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Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik wins initial approval for 400-room luxury hotel

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is making his presence felt in the Channel District with a proposed 400-room hotel/residence complex in the Channel District, surrounded by the TECO Streetcar Line, Tampa Convention Center, Marriott Waterside Hotel and Embassy Suites. Tampa City Council is on board after giving its initial vote of approval.

Moccasin Lake Nature Park Gets Renovations, Extends Hours

Moccasin Lake Nature Park is a hidden gem of nature's beauty amidst the urban jumble of Clearwater which is all but built out with homes, shops, offices and roadways. The City of Clearwater is spending $700,000 on renovations and extending operating hours to include Sundays. The park offers a new pier and improved trails. In 2015 the city will update an intrepetive center, add restrooms and improved landscaping.

Osborne Pond, Community Trail To Be Named For Civil Rights' Leader Clarence Fort

Tampa civil rights' leader Clarence Fort broke down racial barriers when he organized Tampa's first lunch counter sit-ins at F.W. Woolworth's in downtown Tampa on Feb. 29, 1960. He will be honored on Sept. 18 when the city officially names a new park, at 3803 Osborne Ave., the Clarence Fort Freedom Trail.

16 Design Teams Offer Visions For St. Petersburg Pier

Sixteen local, national and international design teams are competing to win a $46 million contract from the city of St. Petersburg to re-invent the iconic Pier and its 5-story inverted pyramid built in the 1970s.

Walmart Opens First Wesley Chapel Supercenter, Adds 300 Jobs

Wesley Chapel's first Walmart  Supercenter brings 300 full- and part-time jobs to the local economy. The supercenter will offer shopping convenience to the city's 60,000 people and encourage additional development in the surrounding area along State Road 54. The store operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering general merchandise, groceries, electronics, toys and more.

Art, Healthy Eats Meet Up At Sunspot Fresh Bar In St. Pete

At Sunspot Fresh Bar customers can grab a wrap or a salad to go or hang out surrounded by eye-popping or provocative artwork in the bar's rotating art gallery. Local artist Derek Donnelly is curator and founder of Saint Paint Arts, an artist cooperative. His work, as well as art for other local artists are featured at the eatery.. 

St. Pete Art & Fashion Week Struts Stuff For Warehouse Arts District

Entrepreneur Dona Crowley will showcase St. Petersburg's creative side in her fourth annual St. Pete Arts and Fashion Week, Sept. 15-20. A series of events kickoff Sept. 15 with an exclusive Opening Night Party and continue through the week with art shows at different downtown locations. The week ends with a fashion runway show at One Progress Plaza. 

St. Petersburg Emergency Shelter Seeks Art Donations

The nonprofit CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse) is seeking donations of art to fill the rooms and halls of a new emergency shelter that will open in 2015 north of downtown St. Petersburg. The new shelter will double the capacity of CASA's current 30-bed facility and the art will provide a warm inviting atmosphere for hundreds of individuals who seek to escape domestic violence.

Hillsborough Leaders Engage Public On Transportation

Will Hillsborough County residents agree to pay an additional one cent sales tax to pay for a host of road, transit and trail projects over the next 30 years? County leaders will host a listening campaign with a series of publc meetings starting after Labor Day.

What's Your Fave Renovation? Think St. Petersburg Preservation Awards

St. Petersburg's residential building boom is garnering a lot of attention as developers re-invent downtown's skyline. Nonprofit Saint Petersburg Preservation plans to single out projects in 2014 that restored historical buildings and houses or created innovative new uses for older structures. Nominations for 2014 preservation awards are being accepted through Sept. 15 with awards handed out Oct. 24.

Roux Brings Creole-Style Dining To South Tampa

Having made a success of two South MacDill Avenue restaurants - Datz and Dough - owners Suzanne and Roger Perry soon will open Roux, a homage to Creole, New Orleans style cooking. Fresh new spins will be given to old favorites from gumbo to etouffee. The restaurant's decor will be like stepping into the French quarter with ornate chandeliers, wrought iron highlights and marble table tops. In a couple weeks lunch and dinner will be served.

Sundial Tenants Include Florida-Based Retailers

St. Petersburg-based Tracy Negoshian and Sarasota-based Jackie Zumba will open clothing boutiques in Sundial, the upscale, trendy mall that replaces the defunct Baywalk mall in downtown St. Petersburg. While Sundial owner, The Edwards Group, is bringing a mix of national, regional and local retailers to its new mall, there is a notable Florida flavor to the selection of boutiques and restaurants.

Tech Data Expands Clearwater Headquarters

Tech Data Corp. renewed its commitment to Clearwater when company officials decided to expand its headquarters with a new 45,000-square-foot building. The facility will provide additional office and meeting space for the approximately 1,700 Clearwater employees of Tech Data, one of the world's largest technology distributors.

Soup's On! Dine At Ulele Restaurant Starting Aug. 26

Ulele Restaurant in Tampa Heights will open for dinner service only starting Aug. 26. Lunch and brunch will be added in fall. The restaurant is part of the larger vision to re-invent Tampa's downtown core. Situated next to a redesigned Water Works Park, Ulele will help anchor the city's nearly completed Riverwalk which re-imagines Hillsborough River as the driving force for Tampa's redevelopment.
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