate need of a new shot of adrenalin. That’s not the case today, though. Downtown is becoming the envy of the Sunshine State.
The revitalization of the city’s downtown didn’t happen overnight. And it’s a project that city leaders have been focusing on for about 30 years.
Because there’s no question that these days, they have a lot to show for it. And it’s a prime reason why downtown Tampa has also become a hotspot for new residents looking for homes there. Nobody shies away from downtown anymore.
But why is living close to downtown Tampa so attractive today? The trend is real; and it’s helping to attract more commercial development as well. With an estimated 50,000 people moving to the Tampa Bay area each year, commercial real estate is experiencing a boom in downtown. Aging buildings are being purchased and torn down to make way for new shops.
The renaissance has arrived.
How did Tampa reinvent its downtown?
One thing Tampa did was target what was once an industrial zone and invest money to transform the waterfront. That’s help make it both a location for tourists and an appealing place to live. A series of new projects were introduced. They’ve included a performing arts center, a convention center, an aquarium and a hockey arena.
That was eventually followed by a convention hotel, history center and art museum, plus new parks. All this in an area that once housed a meat-packing plant.
Finally, the city invested in the 2.5-mile Riverwalk to encourage more pedestrian food traffic along the waterfront. Riverwalk also connected all these public projects.
Suddenly Tampa had the pedestrians and bicycle traffic on the waterfront, which had been the city’s desired goal all along.
These were all public investments supervised by city leaders; but they helped encouraging private developers to take another look at downtown as well. And that’s also been a great success.
Private businesses have responded to the welcome mat. Each new development has been bringing something different to downtown.
One of the clearest benefits is jobs. Construction crews are renovating part of Grand Central at Kennedy building as the future home of Quality Distribution Inc., a transportation and logistics company. QDI is bringing its headquarters here, along with 300 jobs.
Not far from there, the developer Liberty Group has started construction on the Channel District’s first hotel, that will include a Hampton Inn and the extended-stay Home2 Suites as part of a 10-story, 215-room hotel. It will also include the neighborhood’s first Starbucks.
Water Street Tampa on the Way
The biggest change to the Channel District, though, is the multi-billion-dollar Water Street Tampa project. Developed by Strategic Property Partners, this project is expected to transform more than 50 acres in the heart of downtown into a mixed-use neighborhood with 2 million square feet of new office space. That includes downtown Tampa’s first new office towers in nearly 25 years.
Water Street Tampa will be surrounded by the Tampa Convention Center, Tampa Bay History Center, Florida Aquarium, Tampa Riverwalk and the Amalie Arena, which is where the Tampa Bay Lightning play.
The plans also include 12.9 acres of new and enhanced park and public gathering space.
In addition, the University of South Florida plans to relocate the Morsani College of Medicine and Health Heart Institute to Water Street Tampa, and it will be opening to students in the fall of 2019.
Even before it opens, this and many other projects are impacting the city’s population growth. The nonprofit Tampa Downtown Partnership noted last year that downtown’s population had doubled in eight years, and there are now more than 8,100 people in 5,700 units.
The growth isn’t just in downtown Tampa. Across Tampa Bay, aging buildings are also being torn down to make way for popular shops like Trader Joe’s on 4th street in St. Petersburg. Likewise, a parking garage on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg is now home to a new Publix, museum and office space.
With more people moving closer to downtown neighborhoods, it’s become clear they want more modern, successful retail choices close by.
Bring on the Artists
Downtown Tampa is also attracting a growing number of creative people, including artists and young entrepreneurs. These are the folks interested in the cultural amenities and the nightlife in downtown Tampa, and close access to historic Ybor City.
Art actually plays a strong role in Tampa Bay, which is why the area is home to a lot of working artists. The Shine Mural Festival recently returned to the streets of St. Petersburg to showcase more local, national and international street artists and muralists.
Likewise, the Tampa Museum of Art now has exhibits like “Susanne Bartsch: Art-a-Porter” ongoing through Nov. 12, showcasing the work of Bartsch, an event producer to world class designers; and “Mernet Larsen: Getting Measured, 1957-2017” through Feb. 11, featuring paintings and works on paper by the longtime Tampa resident and former professor of painting at the University of South Florida.
What a lot of the artists, their followers and other new residents enjoy is what makes downtown Tampa the “live, work, play” city. That means things like The University of Tampa being located just across the waters of Curtis Hixon Park, where so many popular annual events are held.
Downtown Tampa Lifestyle
Domain Homes, your premier urban new home builder in Tampa, is proud to be constructing homes in great neighborhoods that are close to downtown and the nightlife, restaurants, shopping and cultural amenities being offered there.
We procure home sites in Tampa Bay’s sought-after, established neighborhoods close to downtown, including Hyde Park and South Tampa. In addition to being in great school districts, these neighborhoods are close to all the amenities that residents want.
We’re building your dream home right where you want to be, and giving you the option of moving into a new, move in ready home, rather than an older one in need of repairs and maintenance.
Call us at 813-580-8111 today to learn more about the houses we have available close to downtown Tampa.