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Officials break ground for new stage at Land O' Lakes Community Park

Plans for a new stage in Land O' Lakes took a step forward this month.
 
The Pasco Board of County Commissioners, the District School Board of Pasco County and community supporters broke ground for the performing arts venue on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at Land O' Lakes Community Park, north of Tampa.
 
Not only will the 1,020-square-foot stage serve the community, it will also be available to nearby Sanders Memorial Elementary School.
 
"This stage is going to actually be a cornerstone of future cultural events here in Land O' Lakes, something that we currently don't have -- and we have a lack of countywide, actually," said Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore during the groundbreaking ceremony. "So you can think about things that are going to be happening on that stage could be school band concerts, plays, pageants, and various other presentations. It's just going to be a wonderful amenity."
 
The $250,000 stage is the second part of $2.3 million worth of improvements to the park where the Land O' Lakes Community Center is located. The first phase was celebrated about a year ago with a ribbon-cutting for a new practice field, football field, softball field, walking trail, concession building with restrooms and meeting rooms, maintenance building, event field, two shelters, parking lots, playground and remodeled patio area.
 
Money for the stage comes from donations from architects, contractors and a grant from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.
 
The park was built in the 1960s, and an organization called the Heritage Park Foundation was created in 1997 to help protect it.
 
"Our desire was to keep our little historical park alive, to keep it as a community gathering spot it was created to be, and the co-facilitated shared use of space with Sanders Elementary," Sandy Graves, honorary mayor of Land O' Lakes and Heritage Park Foundation president, said during the Aug. 16 event. "That was the plan from the inception."

The group has long advocated for a stage at the park.
 
"Heritage Park Foundation has a motto," Graves said, "building a better community by building a better community center."
 
Construction on the stage is expected to begin in the fall and wrap up in January 2017.

Tampa Bay Sports to open store at Tampa International Airport

Local Tampa Bay sports fans and travelers to the area will soon have a place to shop the latest sports merchandise.
 
Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Storm, has partnered with Tampa-based airport retailer Stellar Partners to open a retail location inside Tampa International Airport next spring.
 
The 1,000-square-foot store will be located in the landside terminal near Starbucks. It will offer the latest licensed merchandise from every local sports team, including the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, USF Bulls, Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles, as well as large-scale sporting events that take place in the region, like the Frozen Four and Women's Final Four.
 
"We are excited to offer this new retail location not only for the fans of our home teams but also for our out of town visitors as they come in to cheer on their favorite teams in championship events hosted in Tampa Bay," says Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment CEO Steve Griggs.
 
He says the store will bring visitors closer to the game than they've ever been before with video screens showing highlights, games and other content; appearances by trophies, athletes and other sports personalities throughout the year; and virtual reality experiences, like tours of the area's sports venues and events.
 
"The interactive aspect of the store with its video walls and virtual reality experiences will make it a unique retail experience," says Susan Stackhouse, President and CEO of Stellar Partners.
 
"For travelers, Tampa Bay Sports provides a 'sense of place,' providing visitors a glimpse into one of the things that makes Tampa Bay unique," she says.
 
The airport location will join Tampa Bay Sports' brick and mortar store at Amalie Arena and its online store.

Gobioff Foundation to launch creative placemaking program in September

A creative placemaking initiative is aiming to improve Tampa through the arts.
 
The Gobioff Foundation, a private family group that works to support human rights organizations in the Tampa arts community, is launching Treasure Tampa (T²) 8:30-10 a.m. on Monday, Sept 19, at The Vault, 611 N. Franklin St., Tampa. The initiative will include up to $30,000 in seed money for a creative placemaking project in the City of Tampa or the neighborhood area served by the University Area Community Development Corporation.
 
According to the National Endowment of the Arts, creative placemaking is the act of partners from public, private, non-profit and community sectors coming together to shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood around arts and cultural activities. The goal is to revive the space, improve local businesses and bring the community together.
 
The free Treasure Tampa (T²) launch event will include breakfast and an inspirational presentation about creative placemaking by Jamie Bennett, executive director of ArtPlace America, a 10-year project to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development.
 
"At the launch in September, we will be announcing more details, including the application, review panel and timeline," explains Neil Gobioff, president of the Gobioff Foundation.
 
Gobioff has been involved with the Tampa arts community as a patron since he moved to Tampa in 1995, and he became active in the community through Jobsite Theater during its first season in the late 1990s. He now serves on the Jobsite board.
 
Gobioff's wife, Gianna Rendina-Gobioff, is a Tampa native who has been a cheerleader in the arts community since her brothers were in art school at the University of South Florida. She was a founding board member with Tempus Projects.

"We both believe in the artistic talent that resides here in Tampa," Neil Gobioff says. "It is exciting to us to build great communities through artistic collaborations across multiple sectors."
 
The Treasure Tampa (T²) launch event is open to anyone interested in learning about and participating in creative placemaking. Space is limited, and registration is required. Doors will open at 8 a.m.
 
For more information, contact the Gobioff Foundation.

Unique dining concept, The Hall on Franklin, coming to Tampa Heights

Tampa Heights will soon have a distinctive collection of eateries that Developer Jamal Wilson hopes will help Tampa become a food destination.
 
The Hall on Franklin is an upscale, chef-driven food hall that will feature several dining options, a craft coffee bar, a lounge with specialty signature cocktails, outdoor seating and live entertainment on nights and weekends. It's expected to open this fall in the historic Farris Building, 1701 N. Franklin St., which housed an automobile company in the 1920s. A grand opening is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 1.
 
Wilson came up with the concept over several years. He was exposed to cultural restaurants and food curation while playing professional basketball in Europe, and he visited modern-day dining halls more recently while traveling with his family in the United States, like The Source and Avanti F&B in Denver and The Pennsy and Gotham West Market in New York City.
 
"At some point you begin to wonder if you can deliver something of that level where you live, and eventually you say, 'Why not,'" Wilson says. " … Our local talent, for one, is exceptional, and one of the things I love about Tampa in general and the small pockets of communities like Tampa Heights and Seminole Heights specifically, is how supportive and welcoming we are for new ideas and entrepreneurial ventures."
 
Property owner Maureen Ayral of A2 LLC restored and renovated the building over two years. She refreshed the hardwood floors, brick walls, ceilings and ornate iron details. She also converted the street-level windows that once showcased new model cars to glass garage doors that will bring light and fresh air to the indoor-outdoor dining experience.
 
The 8,000-squre-foot Hall has already partnered with local restaurants, which will showcase unique dishes from their flagship locations or create new pop-up concepts. They include: The North Star Eatery, an Asian fusion concept by Kevin and Singh Hurt of Anise Global Gastrobar; La Bodega, Latin fusion by Felicia LaCalle, the former executive chef of The Samba Room, which is now closed; Bar K?-fe, a coffee bar by Ty Beddingfield, former master barista at Buddy Brew; Bake ’N’ Babes, desserts and confectionary by Julie Curry; Bar Concept, bespoke cocktails by Ro Patel, bar program creator of Franklin Manor and Anise; and Heights Melt Shoppe, gourmet sandwiches, homemade soups and sides, hand-spun milkshakes, and unique popsicles by David Burton of Holy Hog BBQ, Tampa Pizza Co. and So Fresh.
 
Wilson, who estimates the total investment in the project is between $500,000 and $750,000, says The Hall is a great opportunity for local chefs looking to deliver their vision on their own terms.
 
"It's not an easy proposition to start your own restaurant from the ground up, so the collective is a great entry point for an up-and-coming chef to break out," he says.
 
He says the collective is an even better opportunity for Tampa foodies.
 
"There is nothing like being able to order an appetizer from one restaurant, share dishes from three more, while having a craft cocktail designed to complement the menus from multiple restaurants," he says. "Or maybe you just want to stop in for ice cream, dessert or coffee at the walk up open door cafes. I just can't imagine a better experience with family and friends."
 
The dining area will feature modern, high-end design elements, and if visitors see something they like, they'll be able to purchase the same item from The Hall's retail space and have it shipped directly to their home.
 
Entertainment on nights and weekends will be provided by DJs and live bands.
 
"It also helps that on the weekends we will be open until 2 a.m., which lends itself well to the live, work, play theme of the urban corridor," Wilson says. "Your food options should not be limited after (midnight) in a thriving city like Tampa."

St. Petersburg awards $468K to 6 local businesses

Six businesses in St. Petersburg are getting a leg up.
 
On Thursday, Aug. 11, the St. Petersburg City Council gave its approval for more than $468,000 to be divided among the businesses: Delores M. Smith Academy, Imagination Station, Florida Brake and Tire, Power Sports, Advantage Solutions and Chief's Creole Café.
 
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman says he appreciates the council's support for the measure.
 
"I believe our business community is part of the fabric of St. Petersburg," he says.
 
The money comes from a 2016 Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Grant from the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) and is a component of a 30-year revitalization plan for the area, which is generally located between Fourth Street and 49th Street, from Second Avenue North to 30th Avenue South.
 
This is the first year the CRA has had a competitive grant program. It's designed to help boost private investment by property owns and businesses in commercial and multifamily residential development in South St. Petersburg.
 
"It represents a turning point for not just those in our business community, but for everyone in Florida's best city," Kriseman says. "We are investing not just in buildings and places, but in people as well, because we want to be an innovative, creative and competitive community that helps businesses not just survive but thrive."
 
Kriseman also encourages this year's grant applicants to consider reapplying for additional funding in next year's TIF cycle, which will begin in the first quarter of 2017. An estimated $1.2 million will be available, according to a statement from the City of St. Petersburg.

Temple Terrace council to hear 2 very different redevelopment plans

The Temple Terrace City Council is considering two proposals for its downtown redevelopment area -- one from Eriksson Technologies, and the other from Florida Hospital.
 
Following state regulations, they'll meet as the Community Redevelopment Agency to hear more about each plan on at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15, at the Lightfoot Recreation Center, 10901 N. 56th St., Temple Terrace. A special meeting of the council will follow at 7 p.m. Both meetings are open to the public.
 
"This meeting will provide an opportunity for the elected officials, and the public, to see a couple of proposals for our downtown redevelopment," says Michael Dunn, the city's spokesman. "We're not sure whether the City Council will vote to approve either of these that evening, but this offers them an opportunity to consider and evaluate the proposals going forward."
 
Eriksson Technologies, an engineering and software development firm, and Florida Hospital have both created proposals for a 1.5-acre parcel at the northwest corner of the 20-acre redevelopment site. The lot is located at the corner of Bullard Parkway and 56th Street and is currently home to a vacant Burger King.
 
The Eriksson plan got an initial thumbs up from the council in January. The proposal calls for a six-story office building with retail, such as coffee shops and restaurants, on the first floor, as well as structured parking on the first three levels.
 
The proposal states Eriksson would anchor downtown Temple Terrace in the professional-level jobs the company has created and establish a conduit between the University of South Florida and local high schools.
 
"Our proposed development plan will permit us to consolidate our operations -- currently spread over three separate office buildings within Temple Terrace -- into a single, state-of-the-art, architecturally important building with room for future growth," the proposal states.
 
The company is offering $250,000 for the property.
 
Florida Hospital's proposal includes the 1.5-acre parcel the city put up for sale, as well as an adjacent 1.5-acre lot to the south. The plan calls for a single-story freestanding emergency department with a two-story lobby, as well as a two-story medical office building. The office building's first level is designated as covered parking for tenants and visitors, and the second level is designed for medical offices and other healthcare services.
 
The proposal states the location would bring 24-hour, state-of-the-art emergency care directly to the residents of Temple Terrace and create high-paying professional and support jobs.
 
Florida Hospital is offering more than $2.3 million for the 3 acres, as well as up to $100,000 for construction of a Temple Terrace gateway sign at the Fowler Avenue entrance to Temple Terrace.
 
"This contribution is being made as a gesture to illustrate the hospital's intent to be a key partner with the city," the proposal states.
 
The city received two appraisals for the value of the 1.5-acre property. Appraisal Development International determined the parcel is worth $1.1 million, while Cliggitt Valuation determined it's worth $690,000.

Developers, architects transform Clearwater bank building into SkyView luxury condos

A former Clearwater bank will find new life as a luxury condominium when it opens to residents next year.
 
The SkyView at 400 Cleveland St. is a collection of 51 condos designed by Gomez Vazquez International Architects. The location was formerly the AmSouth bank building, and the complex will incorporate the original structure by reinforcing the steel and concrete framework initially designed to house the bank’s vault.
 
Construction on the project began in October 2014, and the first phase is nearly finished, according to Alvaro Gonzalez Guerra Gomez, the architecture firm's principal of North America. The firm has designed more than 200 lifestyle developments worldwide since it was founded in 1968, although this is the first in the Tampa Bay area.
 
The first phase entails "gutting and demolition of the existing facade, core of the building, stairwell and elevator shafts to make way for 38 units in place of the previous bank offices," Gonzalez says.
 
"This, of course, includes the amenities -- pool, fitness center, kids club, smoothie bar, and the vault room, which was transformed into a room where the condo owners can have cozy get-togethers."
 
Other amenities include a spa and an amenities deck with resort-style day beds and views of the Gulf of Mexico.
 
"It’s the ultimate escape and destination for relaxing and socializing," Gonzalez says.
 
All units will have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, Gonzalez says. The average size will be 1,300 square feet. Prices will range from $260,000 to $890,000 and depend on the view, the floor and the terrace space.
 
Although developers Moises and Cleman Agami decline to disclose their total investment in the project, Paulette Agami, design manager and spokeswoman, says they want to bring "a fresh, contemporary and chic architectural landmark" to Clearwater that features "an air of high design and clean lines."
 
"That’s precisely what was accomplished," she says. "When potential buyers or visitors walk into The SkyView showroom, there are, without fail, remarks about the good taste that we have brought downtown."
 
The entire project is expected to be complete in March 2017.

Why Harbour Island complex is developer's fanciest apartment project yet

You'll find a little bit of France on Harbour Island when a new, high-end apartment complex opens next year.

The 21-story building at 402 Knights Run Ave. will have a distinct look, according to Arturo Peña, VP of Development for the Related Group, the developer of the project. Related has built and managed more than 80,000 condominium and apartment residences around the globe since its inception in 1979.

"It definitely has iconic architecture, like a Parisian style," Peña says, adding that the architect for the project is Atlanta-based Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart.

"When one walks in, there's going to be a piano playing music all the time, so kind of that French style combined with the latest technology," Peña explains.

Elevators will be access-controlled, for example, and residents will be alerted electronically if they have a package.
 
"It's our fanciest apartment project yet," Peña says.

Other amenities include a clubhouse that overlooks a large pool with cabanas, a gazebo and fire pit.

"Because we're using an existing parking garage, we were able to maximize the site," Peña says.
 
Residents will use a parking garage at an adjacent office building, which has been a point of contention between the developer and some Harbour Islanders. Opponents say the city of Tampa miscalculated the number or parking spaces available for the project, while the city maintains the project meets Tampa's requirements.
 
Construction on the project began in February, and although the complex hasn't officially been named, Peña says he expects to have a moniker by the end of 2016. Leasing should begin about a year from now.

"We will commence occupancy around next August [2016], and it will be completed around next October 2017," Peña says.

The complex will have 340 units with an average size around 1,100 square feet. The average price renters will pay is $3,000 a month.

"We think the demographic at Harbour Island is a little older, a little more established," Peña says.
 
He says he expects residents will be empty nesters or affluent professionals, like doctors from Tampa General Hospital or attorneys who work downtown.

Although Peña declines to disclose Related's total investment in the complex, he says the Miami-based company chose to take on the project, and a few others in Tampa, because it is impressed with the city's effort to be a "24/7 live, work, play" community.

He points to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's commitment to growth and professional development, as well as Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik's $1 billion investment in the Channel District as examples.

"We really like what Tampa's doing," Peña says. "… We want to be part of it."
 

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. 

Kahwa Coffee opens new location in Belleair Bluffs

Kahwa Coffee reached a new milestone in July by opening its 10th location in the Tampa Bay area.
 
The 1,200-square-foot shop sits at 2919 W. Bay Drive in Belleair Bluffs. It's in a shopping center anchored by a Bonefish Grill. The space was formerly a nutrition store.
 
“We are very excited,” says Raphael Perrier, who owns the business with his wife, Sarah.
 
Perrier says the couple invested $100,000 into the new location to purchase the building and remodel it.
 
"We found that we had a lot of demand in the Belleair area," Perrier says. "I love the crowd over there. I think it's exactly what Kahwa needs."
 
Kahwa Coffee has been growing ever since the business launched in St. Petersburg in 2006. There are now multiple locations in St. Pete and Tampa, as well as shops in Westchase and Sarasota.
 
Perrier attributes the company's success to the quality of their products, their level of service, and their involvement in local fundraisers.
 
"I think we became a better Starbucks and people just enjoy the fact that we’re local," he says. "Plus, I think we don’t take ourselves too seriously and people like that."
 
You can also find Kahwa products in 27 Winn-Dixie locations in Florida, and in restaurants and other places throughout the Tampa Bay community.
 
“We have a lot of wholesale customers that sell our coffee,” Perrier says.
 
In December, HSN brought Kahwa to the national market. Perrier says Kahwa has appeared live on the network four times and has been presenting products about every month and a half.
 
July 20th was a soft opening for the Belleair Bluffs location, and Perrier says a grand opening will probably happen in two or three weeks, although he hasn't set an exact date. He says there will likely be coffee giveaways and visits from community leaders during the celebration.
 
In the future, Perrier says the company is looking into franchising opportunities and will continue to enjoy their journey in the coffee business.
 
“We’re a wife and husband running the show and having fun,” he says.
 
For more information about Kahwa Coffee, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Port Tampa Bay begins using massive new cranes

If you're traveling near Port Tampa Bay, you might see two newly commissioned gantry cranes in action.
 
The cranes, which weigh 1,600 tons each, were officially brought into service on Friday, July 22. They're used for loading and unloading cargo containers from container ships, and they'll allow the Port to expand and diversify its cargo business by serving wider ships that travel through the expanded Panama Canal.
 
The new cranes can lift 65 tons. That's 25 more tons than the three 42-year-old gantry cranes that were previously used at the port. They stand 300 feet high and have a 174-foot outreach, allowing the Port to handle ships nearly twice the size of ships it could handle before.
 
The cranes were manufactured in China, arrived at the port in April, and then went through testing and certification.
 
"It's great to unveil these beautiful new cranes to our customers and the community, following a seamless and exciting period of getting them ready for container operations," says Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson in a July 22 news release.
 
The Port's vision is to be the container gateway of west and central Florida, according to the release. The idea is to serve the growing Interstate-4 Corridor between Tampa and Orlando, and the Port has been marketing its increased capability to global shipping companies.
 
Port Tampa Bay, the state of Florida and terminal operator Ports America invested $24 million into the new equipment, including $11 million for each of the cranes, and another $2 million in infrastructure improvements and spare parts. Ports America will operate the cranes.
 
"It's truly a milestone for the port as we realize this tremendous capital investment and begin to see the generational benefits for the economy," Anderson says.

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.
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