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Tampa Heights Riverfront Adds Restaurant, Park

The Tampa Heights neighborhood will soon be home to a much talked about new restaurant, Ulele and the city’s next special events destination, Waterworks Park. The historic Waterworks building and park will work together, integrate with the neighborhood and connect to the Riverwalk. 

The new Ulele Restaurant will emerge from the renovated city Water Works Building. The Gonzmart family, which owns the Columbia Restaurant, is expected to open Ulele in the winter of 2014. The name comes from the bubbling spring that flows into the Hillsborough River in Tampa Heights, and was once Tampa’s first source of drinking water. Ulule Spring is undergoing restoration as part of the Waterworks Park renovation.

The design of the park is "a modern interpretation that is respectful of the historic Waterworks Building and other park structures," explains Angela Hendershot, an architect with Rowe Architects, Inc.  Rowe Architects is part of the Design Build Team for the Waterworks Park renovation with Biltmore Construction

"The series of contemporary park structures have folded roof plains in which the geometry is a takeoff of the historic Waterworks Building roof pitch," describes Principal Rick Rowe of Rowe Architects.

The park will include play space for children, a playground, interactive water features, pavilions, docks, a kayak launch and stage and "will serve as an anchor and terminus of the Riverwalk," says Hendershot.

Special markers will draw attention to Tampa historic features, such as the Scottish Chief, a Civil War era vessel that sank at the southern end of Waterworks Park, and the Clara Frye Garden.  Clara Frye was a nurse who opened the first, free African-American Hospital in Tampa on the site now occupied by Blake High School which will be in view from the garden and Riverwalk. 

"Importantly, both projects will enhace the waterfront and you will be able to access the park and Ulele from the water," says Rowe.

Waterworks Park and Ulele will bring an important sense of history to the city and will share it with the Tampa Heights adding to the neighborhood’s character, revitalization and economic vitality.   

Writer: Taryn Sabia
Sources: Angela Hendershot and Rick Rowe, Rowe Architects

The Birchwood Blends Character Of Past With Future In Downtown St. Pete

Beach Drive in the city of St. Petersburg is host to a variety of activities from outdoor dining and storefront shopping to park-side walks with waterfront views. The Birchwood, formally the Grayl Hotel, is bringing new life to an historic building.  The recent renovation of the 1924 Lantern Lane Apartments into an 18-room boutique hotel adds to the authentic spirit of this evolving district. 

The Birchwood's Spanish Mission-style building, which houses the guest rooms, grand ball room, signature restaurant and rooftop lounge, is on the list of the National Registry of Historic Places. It is a blend of old and new.

"The interior design is an updated interpretation that reflects what was in the past, important to the historic era of the hotel," says Jim Santamour of Urban Studio Architects, the firm responsible for the interior renovation.

Birch and Vine, The Birchwood's signature restaurant, features farm-to-table fine dining that can be enjoyed indoors or seated at a sidewalk table. The design concept was motivated by the farm-to-table experience and, as Santamour says,, "inspired the finishes such as the raspberry color of the walls based on fresh radishes." 

The posh rooftop lounge offers a view of Tampa Bay and the downtown skyline.  "This vista from the roof impacts the atmosphere the most giving a bird's eye view of activity below," says Nicole Sayers also of Urban Studio Architects.     
The revitalization of The Birchwood will further the vitality of Beach Drive, fill the public space with local cuisine and help to maintain the historic character, sparking new energy for the district.  

Writer: Taryn Sabia
Source: Jim Santamour and Nicole Sayers, Urban Studio Architects

Renovations Begin On Public Pool On Davis Islands

After nearly two years of public meetings and planning, construction has begun on renovations to Davis Islands' Roy Jenkins Pool.

The 94-year-old pool, located at 154 Columbia Dr., closed in 2008 when the pool failed to meet public health and safety guidelines, but is now slated to reopen within one year, donning a $2.5 million facelift.

The Davis Islands Civic Association authorized $500,000 to go toward renovations with the remainder coming from the City of Tampa.

“The renovation of this pool has been a community effort. We are making much-needed improvements so that the pool can be a safe and fun place for the entire Davis Islands community to enjoy,” says Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

In June 2011, information from a $50,000 Davis Islands Recreational Area and Roy Jenkins Pool Study was released, targeting areas of demand for the pool.

The study documented existing conditions and evaluated the requirements to meet Department of Health codes. Since, public meetings for Island residents have been held, gaining input and approval of funds; residents have agreed with the Davis Islands Civic Association to authorize funds to go toward the pool's improvement.

“Residents were given an opportunity to comment on study concepts and make recommendations so their voices could be heard before decisions for project improvements were made,” says Laurie Potier-Brown, project manager for the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department.

Pillar Construction Group will work on renovations and, once complete, the pool will include a new operating system, piping, shell, deck and façade; new restrooms are among some of the added features for visitors to enjoy.

Completion is expected by April 2014.

“Next summer, I expect there will be hundreds of kids learning to swim and playing with friends in Roy Jenkins Pool,” Buckhorn says.

Roy Jenkins Pool will be open seasonally throughout the summer.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Mayor Bob Buckhorn & Laurie Potier-Brown, City of Tampa

Trammell Crow Spreads Sustainable Development Worldwide

Trammell Crow Company started its focus on sustainable design and development in 2005. Since 2006, the company has completed over 20 million square feet of LEED certified projects, with more in the pipeline.

About 85 percent of the company’s projects are LEED certified, which are 30-40 percent more efficient than traditional buildings.

"The whole idea is to leverage knowledge. To see the best of what’s going on around the country and make sure that we are constantly building on top of the best of what we see done when we take on a new development," says Robert Abberger, Senior Managing Director and Chief Sustainability Officer for Trammell Crow Company.

One such concept is the use of potable water to fuel cooling systems so the condensed water generated can then be pumped back into the water and sewer system, creating a multiplier effect.

Abberger notes that the biggest energy user in the world is commercial buildings (even more so than cars or residences), creating huge implications for the impact on human health and the environment.

Projects in Tampa Bay include the Marriott Waterside in downtown Tampa, an intermodal facility at the Port of Ybor and Posner Commons on I-4.

A flagship project is Darden's global headquarters in Orlando. Since Trammell Crow Company developed the building, the company has taken sustainability to the next level, reducing potable water consumption by more than 1 billion gallons per year throughout its 1,700 restaurants.

Abberger says his job is particularly rewarding when clients share his passion and excitement for sustainability. "The things that we’re doing have a national impact, which is then carried to international activities. It’s pretty rewarding."

The company is one of 13 local businesses honored recently with The University of Tampa's Earth Charter Sustainable Business Awards. The awards were based on three criteria: people (employee and community wellbeing), planet (environmental health) and profit (economic viability).

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Robert Abberger, Trammell Crow Company

HART MetroRapid North-South To Begin Services In Hillsborough

A new HART system aims to speed up connections from downtown Tampa to northern parts of Hillsborough County.

HART's MetroRapid will begin operations on Tuesday, May 28th, improving travel along selected service corridors, increasing service reliability and speed of transit. HART Public Information Officer Marcia Mejia says the system will make transit use easier for Hillsborough County residents.

“Added features like ticket vending machines will provide travel time savings because you don't have to wait for folks to pay on board,” Mejia says. “Riders will buy their tickets at the machines and just board directly.”

In addition to ticket vending machines, some of the system's new features include fewer stops; improved travel time, including 10-minute frequencies; GPS-enabled signal prioritization which will hold green lights longer and shorten red lights for the sleek new HART vehicles; and real-time display boards, allowing travelers to know when buses will be arriving.

The first rapid transit system in the area, the North-South MetroRapid will run north along Nebraska Avenue from the downtown neighborhoods and east on Fletcher Avenue to Telecom Park, west of Interstate 75; the area totals a 17.5 mile corridor.

According to Mejia, several studies were done before MetroRapid was planned, showing that the North-South corridor is one of the busiest with ridership activity.

Construction began on the North-South MetroRapid project in August 2013, totaling approximately $31 million, while the traffic signal priority project is cost an estimated $2 million. HART reported that the project came in under budget by $5.7 million, which will be reallocated back into Hillsborough County for infrastructure needs, if desired.

Both projects were paid for by Hillsborough County Community Investment Tax (CIT).

“Ridership continues (to increase) for HART, and has been for the past several years," Mejia says. "With this form of rapid transit being introduced, we're on track to meet transportation needs for residents of the county."

Currently, HART is continuing to make progress and expand the MetroRapid services, including the the East-West project which will connect Tampa International Airport, the Westshore Business District and the HART Netpark bus transfer center at Hillsborough Avenue and 56th Street; the 16.4-mile East-West route will also include connections to the North-South Line at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Marcia Mejia, HART

Police Department To Get New $3.5 M Shooting Range, Tampa

The Tampa Police Department is getting a new shooting range for police training.

The new $3.5 million project, funded by the City of Tampa law enforcement trust fund, will be located behind the city's McKay Bay trash incinerator off of 34th Street.

Plans call for the new facility to include two shooting ranges, a training building and a control tower. Baffle concrete walls to reduce noise are among some of the project's planned features.

“It's hard to replicate what goes on out there in the street, but to the extent that we can make it as realistic as possible, the better off they are and the safer they are,” says Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “That's why facilities like this are so important for us and for them.”

The project is expected to take approximately 18 months to two years to complete, with groundbreaking slated by the end of 2013.

Tampa officials have issued an invitation to companies interested in designing and building the range; responses are due by May 9th.

For years, Tampa law enforcement -- nearly 1,000 sworn officers -- have used the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office shooting range in Lithia, where yearly state qualification standards are met. Last year, approximately $265,000 was spent for Tampa officers to train at the Sherrif's Office range.

In addition to saving money, Buckhorn sees several advantages to having the new range in Tampa.

“The closer they are to the range, the more they can practice,” he says. “I want them to be able to practice as much as they need to.”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Mayor Bob Buckhorn, City of Tampa

Making Tampa Streets More Pedestrian-Friendly

The City of Tampa is looking to give four streets a pedestrian-friendly makeover.

Funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), plans call for the installation of sidewalks and bike lanes on Palm Avenue, Bougainvillea Avenue, Willow Avenue and Cypress Street in Tampa.

The approximately $400,000 project is currently in the design phase with completion expected by summer 2013.

“This is just the beginning of how we will reshape our center city,” says Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “Projects like this are part of our strategy to make Tampa more pedestrian and cyclist friendly.”

In addition to this project, bike lanes will also be installed along parts of Doyle Carlton Drive and Laurel Street in Tampa. Additional on-street parking in the downtown Tampa area is also in the works.

“These improvements will make these streets safer for everyone, providing both residents and visitors more options to get around,” Buckhorn says.

The announcement of this project comes as progress continues on the InVision Tampa project, which will create a new master plan for downtown Tampa, the Nebraska Transit Corridor and surrounding neighborhoods.

Making Tampa a more attractive and accessible place for people to live, work, play and visit, a main focus for the project is to provide residents with streets that are connected and calm, encouraging neighborhood gathering spaces and pedestrian activity.

“We know that we need to make our streets more pedestrian friendly,” Buckhorn says.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Mayor Bob Buckhorn, City of Tampa

Construction Begins On Marine Exploration Center, Aquarium In Madeira Beach

The 25-year-old St. Petersburg Pier Aquarium is moving, expanding and rebranding, bringing the new Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium concept to John's Pass Village in Madeira Beach.

Slated to open by November 2013, Secrets of the Sea will be the anchor attraction at John's Pass Village on Gulf Boulevard and 129th Avenue in Madeira Beach, featuring a broader, more technology-focused marine exploration concept.

Construction on the 13,500-square-foot, approximately $4 million facility began on April 23rd.

“The Pier Aquarium has been bursting at the seams for a long time while the public's interest in the ocean environment, cutting-edge technology and marine science continues to grow,” says Pier Aquarium President and CEO Howard Rutherford of the 2,000-square-foot St. Pete facility. “The unknown future of The Pier created an extraordinary opportunity for a bold, new approach to the Aquarium's mission.”

The Pier Aquarium will close on May 31.

Rutherford plans for Secrets of the Sea to become one of an epicenter for marine research and one of Madeira Beach's premier attractions, bringing the public together with state-of-the-art marine research, innovation and technology interactive experiences.

Various marine-related activities, aquariums, galleries and exhibits developed by the St. Petersburg Ocean Team will focus on research concepts in a fun, explanatory fashion; exhibits include Essential Estuaries, Touch Tampa Bay, Fish at Risk, Corals on Acid, Crustacean Station and Moon Jellyfish.

Local design-build team Biltmore Construction and Harvard Jolly Architects are working on the construction of the two-story structure with Lexington Design and Fabrication designing and building innovative Mystery Stations throughout the center, showcasing how several sea habitats and lifeforms are benefiting from some of the ocean's unsolved mysteries.

“We hope to create a new generation of environmental stewards,” Rutherford says.

A public/private partnership between John's Pass Village owner AEGON USA Realty Advisors, Enterprise Florida's State Small Business Credit Initiative and a local lender, the new aquarium space was recently endorsed by Madeira Beach Mayor Travis Palladeno.

Additionally, a collective hotel partnership called the Secrets Premier Hotelier Group has been instrumental in helping Secrets of the Seas achieve its capital campaign target to begin construction, agreeing to provide in excess of $100,000 over the next five years in support of the new marine attraction.

The partnership includes TradeWinds Island Resort and Guy Harvey Outpost, St. Pete Beach Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center, Lowes Don CeSar Hotel, Postcard Inn, Dolphin Beach Resort, Bilmar Beach Resort, Grand Plaza Resort Hotel, Alden Suites, Sunset Vistas Beachfront Suites, Beachcomber Beach Resort and Hotel, Plaza Beach Resorts and Barefoot Beach Hotel.

Secrets of the Sea is expected to generate nearly 250,000 visitors annually and pump $8 million into the local economy, reaching more than 40,000 students from six different countries.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Howard Rutherford, Pier Aquarium

Makerspace Project Brings Public Creative Spaces To Tampa Bay

Bringing together residents, organizations, businesses and agencies interested in changing culture through the creation of accessible, sustainable and enduring creative public spaces throughout the Tampa Bay area, non-profit education group Learning is for Everyone (LI4E) is heading the LI4E Makerspace Project, providing places where everyone can learn, innovate, manufacture and create locally.

Promoting personally fulfilling and economically productive ways, the Makerspace Project's first project has been donated by local South Tampa homeowner Terre Tulsiak; Tulsiak says she wants to give people the chance to feel capable and be capable to learn more if they want, giving them a place and chance to do so.

“Because then they'll want to,” Tulsiak says.

It will be more than six months before Tulsiak's donation of her home and property will become operational as LI4E currently gathers information on the cost of finishing the interior of the home, zoning issues and potential collaborative partners.

“I think this location is fabulous because it's urban, residential, accessible and inclusive-- all the things a public creative space should be,” says LI4E Founder and President Terri Willingham. “The size of the home, large yard and community where the home is located all lend itself to our small scale, light-use educational and environmental sustainability focus.”

Tulsiak and Willingham plan to create a space where skills can be learned, honed and advanced; ideas incubated and tested; and an agrarian-self-supporting venture developed, with the home potentially becoming a catalyst for people to refine sustainable businesses.

Specifically, Tulsiak is looking to work with LI4E's Makerspace Project to explore creating “a collaborative, stimulating, encouraging place for people to come to together to learn how to think more clearly, more expansively and more productively,” she says.

Ultimately, both Tulsiak and Willingham see the South Tampa home becoming a “health club for the mind,” featuring a community garden, laboratory for sustainability and entrepreneurial efforts, small-scale workshop for 3D printing and prototyping and classroom space.

“This is a beautiful, useful and collaborative community project. The house is a blank canvas, and the community is the collective artist,” Willingham says. “Makerspaces provide culture-changing opportunity to move from passive consumption to active creation. They're good for individuals and neighborhoods, providing community-enhancing ways to repurpose unused or abandoned spaces, becoming community gathering places by putting capacity building and resource development into the hands of area residents who need it most.”

Willingham hopes this project will kick start a flurry of makerspace projects, empowering local, ordinary people to become extraordinary makers of both their personal futures, as well as the Tampa Bay area's, as a whole.

Apart from the South Tampa project, LI4E has been working with Pasco County libraries to help create makerspaces in their public library system. Keep an eye out for more makerspace projects throughout the Tampa Bay area and get involved by contacting LI4E at info@learningis4everyone.org or (813) 728-2822.

Check out the Tampa Bay Makers Consortium Directory and Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire website to learn more about similar efforts going on in the area.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Terri Willingham, Learning is for Everyone

Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay Upgrades Homes

Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay (RTTB) is looking to respond to the need for residential housing rehabilitation programs in the Tampa Bay region, improving living conditions for local low-income families.

Receiving a $300,000 grant from Wells Fargo to improve homes in Tampa Heights, the program has been helping 12 homeowners update their homes. Partnering with the United Way Suncoast and City of St. Pete, many more home improvement projects are planned for the Heights area, as well as St. Petersburg's Campbell Park; Campbell Park is part of RTTB's Healthy Homes and Neighborhood program.

“There are many homeowners in need of our services and not enough nonprofits providing help to low-income homeowners to keep their homes safer, healthier and more energy efficient,” says RTTB Executive Director Jose Garcia. “Because of the economic downtown, low-income homeowners can no longer afford expenses to keep their homes maintained. Sometimes, it comes down to choosing between paying for food or medicine instead of replacing a roof or HVAC.”

Spending an average of $15,000 in construction costs, RTTB works to provide new roofing, HVAC, window replacements, bathroom renovations and lead paint repairs, if needed. Volunteerism through the program is encouraged, assisting with exterior painting, landscaping and yard cleanup.

On April 13th, RTTB hosted a Kick-Off to Rebuild Day Event, installing ramps and handrails and updating plumbing and interior and exterior painting for 80-year-old Campbell Park homeowner Elizabeth Chambliss; Chambliss, a veteran's widow, has been living in the area for more than 45 years.

In partnership with RTTB and United Way, volunteers from Honeywell assisted on-site to complete much of the repairs needed in Chambliss' home.

“We look for the most essential home repairs when we help a homeowner -- the needs of every home are not the same,” Garcia says. “We want to provide services that will make the home a safe and healthy place to live.”

April marks National Rebuild Month for Rebuilding Together affiliates nationwide and National Volunteer Month for the United Way with RTTB hosting an official Rebuild Day on April 27th, gathering volunteers from the United Way Suncoast and officials from the City of St. Pete to work on home repairs to four homes in the Campbell Park area of Pinellas County.

Plans to update homes in Hillsborough County are also underway.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Jose Garcia, Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay

Port Of Tampa's Gateway Rail Terminal Wins Prize

The Port of Tampa's Tampa Gateway Rail terminal won the top honor at the 21st Annual Future of the Region Awards which acknowledges the strongest regional projects in the Tampa Bay area.

Officially dedicated in September 2012, the $11 million Tampa Gateway Rail project was made possible through strategic investments by the Tampa Port Authority and partners CSX Rail, Kinder Morgan and Transflo. Since, the project has created intermodal connectivity at the Port of Tampa and is expected to be a major catalyst in promoting trade opportunities for Tampa's port and Central Florida.

Hosted by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, the 21st Annual Future of the Region Awards luncheon honored local projects demonstrating strong regional qualities in community service, cultural/sports/recreation, environmental, infrastructure, public education and development. Awards were given based on each project's regional quality of life benefit, innovation, cost-effectiveness, benefit to the environment, capacity for continuing impact and regional benefit.

The Tampa Gateway Rail terminal was awarded the Charles McIntosh Jr. Award of Distinction and a first-place award in the Natural Resources and the Environment category.

“We are very excited that our commitment to development the Port of Tampa into a word class intermodal hub and this significant stratgic partnership has been recognized at such a high and prestigious level,” says CEO and Port Director Paul Anderson. “We can't thank our partners enough for their involvement and enthusiasm for the project.”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Paul Anderson, Port of Tampa

AECOM Leases Space At MetWest International, Tampa

As MetLife's award winning, 32-acre mixed-use development in Tampa's Westshore Business District continues to see  leasing success, AECOM Technology Corporation will soon move into One MetroCenter at MetWest International.

AECOM will consolidate two existing offices into a new 7,054-square-foot office space in the 11-story MetWest International building. Negotiated by Taylor & Mathis Director of Leasing Angela Odell and co-brokered by Jack Hoskins of CBRE, the lease brings the office building's occupancy to 90 percent.

A global provider of professional technical and management support services, AECOM, a Fortune 500 company, employs approximately 45,000 employees worldwide, delivering "solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world's built, natural and social environments.'' AECOM serves clients in more than 140 countries, bringing in a revenue of $8.2 billion in 2012.

“[MetWest's success] is an indication that companies are looking forward and making decisions based on what they perceive is an improving economy,” says Odell.

One MetroCenter is just one of three buildings making up the MetWest International development, accompanied by the Gold LEED Certified MetWest One and MetWest Two.

A third office building will begin construction upon demand and, when complete, the entire project is expected to become a pedestrian-friendly, urban-oriented development including nearly 1 million square feet of Class A office space, 74,200 square feet of retail space, a 260-room full-service upscale hotel and 254 residential units.

Since developed, Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant, Texas de Brazil and Kona Grill have built their first Tampa locations in the retail portion of the MetWest International project.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Angela Odell, Taylor & Mathis

Post Properties Adds Housing, Retail To South Howard Avenue, Tampa

After being put on hold for several years due to the economic downturn, Post Properties is now proceeding on a new mixed-used residential community on South Howard Avenue in South Tampa.

Located on the corner of South Howard and Swann avenues, the approximately $40 million Post SoHo Square development will be made of up 231 one- and two-bedroom units, 10,000 square feet of retail and a parking garage for residents and customers. Post purchased the land in 2005 for $12 million.

“We love South Tampa: It's a vibrant, active community and we're really excited about that part of town,” says Bart French, Post's VP of investments. “SoHo is a great location for people who want to be able to walk out of their front door and go to shops and restaurants. We're trying to create something that fits into that walkable environment.”

A courtyard featuring a pool, club room overlooking the courtyard and fitness center are among the amenities to be offered at Post SoHo Square. Units will average approximately 880 square feet in size, including high quality finishes such as granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and plank flooring.

“A lot of good things are happening in the area and we'll be offering the community one more option for high-end, upscale living,” French says.

Pre-leasing for the 14-month project will begin out of Post's Hyde Park location around November 2013 with first units slated for completion by January 2014. French expects contractor Clark Florida Builders to complete Post SoHo Square by the second quarter of next year.

Additionally, French says rental rates have not been determined for the development as of yet, but Post has been watching rents in the area and will keep consistent with South Tampa prices. Businesses moving into the retail portion of the development will be announced in the coming months.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Bart French, Post Properties

New Condos, Townhomes On Snell Isle, St. Pete

Palm Beach County development firm Kolter Group recently began work on a new waterfront community on Snell Isle in St. Petersburg -- the first significant condominium development on the island in more than 40 years.

Water Club, at 1325 Snell Isle Blvd. N.E., will feature two 9-story towers including 95 luxury condominiums and 11 two-story townhomes with private two car garages, highlighted by Mediterranean architecture and a waterfront location on the east side of Snell Isle.

“Water Club answers a long-standing need for new, upscale condominium residents on Snell Isle,” says David Traynor, VP of Real Estate and Development Services for Smith & Associates, who will manage sales for the property. “People want all of the benefits of the elegant address and ease of condominium home living.”

Featuring a state-of-art fitness center, resort-style swimming pool, open-air palazzo, terraced garden and fire pit overlooking Tampa Bay, Water Club will also boast an on-site marina beside the St. Petersburg Yacht Club North Annex; slips will be available for purchase at the property's marina.

Four floor plans ranging in size from 1,700 to 1,900 square feet including two bedrooms and a den with two or three bathrooms are among the units to be offered at Water Club. Building features will include private elevator lobbies, as well as secured, covered parking. Chuck Jones of Curts Gaines Hall Jones Architects will be responsible for Water Club's design.

“Snell Isle is one of St. Petersburg's original waterfront developments: It offers a small, waterfront community feel away from the hustle and bustle while still being close enough for a bike ride to downtown St. Pete,” says Kortney Campbell, Smith & Associates social media and enterprise coordinator. "The Water Club residences will be an amazing addition to the area as they are unlike anything Snell Isle currently has."

Completion of the project is slated for June 2014.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: David Traynor & Kortney Campbell, Smith & Associates

Restoration To Give New Life To Historic Hacienda Hotel, New Port Richey

Thanks to community input and involvement, New Port Richey's historic Hacidena Hotel may get a new lease on life.

Built in 1927 and originally known as a “Bit of Old Spain Amid the Palms,” the 55-room Hacidena Hotel, at 5621 Main St. in New Port Richey, was used as a hotel visited by silent film stars for years before becoming an assisted living facility.

The old hotel has been vacant since 2006, but recent projects are putting community volunteers and donations to work on restoring the historic New Port Richey structure.

"This property is a key to the revitalization of downtown,'' says City of New Port Richey Interim Manager Susan Dillinger.

More than 400 volunteers recently gathered for two community clean up days at the hotel, where residents, city staff and city council members pitched in to beautify the grounds inside and out by painting, repairing and replacing windows, removing broken glass and installing irrigation lines.

Now, funds must be gathered and more work must be done to assess the structural and environmental issues in need of correction to restore the hotel before renovation work begins. Dillinger says the next step would be to have the interior evaluated -- the plumbing, air conditioning, elevator, electrical system and the structure itself.

"Once we evaluate the interior, we can then begin the rehab so we can lease out space,'' she says.

The project is seeking approximately $37,800 through Citizinvestor, an online crowdfunding service for civic projects, to complete the evaluations and renovation work. Contributions can be made by following this link.

Additionally, the building must undergo a termite inspection and treatment, asbestos survey, air quality test, mold inspection and lead-based paint survey. Special attention will be made during evaluations and repairs to meet requirements of its  National Register of Historic Places designation, which the building received in October 1996.

"This project has great community support as evidenced by the members who came out to clean up days,'' Dillinger says. "But we still need support via funds for planning, evaluation and the actual rehab process itself.''

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Susan Dillinger, City of New Port Richey
399 Construction Articles | Page: | Show All
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