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Crescent Westshore installs giant sculpture near leasing office in Tampa

A new piece of artwork will greet residents and guests at Crescent Westshore, a multifamily development under construction near International Plaza.

A 10,000-pound sculpture at the front of the property near the leasing office stands 18 feet tall. It was designed and constructed by Mark Aeling of MGA Sculpture Studio in St. Petersburg.

"The sculpture is called the 'Budding Vortex' and is representative of the reproductive organs of plants and represents an investigation into the math inherent in all living things," says Aeling, who also created the dolphins at the Sundial, the sculptures in the entry way at The Florida Aquarium, and a sculpture at the Opal Sands Resort on Clearwater Beach.

"Budding Vortex" is made out of aluminum plates and represents 15 months of work. It was installed Wednesday, July 27.

Crescent Communities, the developer of the complex, values curiosity and innovation, which guides its buildings and its vision of community, according to spokesman Ben Watt. He says art plays a major role in supporting the vision, and Aeling's sculpture brings Crescent's values to life.

"It is a great addition to the local community and exemplifies the unique features and amenities that can be found at Crescent Westshore," Watt says.

The idea for the art display was conceived from the start of the $45-million project and incorporated into the overall cost.

Crescent Westshore, located at 2202 N. Lois Ave., will have 374 units, averaging a little more than 800 square feet. Rent is expected to range from $1,100 to $2,000 a month.

Apartments will have quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, up-market lighting and premium cabinets. Other amenities will include open areas for people who work from home, a lounge area with a flat screen TV, a shared kitchen in the amenity center to entertain guests, and a resort-style pool deck in the middle of the community.

Developers say the proximity to retail and business makes the complex attractive. They expect young professionals and business travelers to make the community home.

Crescent Westshore has already begun leasing and has several move-ins already on the books. The first residents are expected to move in Sept. 1. 

Downtown St. Pete gets new ramen restaurant, townhomes

There is no slow down in sight when it comes to development in downtown St. Petersburg. 

Buya Ramen

The ramen craze has been looming in the air for some time in big cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Now the trend is hitting the growing Edge District of St. Petersburg, as Buya Ramen gets ready to open its doors. 

The restaurant seats just over 100 people, and will feature a Japanese whiskey bar. The interior is adorned with 12-foot-long community tables, a concrete bar top and a mural done by local artist Michael Vahl

The menu is comprised of the popular Japanese noodles as the name of the restaurant implies, but also features dumplings, duck and other popular dishes from the island nation. 

For more information, click here

Delmar City Homes

In the growing mix of housing in downtown St. Petersburg, Delmar City Homes features four-story townhomes offering luxury amenities.

“Each unit at Del Mar has a roof-top deck, as well as an outdoor living room,” says Jeff Craft, developer at Tampa Bay City Living (TBCL), which developed Del Mar Homes.

The three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath units also feature a two-car garage, modern finishes and nearly 3,000-square-feet of space. Located at 433 Third St. S., the homes are within walking distance to restaurants, shops and office space.

Construction recently completed on Del Mar Homes, however, three units are still available. 

TBCL has plans for even more projects, with several in the works around the Tampa Bay area, including in the Westshore area, the Crescent Lake neighborhood of St. Petersburg and its own new headquarters.

For more information on both of these properties, visit TBCL's website.

New apartments open for low-income seniors, waiting list forms

A new affordable apartment complex for Tampa-area seniors is 100 percent leased with a waiting list for new openings, says Hillsborough County Affordable Housing Director Paula Harvey.

Haley Park Apartments, a $14.5 million development that celebrated a grand opening in June, is an 80-unit complex just west of the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital. The complex was financed with public and private funds and is managed by Wendover Housing Partners, a privately held real estate company. 

The apartments include many of the same amenities that market-priced apartment dwellers enjoy, but they are priced for very low- to low- and moderate-income residents, 55 and older.

First conceived by Wendover in 2012, Haley Park was intended to address the growing need for housing that low-income seniors can afford. The company’s Founder and President Jonathan L. Wolf points to a National Housing Conference study that said the number of Florida residents aged 65 and older will more than double by 2030.

“As the state’s aging population increases, there is an immediate need for cost-effective rental homes for seniors, especially in metro areas near hospitals and doctors’ offices,” Wolf says in a news release. “Haley Park will help address this rising need in Hillsborough County.”

Harvey says the need for affordable housing of all types is not going away.

“We still need more,” she tells 83 Degrees. “This only addresses part of the problem; it doesn’t solve it. We still have needs for affordable housing in every category from homeless to elderly, and everything in between.”

Wendover first came to Hillsborough County seeking funding for the project in 2012, Harvey says. At that time, the county was able to come up with $750,000 to buy the 4-acre parcel at 1503 E. 130th Avenue. Harvey says the county land-banked the property until more funding became available.

The Affordable Housing Department was able to put together a series of grants: $2.4 million from the federal Home Investment Partnership, $1.7 million from the State Housing Initiative Program (SHIP), and $1.1 million from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program. 

Other financing partners were JPMorgan Chase and the Florida Community Loan Fund. RBC Capital Markets-Tax Credit Equity group was the low income housing tax credit syndicator.

“It wasn’t just our funding that was paying for construction,” Harvey says. “They got private financing and multi-family mortgage revenue bonds issued in December 2013. There was a whole host of financing that went together to build the project.”

Wendover broke ground in June 2015. Each of the one- and two-bedroom units comes equipped with a dishwasher, microwave, full-sized washer and dryer, ample storage areas and a monitored emergency call system.

Residents can enjoy a community center, a swimming pool and fitness center. Social, educational and recreational services are offered.

Haley Park’s monthly rents run from $605 to $720, much lower than average rates across Florida which range between $1,176 to $1,657, according to Wendover.

Harvey says her department monitored Wendover to make sure all federal and state regulations were followed, including minority participation in construction. The county will continue to monitor the apartments to make sure new residents meet income requirements. 

Western, wildlife art focus of new museum in downtown St. Petersburg

The co-founder of Raymond James is opening a new museum in St. Petersburg.

The Tom & Mary James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art, otherwise known as the James Museum, is an 80,000-square-foot gallery of space, is set to open fall 2017. The site will feature 30,000-square-feet of gallery space, a 2,500-square-feet indoor sculpture court throughout a two-story stone "arroyo'' with a backdrop of an indoor waterfall, a 120-seat theater and 6,000-square-feet of event space. A store and cafe will also be on-site. 

"The art that will displayed is western and wildlife, chosen from Tom and Mary James' extensive collection of over 3,000 works," says Anthea Penrose of James Museum. 

The new museum will be located at 100 Central Ave. The family recently gave over $50 million in personal funds to start the renovation project making way for the museum, which is expected to make a great economic impact on the city. 

"It is expected that some 30 new jobs will be created at the museum," Penrose says. 

Office and retail space around the museum is also being renovated. St. Pete Design Group (SPDG) has been selected to be the design architect on the project. They are tasked with the goal of transforming the lower two floors of a 30-year-old existing parking structure into a 21st century art museum. 

“I am incredibly excited about this new partnership between St. Petersburg and what will surely be
a landmark in this city, The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art, mayor Rick Kriseman states in a news release. 

For more details on this project, click here

Boutique hotel, restaurant coming to Westshore area of Tampa

The Westshore District of Tampa continues to thrive with new development, including a new luxury hotel and a beloved restaurant that are moving into the neighborhood.

Kimpton Hotel

Located at the intersection of O’Brien and Laurel Streets, a new luxury boutique hotel will feature 150 rooms and suites spanning five stories. Designed by award-winning Architect Albert Alfonso of Tampa, the new hotel will also feature many unique amenities.

“The hotel will feature a traditional Italian piazza that will essentially create an intimate town square, where we’re hoping locals and visitors will enjoy a meal, a concert or a stroll,” says Nick Gregory, Senior VP of Hotel Operations for Kimpton Hotels. “We’ll also have all our signature Kimpton amenities, including a hosted nightly wine hour, complimentary custom bike rentals and yoga mats in every room.”

Other hotel attributes include a rooftop bar with separate event space, additional 4,000-square-feet of indoor meeting and event space and the first U.S. outpost for Chef Silvia Baracchi, best known for her Michelin-starred restaurant and retreat in Cortona, Tuscany. All of the food served at the upscale restaurant will be supplied by a new off-site, state-of-the-art hydroponic farm named Red Barn Farm. Locals can look forward to taking signature cooking classes from Chef Baracchi.

The boutique hotel is expected to be open early 2018.

Miller’s Ale House

The popular chain is moving into the Westshore District. With three other locations in the Tampa Bay area, Miller’s Ale House will be opening at 3860 West Columbus Drive. The property used to be home to the infamous Without Walls International Church.

With plenty of adult beverages like beer, wine and cocktails, and casual dining provisions such as burgers, flatbreads and fajitas, the chain has become a local favorite. On the same property is Grady Square, a $56-million luxury apartment building, which is expected to be completed later this summer.

New apartments, hotel grow along Courtney Campbell Causeway

The Courtney Campbell Causeway, the picturesque boulevard connecting Tampa and Clearwater across Tampa Bay, is experiencing new private investments designed to attract more people to the Causeway as a destination. Here are two examples: 

Seazen

Situated where the Chart House restaurant once stood at 7616 Courtney Campbell Trail will soon be a multi-family housing community known as Seazen. With over 320 units, the apartments will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans ranging from approximately 600 to 1,600 square feet. There will also be plenty of amenities.

“Seazen’s amenity package features a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse, membership-grade fitness center with yoga and spinning classrooms plus an on-demand virtual fitness trainer,” says Beth Alonzo of ZOM, Inc., which is the developer of the project. “There will also be two resort-style pools, four waterfront courtyards, a pet salon, bark park as well as an aqua lounge waterfront amenity center featuring paddle-boards, kayaks and on-site boat slips.

First units are expected to be available summer 2018. For more information, visit Zom Inc’s website.
 
Autograph Collection Marriott on Rocky Point

Also located along the Courtney Campbell Causeway is Rocky Point, an inlet of restaurants, offices and hotels. One of the newer hotels to go up in Rocky Point, is a new Autograph Collection Marriott. The Autograph Collection hotels offer luxurious accommodations and refined ambiance. With only 100 hotels of its kind globally, this will be the second one in the Tampa Bay area, joining the Epicurean in Tampa.

Lifsey Real Estate Holdings in collaboration with Pinnacle Hotel Management is behind the 180-room boutique hotel. The new structure will be nine-stories with a restaurant and rooftop bar. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. 

Townhomes still booming in downtown St. Petersburg

The townhouse boom in downtown St. Petersburg continues, as two more projects are announced.

Urban Village Townhomes

Situated at 2462 First Avenue N., Urban Village Townhomes, gives homeowners the unique opportunity to purchase new construction in the historic Kenwood neighborhood. With 10 units, each two bedroom, two and half-bath, the two-story townhomes offer over 1,300-square feet of living space.

“The best amenity Urban Village has to offer is its location,” says Bill Andrasco, of ODC Construction, which is building the community. “It’s footsteps from Central Avenue, where you can walk to restaurants and bars, but it’s also located in the warehouse arts district, which is also great.

Andrasco goes on to say that local developer Leah Campen, who is the designer on the project is taking into account the neighborhood in her design.

“The design of the townhomes is inspired by the Kenwood neighborhood, so it really compliments the community.”

Homes are anticipated to be completed fall 2016, and will be for sale in the upper $200,000s. Units are available for pre-sale.

 801 Conway

This 35-unit townhome community will be located at the corner of Burlington and 8th Street North.  Five floor plans are available with the average square footage around 1,500. Two and three bedroom options are available in this community, which is expected to sell in the upper $200,000s.

The townhomes will have a modern look as developed by Aspen VG, the same company behind 3405 Swann in Tampa and Villas of Deleon in St. Petersburg, among other local projects. Aspen VG is working in collaboration with Mesh Architecture.

Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2017; however units are available for sale now. For more information, visit the community’s website

4 Clearwater Beach bridges are being replaced

Four bridges in the Island Estates community of Clearwater are being replaced.

It started when someone kayaking under one of the bridges noticed degrading concrete and reported it to the city of Clearwater.

“We hired a consultant to do a study and when we got the reports back we found out the bridges needed to be replaced,” says Roger Johnson, Project Manager for the city of Clearwater.

Johnson explains the process is quite complex, involving demolition of the bridges, which is not easy when these roadways are the only access point to the fingers of the Island Estates community. In order to replace them, the city has to demolish one side at a time, while using the other side as two-way traffic for people to get back and forth. Once one side is completed, construction can begin on the other side.

Minor repairs are being made to an additional five bridges in the community. The total cost of the project is $3.6 million.
So how are other bridges in Clearwater fairing?

“The FDOT inspects our bridges regularly and provides reports on their findings,” Johnson says. “For now we don’t see anything substantial in the foreseeable future, of course if something shows up then we will obviously address the issue.”

As for the construction on the Island Estate bridges, progress is moving forward and construction is expected to be completed April 2017.

For the most up-to-date information on road closures, and construction updates on the project visit the city’s engineering website.

Hopes for New Tampa Cultural Center live on

New Tampa residents have been hoping for nearly 15 years that an arts and cultural center would rise on 17 acres of vacant land along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

Now, with a private developer ready to build the center as part of a larger residential-commercial development, supporters of the project are awaiting word of a ground-breaking. But county officials say residents will have to wait a while longer.

The project is still in what Hillsborough County officials call in “inspection period,” during which the developer and the county work out details of the site plan, says Josh Bellotti, county real estate and facilities services director. That period ends July 30.

After that, Bellotti says the development enters an “approval period” ending Jan. 9 so the developer can get necessary rezoning and final site approval from the city of Tampa. The property, across from the upscale Hunter’s Green housing development, is owned by the county but lies in the Tampa city limits. 

Last July, county commissioners approved a real estate purchase agreement with developer Hunters Lake Tampa LLC for just over $2 million. In addition to the sale of the land, the agreement calls for Hunters Lake to construct public amenities and infrastructure valued at $2.17 million.

The county and developer will close on the property in February, Bellotti says.
 
Doug Wall, founder and director of the New Tampa Players performing troupe, says he and other residents met six weeks ago with county Commissioner Victor Crist and a representative of the county Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department. Crist has been a prime proponent of the project.

“They are working on the site plans,” Wall says. “We were supposed to get together again and give input on floor plans, but I have not heard anything since that meeting.”

Crist could not be reached for comment. 

Wall says the cultural center will cover about 20,000 square feet and include a theater with just under 300 seats. It has not been decided whether the seating will be permanent or removable so the space can host other pursuits when not in use as a theater. The building could be expanded later to 30,000 square feet by adding a second floor, according to county plans.

In addition to drama, the center will also house classrooms for music, dance and visual arts.

The New Tampa Players have been lobbying the county and city of Tampa governments for a cultural center since 2000, Wall says. Though the city paid for studies showing a need for such a center, neither local government would come up with the $7 million to $10 million needed for construction.

In 2009, Commissioner Ken Hagan convinced commissioners to appropriate land for the center, however, there were “strings,” Wall says.

“We had to raise the money up front,” he says. “We had to have a business plan approved by the county.

“Basically, for a small nonprofit, it made it impossible for us to do anything,” Wall says. “It died out until Victor Crist took over the project and wanted to make something happen.”
The residential-commercial development will be on 17 buildable acres out of an 80-acre county-owned tract. The rest of the area is either wetlands or will be used as a water retention area for drainage off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. 

Funding for the center is likely to be discussed during county budget hearings next month. In past meetings, Crist says the project would need $7.5 million in county funding.

Large skatepark coming to St. Petersburg

Skaters are stoked as news of a new skatepark in St. Petersburg breaks.
 
Advocates of the $1.25 million new skatepark were thrilled when St. Petersburg City Council unanimously approved the design and construction of the future skaters' oasis.
 
With bowls, half-pipes and ramps, the park will be a concrete playground for skaters. The skatepark will be regional grade, meaning designed at a large scale, within Campbell Park.
 
“The reason for building a regional grade skatepark is to both provide our younger citizens with access to a high quality course, and to have a facility that generates economic development,” says City Councilman Karl Nurse for the city of St. Petersburg.
 
Nurse explains that the economic impact involves the plans for future skating tournaments.
 
“We have had similar experiences with our pool, which attracts tournaments and brings folks to town for two to four days.”
 
Campbell Park was a natural choice for the city because it is a large area that can accommodate the new skatepark. It also happens to be connected to the Pinellas Trail, offering convenience to skaters and visitors.
 
Team Pain, a designer of skateparks out of Winter Park FL, has been chosen for the project. Construction of the new skatepark will be handled by Cutler Associates based in Tampa.
 
The question on many a skater’s mind is when they can hit the pavement. According to Nurse, construction is expected to begin early fall this year, and be completed by fall of 2017.

Upscale bar, restaurant coming to downtown Tampa

An upscale bar and new restaurant are the latest additions coming to downtown Tampa.  
 
Franklin Manor
 
Situated at 912 North Franklin Street, Franklin Manor will offer guests both a bar and entertainment venue.
 
“There is a small handful of places in town you can get a quality drink at but there isn't anywhere in Tampa you can enjoy an elevated crafted cocktail and be entertained at the same time,” says David Anderson of the Nocturnal Group, the company behind the project. “Our inside area and large outside patio dual stage format allows us to be unique.”
 
Franklin Manor will serve craft beers and specialty cocktails designed by local mixologist Rohit Patel. Happy hours and live music are expected to be a staple at the new joint.
 
The Carriage House
 
Sharing space with Franklin Manor is The Carriage House, a new restaurant concept, also created by The Nocturnal Group. Featuring gourmet sandwiches and baskets, the menu “features a modern take on classic Americana and Tampa-inspired dishes,” Anderson says.
 
The combined bar and restaurant establishment by the Nocturnal Group is a $1.3 million investment. Designer Robert Ibarra from Alfonso Architects has been recruited by the group for the downtown project.
 
“Downtown was our first and only choice,” Anderson says.
 
Franklin Manor and The Carriage House is expected to open by mid-July 2016.

MOSI working on move to Channelside District

MOSI could be moving to downtown Tampa.

Tampa's Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) is in the process of developing a task force to plan, design and raise funds for a new science center in downtown. The task force will be comprised of community partners, land use experts, philanthropists, museum master planners, scientists and educators. This news follows a vote at the museum's board of directors meeting earlier this month, which looked at a feasibility study to rebuild a new science center around Amalie Arena.

The move to downtown is part of Jeff Vinik's redevelopment plan for the Channelside District.

“One year ago, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik invited MOSI to consider becoming a centerpiece cultural institution in the new $2 billion development his company is creating in the Channelside District,” says Grayson Kamm of the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).

Vinik has pledged financial support through his company Strategic Property Partners.

While it is still early in the planning stages, the downtown museum is described by Kamm as a “new, world-class, future-focused science center.” He goes on to say that the new site will also be environmentally friendly.

“The feasibility study called our current 300,000-square-foot campus on Fowler Avenue overbuilt, with countless inefficiencies,” he says. “Our new facility will be appropriately sized for our market and built with environmental sustainability in mind.”
 
If everything goes as planned and a new museum is built in downtown, the MOSI site at Fowler Ave would be closed and re-purposed by the county.

“Our current 74-acre site along Fowler Avenue is in the heart of Hillsborough County’s Innovation District, and there is potential to redevelop the land into something that could contribute greatly to the economic prosperity of the county and the entire region,” Kamm says. “Hillsborough County has not laid out any specific plans for the land.”

New single-family homes coming to East Tampa

A new housing community is in the making in East Tampa.

Ground is breaking this month on 13 new homes at the corner of North 34th Street and East 28th Avenue in Tampa. Neighborhood Lending Partners (NLP) and Corporation to Develop Communities (CDC) of Tampa are starting construction of a new community of single-family houses utilizing the new Florida Minority Impact Housing Fund (FMIHF).

The site chosen by the CDC will eventually be filled with houses from Beacon Homes.

“We wanted to have a large enough parcel of land in East Tampa where we could build and make a substantial visual and economic impact in the community,” says Frank Cornier, VP of Real Estate Development for the CDC of Tampa. “This new development gives a great, affordable opportunity to those that want to purchase a new home in the city of Tampa.”

NLP, a nonprofit multi-bank lending consortium, which provides financing to developers of affordable housing and community revitalization is funding the project. It is doing so through the Florida Minority Impact Housing Fund (FMIHF), which the NLP created. Bank of America and Wells Fargo are the primary supporters of the $3 million dollar fund. The land where the development will be built was purchased from the Tampa Housing Authority.

“We’re thrilled to establish the Florida Minority Impact Housing Fund and know that Beacon Homes will be a wonderful addition to East Tampa and a vital part of the area’s revitalization efforts,” Debra Reyes, Neighborhood Lending Partners President and CEO states in a news release. “Quality, affordable housing should be available to all Florida residents and it is our goal to create those opportunities in as many communities as possible.”

According to Cornier, construction on the new housing community is expected to be completed in less than two years, depending on demand.
 

Straz Center master plan for redevelopment moves forward

Theater and performing arts lovers will applaud at the news that the Straz Center in Tampa is set for major redevelopment. The conceptual phase of the master plan was recently unveiled and its contents scrutinized.

Changes to the center, which are being developed and conceptualized by Paul Westlake and Jonathan Kurtz of the architectural firm Westlake Reed Leskosky, include the creation of a grand terrace that flows to the Hillsborough River, reinventing and enlarging the Silbiger Lobby in Morsani Hall and adding a multi-purpose events center to accommodate growth in food and beverage, education and artistic programming.

So why make the changes now?

“The Straz Center is approaching its 30th anniversary,” says Judy Lisi, CEO of the Straz Center.  “It was the right time to plan for the future of the Straz Center.”

The center, which boasts an average 600,000 visitors annually, has created its master plan to align with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's InVision Tampa plan. The Straz Master Plan will be funded by the Frank E. Duckwall Foundation, and has been approved by the mayor, city officials and the center board.

The project is expected to cost up to $100 million. While it is too early in the planning process to have a completion date, Lisi says the center will stay open during construction.

“Once we have a better handle on funding, then we will have a better idea of scheduling,” Lisi says. “The next step is further refinement of the plan.”

Dade City experiences new investments in downtown

Dade City, known for its quaint downtown and small town charm, is experiencing quite a development boom. 
 
New city hall and police station
 
One of the biggest projects recently unveiled is a new municipal complex. The 22,000-square-foot building located on Meridian Avenue houses both city hall and the police department. Paid for with reserve funds, the $6.6 million project makes life easier for residents and government employees alike.
 
“Employees are now under one roof,” says Dade City Manager Bill Poe. “Previously city hall staff were in two separate buildings, which caused citizens, developers and visitors to often have to go between buildings to accomplish a simple task.”
 
In addition to streamlining things by having all of the offices in the same location, the project also involved implementing new technology into the police department. Upgrades include state-of-the-art forensics room, a secure sally port, new interview rooms and a safe room for victims.
 
Poe says other city projects are on the horizon including an extension of the Hardy Trail, Beauchamp Pond expansion and downtown storm water improvements.
 
Flint Creek Outfitters
 
This is the second store in Florida for the outdoor specialty shop, with its other location in Ocala. One of the newer proprietors in Dade City, Flint Creek Outfitters is located at 14129 7th St. The store not only offers an array of camping and fishing products, but a lifestyle. With guided trips, monthly fly fishing competitions and owners with a rich history living with nature, the store promises to take you on an adventure. 
 
Shoppes of Dade City
 
When the first Publix in Dade City opened last year, it became the anchor of The Shoppes at Dade City, a strip plaza managed by Crossman & Company. With a total of 54,000-square-feet of retail property the plaza has a plenty of space for business owners. Aside from the Publix, there is a nail salon and a Chinese restaurant already open.
 
Other developments taking place around town include a new medical practice at Meridian and 10th Street, which is currently under construction. Florida Hospital Zephyrhills has obtained a permit for the space, however no other details are available at this time.
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