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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.

Outdoor public art adds to Tampa Riverwalk experience

There is a walkable outdoor museum of sorts in downtown Tampa, and it’s growing.   

When the latest segment of the Tampa Riverwalk is completed in June, two enormous public artworks will also be formally unveiled for all to enjoy. Water, not surprisingly, plays a role in both pieces, though they couldn’t be more distinct in aesthetic and material. Both artworks will be located under bridges serving functional, protective roles as safety barriers.  

“Tampa is a place where artwork is expected and presumed,” says Robin Nigh, Manager of Art Programs for the City of Tampa. “It is integrated; you can really tell the difference when [public art] is part of the design versus an afterthought. It’s just part of who we are.” 

The new artworks can be viewed by foot, bike or boat along the Riverwalk from Tampa’s Water Works Park to the Straz Center. 

Under the Laurel Street Bridge, one will find Woven Waves a vibrant ceramic steel creation with large-scale folded corrugations. The effect of the textile-like design changes with the viewer’s movement. Houston-based Re:Site that created the piece says on its website that they drew inspiration from Tampa’s cultural diversity, “bringing to mind the metaphor of a quilt.” 

The second structure, entitled Andante by artist Heidi Lippman -- an enormous, stunning work of glass -- will be located under the 1-275 underpass and can also be seen from the road. Nigh notes that because of materials used, digitally printed tempered glass, and the artwork’s east-west orientation, there is a constant change in how the site is experienced as the light of day changes. She characterizes the space as “soothing” and notes that the musically inspired piece brings “color and quiet to an otherwise typically massive FDOT structure.”  

This follows several other major refurbishments and new public artworks  downtown Tampa. Among them, numerous sculptures, mosaics and installations at the recently inaugurated Perry Harvey Park; Stay Curious at the Poe Garage by artists Bask and Tes One, and the refurbishment and relocation of the Yaacov Agam sculpture Visual Welcome to Bayshore Boulevard and America, America sculpture by Barbara Neijna to the south side of the Laurel Street Bridge.

On the City of Tampa website one can do a public artworks “web tour.” There are 68 sites to view. 

A better plan might be to download the Tampa’s Public Art After Dark map and take a tour the old fashioned way, discovering in person this open-air and open-to-all museum. The most recent additions, Andante and Woven Waves, have yet to be updated on this map, but now you know where the treasures are hidden. 

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.

City of Sarasota issues call to artists for public art at downtown roundabout

The city of Sarasota has issued a call to artists for the creation of an original landmark sculpture at a future downtown roundabout at Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard. The new roundabout is planned for construction in the summer of 2017.

The Ringling-Orange roundabout is part of a 10-year initiative in Sarasota to ease traffic patterns and promote more pedestrian-friendly roadways in the city’s highest density business, residential and arts districts. Sixteen roundabouts are planned for construction in the downtown region and along Tamiami Trail by 2025.

The City of Sarasota’s Public Art Committee plans to acquire and install landmark sculptures at the center island of each new roundabout in a placemaking effort spearheaded by the City Commission to highlight Sarasota’s identity as a hub for the arts on Florida’s Gulf Coast. These public art installations are budgeted in the city’s Public Art Fund, which collects financial contributions as well as donated artwork from multifamily and non-residential developers in the downtown area, according to David L. Smith, General Manager of the City Neighborhood and Development Services Department.

In early April, the city installed its first roundabout art installation at the Main Street and Orange Avenue roundabout, which opened last October. The artwork, a 20-foot tall stainless steel sculpture featuring multi-colored panels and LED lights was created by Tuscon, AZ artist, H. Blessing Hancock, as a response to a Call to Artists issued by the developers of One Palm Sarasota Luxury Living and Aloft Sarasota Hotel. Blessing Hancock’s work is also on display in cities such as Denver, CO; Shreveport, LA; Dallas, TX and Portland, OR. 

The current Call to Artists for the Ringling-Orange roundabout was submitted by the City of Sarasota with approval from the Public Art Committee and City Commission. This city-initiated Call to Artists is also a national call for sculpture proposals through the web-based Call for Entry (CaFÉ) organization, though Smith says the city is currently focusing its advertising efforts solely on local and regional artists. 

“It would be great if a local artist is selected, but that’s not actually one of our qualifications. I think that ultimately the Public Art Committee is looking for the best art we can acquire for Sarasota. ” Smith says. 

The proposal must be submitted by June 5, 2016 and its budget must not exceed $150,000. Smith says there is no stated stylistic preference or theme, but sculptures must not exceed 20 feet in height and the design must not include signs, traffic control features, auditory devices, reflective surfaces, flashing lights, moving parts, moving illumination, advertising, text, or alphanumeric characters. To compete in the competition, artists must have successfully completed other public art commissions and be familiar with creating artwork suited to Florida’s climate and environment. The Public Art Committee will choose three finalists to make in-person presentations at a special public art meeting that will be open for public comment, and artist honorariums of $1,000 each will be paid to the three finalists. 

The winning work must be completed for installation in Nov, 2017, following the construction of the Ringling-Orange roundabout. 

Smith says there are currently more than 40 art pieces in the city’s growing art collection, which includes the work of local artists as well as artists from around Florida and the United States. The city’s full collection can be found online in a public art catalogue that is maintained by the City of Sarasota.

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.
 

The Space theater in West Tampa grows a loyal following

A new arts space in a historic part of Tampa is thriving.

Simply called The Space, a restaurant turned performing arts venue in West Tampa, is now in its fifth month of business, which is booming. The Space is an innovative concept where round tables and couches replace typical theater seating, and performers sit in the audience and perform on raised platforms around the establishment as opposed to a traditional stage.

What is also unique about The Space is its location. While other owners may have looked for locations in downtown, Westshore or Hyde Park, Jared O'Roark and co-owner Erica Sutherlan chose West Tampa and the community has embraced them.

“So far the community has been so great to us,” says O'Roark. “There are several local gentlemen in the area who help with parking, and reassure people who are not familiar with the area that this is a safe area. When you make that turn on Main Street, some people may perceive the neighborhood as dangerous, but believe me, I live around here and it is not dangerous.”

Currently at The Space, "Elegies for Angels, Punks & Raging Queens,'' is playing through April 24th. The musical is an innovative production in which each actor plays five to six characters -- each sharing his or her experience with death from AIDS.

So what is it like for performers in this unique theatrical environment?

'It's much more intimate and more challenging in a good way,” says Actor A.R. Williams who plays multiple roles. “It has made me a stronger artist because on a traditional stage with all the lights you can't even see the audience. Here, you can see and even feel what the audience is going through as they watch the performance. To feel the emotion and that energy just makes me a better performer.”

Tron Montgomery, who plays everyone from a homeless man to a flamboyant gay man to a horrific character who seeks to infect as many as he can with the virus to a war vet, states that bringing The Space to West Tampa is important for the community.

“Where I grew up is basically what you see outside,” Montgomery says. “I love the idea of bringing the arts back to change the community. To bring the arts to this neighborhood gives people a new aspect of life. It changes you, it certainly changed me. I could have easily ended up a completely different person, but theater saved me.”

"Elegies for Angels, Punks & Raging Queens'' will be playing its last show this weekend, April 22-24. For ticket information, visit the theater's website

Historic Tampa Theatre needs your donations to continue renovation

A historic gem in downtown Tampa is on its way to reaching its fundraising goal of $10 million thanks to several generous donors in the community.
 
The Tampa Theatre, located on Franklin Street, has been part of the city’s cultural arts scene for 90 years. To ensure the theater remains intact and relevant for future generations, a fundraising drive is ongoing.

Tampa Theatre board member Anne Arthur Pittman and her family are the latest donors to step up to pledge $500,000 to the historic theater. In addition, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner on behalf of the county's Capital Asset Preservation (CAP) Grant program announced a $325,000 contribution. And the theater received an anonymous donation of $100,000 at the beginning of the year plus a $1 million tax fund appropriation passed by the Florida Legislature and approved by Gov. Rick Scott.
 
Improvements to the aging facility will be executed by Westlake Reed Leskosky, a Cleveland-based architectural and design firm that is also working on the Master Plan for the Straz Performing Arts Center in downtown Tampa.
 
“Our immediate priorities are protecting the building from the elements, or sealing the envelope, as we’ve referred to it, and updating critically outdated infrastructure and systems,” says Jill Witecki of the Tampa Theatre.
 
Witecki goes on to explain that priorities include:
 
  • Replacement of windows installed in 1926 along the Florida Avenue and Polk Street sides of the building with windows that are aesthetically true to the Theatre’s historic landmark status, but that are thoroughly modern in terms of energy efficiency and storm-rated safety.
  •  Water mitigation in the basement, which will include a vacuum de-watering system to prevent further water intrusion through the walls and floor, and repairs to the water-damaged plaster walls.     
  • Electrical upgrades throughout the building to replace the original cloth-covered wiring and main power distribution, update the house lighting, and modernize the lighting and sound interface that touring productions use when they visit the building.
According to Witecki, work is being completed as money comes in based on what needs must be met first. For those interested in donating to the historic theater, you can do so through the Tampa Theatre website. There are also opportunities to give back by becoming a member.

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.

Community art giveback begins in Channel District, Tampa

Art is springing from the walls in the Channel District, literally.

The Channel District Community Alliance, Inc. in cooperation with the homeowner’s association at the Grand Central at Kennedy has begun the first installment of their art giveback to the community. The project entitled, “Waves of Change,” is a four-part art series that will reflect the overall spirit of the district.

The purpose of the art is to bring beauty to the neighborhood, but, according to Vance Arnett, President of the Channel District Community Alliance, it goes beyond just esthetics.

“We are a walkable community so we want to provide people with beautiful surroundings, but we also want to give people a destination to walk to,” Arnett says. “We want to have something that you will want to show visitors, family and friends when they come and visit.”

So what will people see when they walk the streets of the Channel District? A mural created by Artists Meaghan Farrell Scalise of Traditional and Digitial Arts, LLC (TADA) and Rebekah Lazaridis.

“We really want to catapult the arts scene here in this area,” Scalise says. “The neighbors that have seen our progress have expressed such joy over it and we hope that it provides the residents here with a sense of community and pride living in the Channel District.”

 It took the artists under a week to complete the mural.

“We are planning more art projects and each one will have a theme,” Arnett says. “One will be indicative of the history of the Channel District, another of the lifestyle and one that represents our future.  We also plan to strategically place them around the community so again they are destination spots for people to walk to.”

You can see the “Waves of Change” mural at Grand Central at Kennedy located at 1120 East Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa. 

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport undergoes $9.8M renovation

Airports in the Tampa Bay area are getting bigger and better, including St. Pete-Clearwater International, which just announced its renovation plans for its terminals. This follows the recent announcement made by Tampa International Airport of the opening of the first few new restaurants and retail as part of a $953 million renovation master plan.

At St. Pete-Clearwater International in North St. Petersburg close to Largo and Clearwater, a $9.8 million project will add 12,000-square-feet to gates seven through 10 as well as an additional 350 new seats to the waiting area by those gates.

“The terminal renovation project is needed to meet our passenger growth,” says Michele Routh of St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE).

The passenger screening checkpoint area will go from two lanes to three in an effort to expedite wait times. Other improvements taking place in gates seven through 10 include renovations to retail and food and beverage concessions, a new children’s play area and renovated restrooms.

“The airport will be fully functioning during the renovations,” Routh says.

Restrooms will be renovated and expanded in baggage claim, the restaurant on the second floor and in the operations wing. All of these renovations will include upgrades to meet ADA requirements. A new mechanical control room will be added as well.   

“For over three years we have been growing by double digits,” St. Pete-Clearwater Airport Director Tom Jewsbury stated in a news release. “Although the construction phase will present challenges, the end result will be worth it for our passengers' comfort and convenience.”

Construction is expected to start next month. The Artec Group will be handling all of the renovations, and the project is expected to be completed in summer 2017.

Brand new, renovated Bay Area hotels ready for spring break visitors

With Spring Break just around the corner, hotels in the Tampa Bay area are getting ready to host an influx of tourists, including four hotels now under construction and/or undergoing renovation projects designed to meet increasing demand from tourists and other visitors.

Loews Don CeSar

Located near St. Petersburg Beach, Loews Don CeSar is the historic pink palace built in 1928. In addition to two pools, an 11,000-square-foot spa and an award-winning seafood restaurant, the hotel is adding a new bar to the list of amenities.

The Rowe Bar, which opened earlier this month at the Don CeSar, represents a $1.8 million investment by Loews.

“This is a brand new space that seats 200,” says Jeff Abbaticchio, Director of Public Relations for the hotel. “The new bar includes an interior space as well as an outdoor area featuring three fire pits and an outdoor fireplace.”

In addition to the Rowe Bar, Loews has been working on another project within the Don CeSar family of hotels.

Beach House Suites by Loews Don CeSar

A few blocks north of the Don CeSar, Loews 30-year-old Beach House Suites recently completed an $8 million renovation to its 70 suites, which offer guests one-bedroom lodging complete with kitchen space and a washer and dryer.

”All 70 suites were renovated to offer more spacious and contemporary space for our guests,” Abbaticchio says. “Beach House Suites is the perfect lodging solution for guests coming to the area from overseas or staying for an extended vacation because it has all the amenities you need, like a kitchen and washer and dryer. Plus we offer a complimentary shuttle service between Beach House Suites and the Don CeSar so guests can enjoy all that the Don CeSar has to offer.”

Opal Sands Resort

Drive down Gulfview Boulevard in Clearwater Beach to find the crescent-shaped building that is Opal Sands Resort, the latest hotel to open on the world-famous beach.

The shape of the building guarantees every visitor a view of the Gulf, according to Opal Sands General Manager Jeff Castner.

This luxury resort, which had a soft opening in early March, is 15-stories, features 230 rooms and cost $50 million to build.
 
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa

Situated at 5223 Orient Road in Tampa, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is visible from Interstate 4 and adjacent to the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre. The hotel features a spa, salon, restaurants, stores and of course a casino.

As large as the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino already is there are plans in the works for it to get even bigger. Last week, the Seminole Tribe of Florida met with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and unveiled its plans for a $1.8 billion expansion for its Hollywood and Tampa hotel locations.

For the Tampa hotel, plans include a second tower with 500 new rooms, a helipad, five retail stores, a new lobby bar as well as new dinning and meeting spaces.
 
A construction start date for this project has not been set. 

New live, work, play, stay places coming to Downtown Dunedin

The sounds of construction are back in Downtown Dunedin with a new mixed-use building going up and other projects just beginning or in the works.

Victoria Place

Located at 821 Victoria Drive in Dunedin, Victoria Place is under construction. This mixed-use building will house 30 units and eight retail spaces when it is completed later this year.

There are several factors that make Victoria Place an attractive place for future residents, including “the urban lifestyle that Dunedin offers,” says Claudia Emery of Victoria Place. “The walkability to events, restaurants and boutique shops is a draw to the community.”

Developer and contractor JMC Communities Inc. along with architect BSB Design Inc. are working on the project, which is expected to be completed fall of 2016.

Artisan Apartment Homes

Artisan Apartment Homes is a proposed four-story apartment home development, which includes retail shops and a public garage leased by the city at the corner of Monroe Street and Douglas Avenue.

If all goes as planned, construction will start June 1st and be completed by summer 2017. The new complex will house 65 units, with more than 11,000-square-feet of retail space.

Dunedin Bed & Breakfast

Dunedin, with its small town charm, is no stranger to the bed & breakfast concept. Therefore, it is no surprise that a new bed & breakfast is planned for downtown Dunedin. The 11-unit lodging concept situated at 520 and 530 Skinner Boulevard is currently in the pre-construction phase.

The proposed development includes fives bedroom units inside the main building with an additional six units in detached duplexes. The main building will have a wrap-around porch, while the duplex units will have front porches. Retail space on the property is also planned.
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