| Follow Us:

Development News

726 Articles | Page: | Show All

Walmart Opens Neighborhood Market in Largo

A new Walmart Neighborhood Market is delivering groceries, pharmacy services and more than 90 jobs to the Largo community.
 
Walmart representatives and community leaders attended the recent grand opening of the store, located at 9020 Ulmerton Road, off Starkey Road. At the ceremony $6,000 in grants were given to Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast, Largo Middle School and Teen Tyne Productions.
 
The store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It offers a full supply of groceries including organic and natural foods. There also will be prepared foods for sale, fresh breads and baked goods and a self-serve deli with items such as pork loin ribs and rotisserie chicken.
 
Up to 95 full- and part-time jobs are provided at the new store. It is the second neighborhood market to open in Largo in Pinellas County. Walmart is a national chain known for its discounted general merchandise and super centers. The company opened its first neighborhood market in 1998 and now has 300 nationwide.
 
Store manager Shane Dellus began his Walmart employment as an overnight stocker.
 
"We are excited to bring new jobs to the Largo community and to help residents save money so they can live better," said Dellus. 
 
In addition to jobs and shopping convenience, Walmart representatives say the market helps promote the company's efforts to fight hunger by providing neighborhoods with local shopping options.
 
"One of our goals is to locate stores in food deserts," says Walmart spokesman Bill Wertz.
 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture identifies "food deserts" as low-income communities that have limited access to affordable and nutritious foods. The Ulmerton Road store is within proximity of a neighborhood identified by the USDA as a food desert. 
 
Walmart plans to have as many as 300 stores in food deserts by 2016. Wertz says to date Walmart has almost 100 such stores open.
 
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation has pledged up to $2 billion to fight hunger through 2015. Walmart stores in Florida donated 26.8 million pounds of food in fiscal year 2013, or the equivalent of 22.3 million meals. In the same year, Florida received more than $53.6 million in donated aid from Walmart.
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Shane Dellus and Bill Wertz, Walmart

The Busy Buddy Moves Into Dade City's SMARTstart Incubator

The Busy Buddy is moving from home base to office space as it joins other fledgling businesses at the SMARTstart incubator site in the Dade City Business Center.
 
Owner and President Kellye Dash, 39, started her business support services company as a part-time venture operated from her home while working full-time as an Information Technology (IT) manager for another company.
 
In 2012 she took The Busy Buddy full-time and in January moved into the business center at 15000 Citrus Country Drive in Dade City in northeast Pasco County. 
 
"I always knew I wanted to have my own business," says Dash, a 2007 graduate of the University of South Florida. "This is my opportunity to strike out on my own."
 
She currently works with two sub-contractors to help businesses on a range of issues, including social media, email marketing, web research, database cleanups, event and meeting coordination, and special projects
.
One of her clients is Tampa engineering firm, Heidt Design, which has worked on residential development projects including Fishhawk Ranch.
 
"I'm looking to grow," says Dash. She plans to add staff as her business expands both locally and nationally.
 
SMARTstart is managed by the Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc. It is the first venture of its kind in the county, providing networking opportunities and technical support to small businesses. While some startup companies are located at the business center, others are located off-site.
 
"We're all trying to grow and collaborate and share in the challenges we have and help each other," says Dash.
 
She grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and moved to Tampa nearly a decade ago. She lives in Wesley Chapel with her three daughters.
 
In the future, Dash is planning to offer an internship at her company. She especially wants to be a mentor to girls and women. "You can do whatever you want to do," she says.
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Kellye Dash, The Busy Buddy

Buildings Alive Tour Showcases Ybor City History

Hop aboard a Jolley Trolley and get an insider's look at Ybor City's most historic buildings.
 
For the third year, the Ybor City Museum Society is sponsoring the Buildings Alive Ybor City Architecture Hop. From 5-10 p.m. on March 6, trolleys will shuttle people along a route that showcases nine of Ybor's oldest buildings, including the J.C. Newman Cigar Factory, the Don Vicente Inn and The Cuban Club. There will be a scavenger hunt with prizes and from 8-10 p.m. an after party with live entertainment, food and beverages at the Ybor City Museum State Park garden.
 
Trolley guides will provide a few clues for the scavenger hunt as well as facts and legends about Ybor City. Hosts will be available at each building to talk about its history and current use.
 
When the society held its first architecture hop, it was planned as a one-time event. But the tour proved a great hit. The mix of buildings changes year to year. Bright House is the event's signature corporate sponsor. A $6,900 grant from the Ybor City Development Corporation helps fund the hop. Support also is provided by the American Institute of Architects, Tampa Bay Chapter.
 
"It's become a real community event," says Chantal Hevia, president of the museum society. "You can come each year and still see something different or new."
 
One of the stops is at Design Styles Architecture on Columbus Drive. Nearly two years ago the firm relocated from Clearwater and spent about $300,000 restoring the approximately 74-year-old, two-story building. It once was a neighborhood grocery store that sold food and produce to Ybor's cigar workers.
  
"It's a perfect example (from Ybor's history) of people having retail downstairs and living upstairs," says Hevia.
 
Other stops will be at the Ybor City Museum Society, Carne Chophouse, Florida Business Interiors, USAmeriBank, and TMD Windows and Doors.
 
The hop starts at one of two registration and check-in points: Stantec, located at 2205 N. 20th St., with free parkng for 120 cars; and Centro Ybor, located at 1536 E. Seventh Ave, with parking one block away at Centro Ybor Garage.
 
Advance tickets must be purchased by Feb. 28 and are $35 or $25 for museum members. Tickets on the day of the event are $45 or $25 with a valid student identification.
 
For information call the museum at 813-247-1434 or visit its website
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Chantal Hevia, Ybor City Museum Society

Restoration Of Old Hyde Park Art Center Under Way

From the outside, the Old Hyde Park Art Center on Swann Avenue looks as if it were a typical older South Tampa home. But the approximately 115-year-old wood structure is possibly the oldest building still in use in Tampa.
 
With an $18,000 makeover, the art gallery building soon will more closely resemble the historical structure it is. Restoration work by Timeline Contracting will reconfigure the front stoop and add columns and a canopy to the entry way. The exterior will be painted in three colors similar to the light, mid-tone and dark colors of the original structure, giving the building more eye-catching appeal.
 
"It's pretty unique," says Kathy Durdin, president of Tampa Realistic Artists, Inc., which owns and operates the art center. "Before the turn of the century, there were these generic (wood frame) buildings all over the place, but they were lost because there was no purpose for them."
 
The saving grace for this building is that the city and school district kept finding public uses for it, and even different locations.
 
In 1899 the two-room wood building served as a temporary school until a red-brick replacement for the Hyde Park Grammar School was built at 502 South Boulevard. The original grammar school was at Platt Street and Magnolia Avenue.
 
Tampa was still a pioneer town emerging alongside the Hillsborough River, dotted with orange groves and dairy cattle. In 1914 the temporary school became the grammar school's lunch room, where parents served the first hot lunches to Tampa students. A year later the school was renamed the John B. Gorrie Elementary School.
 
Nearly eight years later the school lunch room had a new purpose as the Hyde Park Branch Library, again a first for a public school. In 1936 the building was moved to its current location, 705 Swann Ave. For the next three decades it was the Tampa Public Library, Hyde Park Branch.
 
When the library closed in 1969, the Tampa Realistic Artists, Inc., began leasing the property as an art gallery eventually buying it 10 years later. The nonprofit group promotes art awareness through exhibits, workshops and seminars.
 
The funds to renovate the art center come from the Hillsborough County Historic Preservation Grant Program which promotes historic preservation, heritage tourism and job creation.
 
Work on the entry way will be completed in March. Additional restoration is planned for the front doors, which still have city seals embedded in the lockplates.
 
"We've got to believe at the turn of the century these lockplates were all over Tampa," says Durdin. "The doors are pretty special."

The art center is open to the public and is free of charge. The next exhibit, "Landscapes and Seascapes,'' will run from today until March 21. For more information, call Durdin at 813-220-5800 or email her at this link.
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Kathy Durdin, Old Hyde Park Art Center

New Hindu Temple To Be Built In Tampa Heights

For 25 years the dream has been to build a new Temple to serve Tampa Bay's growing Hindu community. It is a pledge that Physician Pawan Rattan, made to his father many years ago.
 
Last weekend a prayer service and groundbreaking ceremony brought the dream to reality. Within the next 12 to 18 months, a 10,600-square-foot Temple will be built at 311 E. Palm Ave., within one-mile of downtown Tampa.
 
"It's a very significant event for us," says Rattan, who is chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sanatan Mandir. "It celebrates our culture, our heritage. It brings us together. At the same time it promotes mutual respect for others."
 
Unlike many Hindu temples that are ornate and built in marble, this Temple building will reflect the historical character of Tampa Heights as well as traditional Hindu temple architecture. The facade is of red brick. The roof will be topped with five sikharas, or rising towers.
 
Wisdom Structural, Inc., Roosevelt Stephens Drafting Service and Ferlita Engineering are working on the approximately $1.5 million project. Several hundred construction-related jobs will be created. 
 
"My hope is that this also triggers an uplifting of the area," says Physician and Philantropist Kiran Patel.
 
For more than two decades, a 4,000-square-foot building at the Palm Avenue site has served as the Hindu Temple, Sanatan Mandir. It was once the educational building for the Jewish congregaton of Rodeph Sholom, which relocated to South Tampa. According to Hillsborough County records, the Jewish congregation sold the Palm Avenue property to Rattan in 1988. It later was transferred by deed to Hindu Samaj, Inc.
 
Once the new Hindu temple opens, the building will become a community hall.
 
The Rodeph Sholom temple building, at 309 Palm Ave., was torn down years ago. Plans are to install a marble art piece at the new Hindu Temple to honor the Jewish heritage at the site.
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Physicians Pawan Rattan and Kiran Patel, Sanatan Mandir

Building Boom: An Open Mic Night About Urban Tampa

Tampa's Urban Charrette and the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) Tampa Bay will host Urbanism on Tap at the Pour House in the Channel District of downtown Tampa on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 starting at 5:30 pm.

Led by Urban Charrette and CNU Tampa Bay, Urbanism on Tap is a recurring open mic event, focused on generating constructive conversation within the community about current ideas and trends that are shaping our city.

Every event is open to the public. Moderators and attendees are invited to share their views and stories related to the topic of the day. The intention of the event is to generate a lively exchange of ideas, which will help make Tampa a more livable city.

The March event is the first in a new three-part series, entitled "Tampa: The New Building Boom.'' The first event, "New Buildings, New City?'' will focus on new developments, and how they are changing Tampa's urban landscape. What do you love? What is missing? The organizers welcome ideas on the challenges facing Tampa, and the influence new developments will have on the growth of the city in coming years.

The event organizers encourage people to share their photos and opinions on these topics by visiting Urbanism on Tap's Facebook page. People can also use the Facebook page and website to continue the conversation online, following the event.

Writer: Vinod Kadu
Source: Erin Chantry, CNU Tampa Bay, and Ashly Anderson, Urban Charrette

Memphis Chefs Go Sunny Side Up in Tampa

Sunny Side Up is a new beginning for Marci and Chuck Goldstein after more than 30 years of building a successful catering business in Memphis.
 
They are serving breakfast and lunch in a tiny restaurant around the corner from the Tampa Theatre at 305 Polk St. The spot for Sunny Side Up is a tight fit at about 400 square feet, but small is what the Goldsteins want -- at least for now.
 
"We wanted something so different... and to put it in a spot where no one else thinks it could work and make it a success," says Chuck Goldstein.
 
The cubby hole most recently was a success for owners of Duckweed Urban Market who relocated to a larger space on Tampa Street.
 
Menu items are made from scratch with fresh, local produce. Breads are from local bakery Buh-Bites; coffee is from Buddy Brew Coffee on Kennedy Boulevard.
 
Homemade Southern biscuits, challah, bagels, eggs, country ham, cheese grits and French toast casserole are on the breakfast menu. Lunches are grilled cheese sandwiches made with 11 varieties of cheese, meats and vegetables. And there is Chipotle chicken and gourmet mac & cheese. 
 
Every now and then the Goldsteins will change out the menu, gauging customer preferences and what local produce is available. Vegetarian and vegan options are available.
 
Soups of all kinds are made fresh daily by Marci Goldstein. "I have a knack for soups," she says. She misses Memphis, where she grew up, but says Tampa has been a good move.
 
They are empty-nesters with grown children pursuing their own careers. "We decided we needed a change," says 55-year-old Chuck Goldstein. "We wanted to go back to where we started. We're very eco-friendly, very green."
 
Where the couple started from in Memphis, Goldstein says, was "very poor, but we built and built and built."
 
Tampa's re-energized downtown of high-rises, shops and restaurants struck a chord with them. They make their home at Grand Central at Kennedy in the Channel District.
 
"It was very important that we live and work downtown," Chuck Goldstein says. 
 
Catering is still a mainstay for the couple who count some of Tampa's downtown businesses as clients including the law firm, Hill Ward Henderson
 
They believe in supporting the community where they live, and have reached out to nonprofits. At Christmas the couple pitched in to cook a holiday meal for clients of Metropolitan Ministries.
 
"It's our way of giving back," Chuck Goldstein says.
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Chuck Goldstein, Sunny Side Up

Tampa General Hospital Opens First of Two Transplant Houses

The first of two "transplant houses" that will serve as temporary homes for Tampa General Hospital's discharged transplant patients is open on Davis Islands.
 
The house at 18 Columbia Drive is across from Ronald McDonald House and within walking distance of the hospital. 
 
"This is a 20-year dream come true," says Debbie Rinde-Hoffman, medical director for TGH's cardiac transplant program. "We are just so lucky."
 
TGH is the only local hospital with a transplant center, performing between 400-500 transplants annually including hearts, lungs, livers, kidneys and pancreases. In addition, the hospital implants about 50 heart pumps annually.
 
But the TGH transplant team says patients who travel long distances for the surgeries are at a disadvantage when they are ready for discharge. Follow-up medical visits will be needed over the next weeks or months. Patients and their families face costly stays in hotels or long-distance travel from their hometowns to Tampa.
 
Janet Walin, 60, remembers the hard times she had in 1999. For her lung transplant, she had to travel and take up residency in St. Louis away from her family in Florida.
 
"This is awesome," she says, standing in the living room of Tampa General Hospital's new "home away from home."
 
Walin is a volunteer, along with many other former transplant patients, with the National Organization for Transplant Enlightenment, or N.O.T.E. It was founded by Thomas Thrasher, who was Florida's first heart transplant patient when he had his surgery at TGH in 1985.
 
The Columbia Drive residence has three bedrooms with private bathrooms; two living rooms; a kitchen and dining room; and a screened porch. Bedrooms have two beds available for the patient and a family member or caregiver.
 
Rooms to Go donated furniture for the house; Brighthouse is providing a year of cable and Internet service. More than $1 million will fund renovations at this house and a second house at 34 Columbia is from the Tampa General Hospital Foundation. About $40,000 of that is from hospital employees.
 
Renovations on the second transplant house will begin in May.
 
"This is like a miracle for people who need it," says 64-year-old Kathy Gibson, who had a kidney transplant at TGH 14 years ago. "It will be a great gift to everybody."
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Debbie Rinde-Hoffman, Tampa General Hospital; Kathy Gibson and Janet Walin, transplant recipients

Tradition Meets Technology In New Seminole Heights' Library

Bungalow tradition meets modern technology at the new Seminole Heights Branch Library, which is in the midst of a "soft" opening after a nearly one-year construction schedule.
 
The red brick building evokes the history of a neighborhood rich in Craftsman-style bungalows and street grids canopied with grand oak trees. The technology is state-of-the-art and ready for mobile devices with Wi-Fi and plugs for laptops, tablets, IPads and more installed in the base of lamps and on the frames of chairs and tables and ottomans.
 
There are computer stations in clusters and single computers tucked away in quiet corners.
 
"It's been a big accomplishment that we have so much space, so much technology," says Carrie Hurst, the library's branch supervisor.
 
The library, at 4711 Central Ave., replaces a cramped 8,000-square-foot library that dated to the mid-1960s. Residents formed the Seminole Heights Friends of the Library and lobbied for the new 2-story, approximately 22,000-square-foot building.
 
The "arts and craft" design with tall windows, arches, a veranda and second story balcony is the work of FleischmanGarcia Architects. Stain glass art is designed by WRW Studio of Charlotteville, N.Y. A child's portrait hanging on the second floor is by University of Tampa graduate Princess Smith who was named 2013 Emerging Artist of  the Year at the Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts.
 
The total cost of the project, including equipment, design and construction, is just under $7 million.
 
On the ground floor the Friends' group has a bookstore. Patrons can get a drink or snack from vending machines in a cafe area. And community meetings can be held in a 100-seat room that can be divided into two rooms, if needed.
 
Hurst says groups already are booking the space.
 
The main library on the second floor has reference and circulation desks; an "innovation studio" with movable furniture on wheels; offices for staffers; small study and meeting rooms; and a room filled with preservation research materials. The latter will be dedicated to the memory of  the late Steve Gluckman, a local historian and library fund-raiser. 
 
The library serves a unique role in the life of a neighborhood, says Pat Benjamin, president of the Friend's group. "There is home where you work and there is the place where you work," she says. "And the library is the third place. It's just a jewel in the neighborhood. It is for everybody."
 
The grand opening of the library will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on March 17.
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Carrie Hurst, Seminole Heights Branch Library; Pat Benjamin, Friends of the Library

Encore Tampa Breaks Ground On New Tempo

Tempo is the fourth, but possibly not the last apartment building, to have its groundbreaking at Encore, the $425 million mixed-income housing and retail development being built by the Tampa Housing Authority and Banc of America Community Development Corp.
 
The 7-story, 203-unit multifamily apartment community is expected to open in 2015. It joins the Ella, a 160-unit senior apartment building that opened in late 2012 and is fully occupied. The Trio, a 141-unit multifamily apartment building, should open by April. And the Reed, a 158-unit apartment building for seniors, looks to open late this year or early in 2015.
 
All of the construction activity puts the Housing Authority about one year ahead of a schedule set out nearly three years ago. "We wanted to break ground on one building a year," says Leroy Moore, the housing authority's chief operating officer.
 
A fifth apartment building is possible but Moore says construction likely will be held off a couple of years while retail is added to the project's mix.
 
"Hopefully, we'll see demand for retail speed up greatly by the end of the year," says Moore. "We're being very diligent and selective."
 
By then, the Housing Authority expects to have about 300 leased apartments, nearly double the current number. Once fully completed, more than 2,500 people will live at Encore.
 
Moore anticipates an announcement on a grocery store for Encore within about 60 days. 
 
The approximately $43 million Tempo project is a public/private partnership between the Housing Authority and Banc of America Community Development Corp. The architect is Bessolo Design Group and the general contractor is Siltek Group, Inc.
 
Encore replaces the former Central Park Village public housing complex, which was torn down several years ago as part of the city's revitalization efforts north of downtown. The nearly 40 acres between Cass Street and Nebraska Avenue is in a neighborhood founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. Nearby Central Avenue was a black business and entertainment district that thrived until the 1960s and 70s when highway widening projects and urban renewal wiped out most of the area.
 
The musically themed Encore honors the heritage of the neighborhood, where legendary artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway and Billie Holiday often performed in night clubs in the Central Avenue district known as "Harlem South."
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: LeRoy Moore, Tampa Housing Authority

Sears Home Services To Renovate Tampa Heights Community Center

The wrecking ball nearly took a fatal swing at the historical Faith Temple Missionary Baptist Church. But instead a grass-roots movement that began more than three years ago is salvaging the 90-year-old, Gothic revival style church for a better purpose.
 
By summer 2014 the red-brick building should be transformed into a community center and the new home of the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association, which provides neighborhood children with after-school and mentoring programs and summer activities.
 
"I want this to be a place where teenagers will be standing in line to join because its cool," says architect John Tennison, who is co-owner of Atelier Architecture Engineering Construction. He has guided restoration efforts from the beginning, working with hundreds of volunteers every Saturday who put sweat-equity into this community project.
 
Today those efforts will get a major push toward completion from Sears Home Services and Ty Pennington, a DIY (Do It Yourself) expert and former host of the ABC show, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." More than 80 Sears employees, in town for a company convention, will pitch in as Sears and Pennington bring the nationwide "Building Community Together" Initiative to Tampa.
 
Sears also has named February as National Hiring Month and plans to fill 1,000 jobs nationwide.
 
Locally, nonprofit Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay will be a partner with Sears on this day of service, which gets underway at 1 p.m. at the church, located at 602 E. Palm Ave. Rebuilding Together provides repairs, handicapped accessibility and energy efficient upgrades to low-income households free of charge. In addition to work on the community center, three local homes will get needed repairs.
 
"This is a major step," says Lena Young-Green, president of the Junior Civic Association which is an outgrowth of the Tampa Heights Civic Association. She got the church project started in 2010.
 
A completion date is possible by summer, she says. Only four unfunded items remain on the to-do list: a new roof, termite tenting, fencing and some additional electrical work.
 
Sears and Rebuilding Together are the latest in a long list of donors.
 
Among the contributions are a full commercial kitchen from Richard Gonzmart of The Columbia Restaurant Group, door hardware from Assa Abloy, labor from True Blue, computers from MIT Computers and funds from Hillsborough County, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, the University of South Florida's Entrepeneurship Alumni Society, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, PNC Bank and its charitable foundation, and national playground builder, KaBoom!
 
The volunteer effort was in full force Saturday as more than 50 employees from CGM Services: Air Conditioning and Heating worked to install the church's first air conditioning system. The in-kind work and equipment is valued at about $100,000. 
 
"Helping the kids has always mattered to me," says CGM owner Mike Charles, who serves on the Junior Civic Association's board. "This is another historical renovation, one of my favorites."

Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Lena Young-Green, Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association; Mike Charles, CGM Services

Tampa Heights' Home Tour Offers Peek At Ulele Restaurant

Eager for a peek inside the Ulele Restaurant?
 
A ticket to the 13th Annual Tampa Heights Tour of Homes will put you there for a tantalizing behind the curtain view of Tampa's next hot dining spot, opening soon inside the city's historical Water Works building. The approximately $4 million restoration is about two months away from completion.
 
But Richard Gonzmart and The Columbia Restaurant Group are opening Ulele's doors as a special showcase and the final stop on Tampa Heights' home tour. Other stops include nine homes, mostly in the Victorian and Craftsman-bungalow styles; the Tampa Heights Community Garden; and, a historical church being restored as the new home for Tampa Heights Community Center. 
 
The restaurant and Tampa's planned redesign of the adjacent Water Works Park are part of a broader plan to revitalize  the city's first suburb, built in the 1880s on "the heights" above the Hillsborough River. Ulele's menu will feature Native American and multicultural influences.
 
"A few months ago, it was just a shell. Now there is quite a bit there," says Brian Seel, senior project engineer at The Beck Group of Tampa, the project's designer. "It will be really interesting for people to see it close to completion."
 
Seel is the president of the Tampa Heights Civic Association, the tour's sponsor.
 
The tour is from noon to 5 p.m. on Feb. 23. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 the day of the event. The starting point is the historical Faith Temple Missionary Baptist Church at the corner of Palm and Lamar avenues. The church, like the Water Works, is undergoing a restoration to convert the 90-year-old structure into a community center and home base for Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association.
 
A portion of the proceeds from this year's tour will benefit restoration efforts, which are headed toward a summer completion. The association provides after-school, mentoring and summer programs for area children.
 
"That and Water Works mean a lot for our neighborhood," Seel says. "We're very excited for them to open."

Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Brian Seel, Tampa Heights Civic Association

Artist Chosen For Public Art Project At Perry Harvey Sr. Park

Pittsburgh artist James Simon will bring his signature larger-than-life sculptures to a proposed redesign of Perry Harvey Sr. Park, a multiyear project  that will honor Tampa's black community and its musical heritage.
 
His work includes Liberty Avenue Musicians,  three 15-foot musicians installed in historical downtown Pittsburgh. There is also a Chattanooga fiddler in Tennessee, and a 16-foot tall Buckeye Trumpet Man in Cleveland, Ohio, in a former parking lot that is now a plaza and the home of the Buckeye Jazz Festival.
 
Tampa City Council last week approved a $15,000 contract for Simon to design artwork for Perry Harvey Sr. Park's southern gateway. He competed against 160 applicants who submitted proposals to the city's Arts Program Division.
 
In a competitive review where artists' names were kept secret, Simon's art stood out.
 
"He seemed like he got the right feel," says Robin Nigh, the city's arts manager. "We wanted something fun, celebratory, something that driving by had a 'wow' factor and really captured the specialness of the park because it's a landmark opportunity."
 
Simon's submitted design is preliminary. Nigh says the final design likely will be available in March or April.
 
Public art is planned for the park and also for Encore, a $425 million mixed-income housing and retail complex being built by Tampa Housing Authority adjacent to Perry Harvey park.  Encore will replace the former Central Park Village public housing complex which was torn down several years ago.
 
The park and Encore are part of a major effort to revitalize the once-vibrant neighborhood north of downtown once known as the Scrub. The area was founded after the Civil War by freed slaves. It also was the scene of a thriving black business and entertainment district which was decimated in the 1960s and '70s by highway widening projects and urban renewal.
 
Musical legends Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Hank Ballard and James Brown were among those who performed at clubs on Central Avenue.
 
Other artists have been identified for additional public art projects at Perry Harvey. Massachusetts-based artist and filmmaker Rufus Butler Seder submitted a proposal for the park's history walk which will feature notable events and people in the neighborhood's history.  Local muralist Mike Parker is slated for artwork to honor community and national leaders.
 
An artist also is being sought to create a statue of the late Perry Harvey Sr., a civil rights leader and founder of Tampa's first black union, the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1402.

The city currently is seeking photographs or home movies from individuals or institutions regarding Tampa's black neighborhoods including the Central Avenue business district, the Scrub and Dobyville. Images will be used for a public art installation and should be submitted by Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. For information, visit the City of Tampa's website or call 813-274-8531.

Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Robin Nigh, City of Tampa

SkyHouse Channelside Designed For Young Professionals

Developers believe they have the perfect mix for young renters: an upscale high-rise apartment complex located in the Channel District.
 
Atlanta-based Novare Group and Batson-Cook Development Company are going vertical with SkyHouse Channelside, a 23-story, 320-unit apartment building on 12th Street between East Washington and East Whiting streets.
 
The approximately $55 million project is the second in Florida for the development partners, following the November opening of Skyhouse Orlando.
 
Skyhouse Channelside is expected to provide 500 construction jobs and attract more than 400 residents -- mostly young professionals -- to the new urban district along the Tampa Port's waterfront between downtown and historical Ybor City.
 
Apartments will offer one to three bedrooms with floor-to-ceiling glass opening to grand vistas. The "SkyHouse" is on the top floor with a club room, fitness equipment and outdoor plazas featuring a swimming pool, fireplaces, covered outdoor lounges and 360-degree views of the city skyline.
 
"Our mission with SkyHouse is to find places in dynamic cities where 25- to 34-year old singles can, with our developments, experience a great high-rise living experience that fits within their budget," says Jim Borders, Novare Group's president. "Tampa is the main business center along the west coast of Florida and continues to draw young, educated professionals who will enjoy everything SkyHouse has to offer."
 
Novare is familiar with Tampa's urban infill renaissance. The company co-developed the Element on Franklin Street and SkyPoint on Ashley Drive.
 
Downtown and the Channel District are destinations for people seeking an energized, urban living experience with museums, night life, jobs and public transportation. Other high-rise apartments and condominiums, built as the real estate market collapsed several years ago, now are nearly fully occupied.
 
Young people and empty-nesters especially are looking for the "lock-and-leave" life-style of walkable restaurants and entertainment, says Byron Moger, executive director of commerical real estate firm, Cushman & Wakefield.
 
"I think it's very appealing to people who want to live downtown," Moger says. "I think its a genuine lifestyle that has reached critical mass."
 
Harbour Island and Downtown Tampa have potential for more multifamily residential, he says.
 
Another project slated for the Channel District is The Martin at Meridian, a  high-rise, south of Twiggs Street. And downtown may get a residential tower next to the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.
 
SkyHouse residential towers can be found in cities in four states: Florida, Georgia, Texas and North Carolina. In addition to Batson-Cook, Novare is partnering with architectural firm Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart.
 
Wells Fargo is providing construction financing for the project. Steve Gardner and Truett Gardner of Gardner Brewer Martinez-Monfort are local attorneys with the project.
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Jim Borders, Novare Group; Byron Moger, Cushman & Wakefield

Major Donations Fund Arts And Sciences At Berkeley Prep

Berkeley Preparatory School is the benefactor of major donations that will fund the construction of a 75,000-square-foot arts and science building on its Town 'N Country campus.
 
More than $4 million of the total undisclosed amount is a gift from Bob Gries Jr., president of Gries Investment Funds and the former owner of the Tampa Bay Storm arena football team. Other significant donations are from Dan Doyle, Jr, president of  DEX Imaging, and members of Doyle's family.
 
"It's about our children. Our children are our future," says Gries, whose daughter is a student at Berkeley Prep. "I believe this is a very strong statement that Berkeley is a wonderful and outstanding institution. This is an opportunity to take an exceptional school to the next level to become one of the finest educational institutions in the country."
 
School officials say they hope to open the Gries Center for the Arts and Sciences by the start of the 2015-16 school year.  Berkeley Prep is a private school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, and is located at 4811 Kelly Road.
 
Funding for the center is nearly 75 percent complete, says school spokesman Jeremy Canody. The recent donations will provide the center with an endowment fund as well as help with construction, he says.
 
The center will offer state-of-the-art technology and opportunities for students to work independently and in groups. There will be college-level laboratory space, performance studios, an art gallery, recital hall, study areas and meeting areas.
 
"This building will have math, science and arts under the same roof," says Nicole Ackerson, chairwoman of the science department. "I can interact with those departments in a way that I haven't been able to before, and find out where we can collaborate to teach children in new, interdisciplinary ways."
 
The arts and science center is part of a master plan to address future needs of faculty and its 1,300 students. The plan is supported with a $50 million capital campaign, which already has funded the Straz Family Field House and the Berkeley Cafe, a state-of-the-art dining facility. In addition, the funds have paid for campus infrastructure improvements to the Touchton Family Clock Tower and the surrounding Quad.
 
Above and Beyond: The Campaign for Berkeley Preparatory School is the largest fund raising effort in the school's history.

Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Jeremy Canody, Berkeley Prep; Bob Gries, Jr., Gries Investment Funds
726 Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
0
Email
Print
Signup for Email Alerts