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Tampa Resident Plans First Handicap-Friendly Dog Park, Seminole Heights

A local resident is working toward building Tampa's first handicap-friendly dog park.

Located on the western side of Henry and Ola Park at 502 West Henry Ave., the Seminole Heights Dog Park is slated to feature a large green space for pups to enjoy without the restraints of a leash, including water fountains, handicap-accessible cement pathways and various activities.

“Seminole Heights has a strong history and we deserve the same -- if not better -- amenities that we find in other parts of Tampa,” says Seminole Heights Dog Park Founder Mauricio Rosas.

According to Rosas, the park will become the City of Tampa's first handicap-friendly dog park and will be dedicated to service animals, as well as first responder K9s who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Rosas, who lives with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and has an 8-year-old service dog named Roscoe, decided to present the Seminole Heights Dog Park idea to the City of Tampa Park and Recreations Department because he thought Seminole Heights was lacking public green spaces for both dogs and their owners to enjoy; a main focus for Rosas was that dogs needed to be able to enjoy being outside, free from leashes.

“Service dogs can pretty much go in and out of anywhere and, if they're training, have free rein in public parks,” he says. “I think other dogs need to have the same opportunity as Roscoe. This project is about the community.”

Already backed by an extensive list of local sponsors including Dallas 1 Construction and Development, Seminole Heights Foundation, Courteous Canine, Ginger Snips Beauty Salon and Spa, Health Mutt, Phoenix Glass Studio, Forever Beautiful Salon and Wine Spa and Mickey's Cafe and Bakery, Rosas is looking for 16 businesses that can raise approximately $2,500 each to cover the initial $38,000 in project costs, which is expected to see completion within one year.

A fundraiser for the park will be held on May 5th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Courteous Canine's main campus in Lutz at 3414 Melissa Country Way. The event is expected to feature Taco Bus, a local mobile grooming truck, free dog training advice and agility courses. For more information on how to volunteer or become involved with Seminole Heights Dog Park, visit the official Facebook page.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Mauricio Rosas, Seminole Heights Dog Park

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

St. Pete's Kahwa Coffee Moves Headquarters, St. Pete

Operating some of the Tampa Bay region's most beloved coffee shops, Kahwa Coffee is moving and expanding its headquarters to Joe's Creek Industrial Park in north St. Petersburg.

Located at 4125 8th Ave. S. in St. Pete for the past seven years, Kahwa opened the doors to its first downtown St. Pete location in 2008. Now, the company has plans to move out of their current 3,000-square-foot space, expanding their wholesale division through working with local distributor Tampa Beverage Solutions.

With five Kahwa retail locations in the Tampa Bay area, including two in downtown Tampa and three in St. Pete, Kahwa's 5,000-square-foot space at Joe's Creek Industrial Park, at 4350 28th St. N., will add three new positions with more to come, according to Kahwa Co-Owner Sarah Perrier.

"We have outgrown our current location on all fronts and are preparing for an aggressive growth in the retail sector in the Tampa Bay area in the next year," Perrier says.

Plans for Kahwa's new space include larger company offices, more warehouse space for roasting and production and a new barista training facility.

Featuring 1.6 million square feet of industrial space, Joe's Creek Industrial Park is one of the largest industrial parks in the Tampa Bay region. Kahwa will be joining a wide variety of businesses such as Gemaire, Custom Manufacturing and Engineering, Gorman Plumbing, Chromatech Digital, Wrightway Medical, Kane's and Pepsi.

This is Joe's Creek's second recent deal, with the industrial park represented by Grady Pridgen Realty's David Kramer.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Sarah Perrier, Kahwa Coffee

Business Owners Looking To Improve Dog Parks, Davis Islands

Two local Tampa Bay business owners and Davis Islands residents have teamed up to keep island dog owners and visitors happy and healthy, creating Friends of Davis Islands Dog Parks through the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Program.

Assisting City of Tampa Parks and Recreation in maintaining and improving both the Davis Islands Dog Beach and Dog Park, Carolyn Bigley of Davis Islands Pet Care and Jenn Fadal of Wag Natural Pet Market and Bathhouse formed the not-for-profit Friends of Davis Islands Dog Parks as an on-going, long-term community effort in partnership with Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc.

Bigley and Fadal's new organization will work to raise funds and encourage volunteerism in an attempt to help create, maintain and improve off-leash waterfront dog parks; promote responsible pet ownership and environmental protection through community outreach and events; and create an environment where dog owners follow good “dog park etiquette.”

“Residents, veterinarians, dog trainers and behaviorists have mixed feelings about dog parks, but in my opinion, they are necessary. Most behavioral problems in dogs are largely due to a lack of exercise -- dogs cannot be leashed all of the time. They need to be able to run free and socialize and these parks give them the opportunity to do so,” Bigley says.

Adding that most dog parks end up having challenges, she says Davis Islands' public dog spaces are no different.

“Irresponsible pet owners not picking up poop is the number one issue, especially at the Dog Beach so close to the Tampa Bay,” she says. “Reports of dogs being dumped at the parks and an overall general disregard and respect for the park has made many islanders no longer use the parks, especially on the weekends.”

Bigley and Fadal are looking to change that, believing care for the parks has slowly declined over the years. Bigley says dog parks should benefit the community by providing a safe, clean area for dogs to be off the leash.

But in just the past few months, many improvements have already been made to the Davis Island Dog Park, thanks to John Allen and Earl Olson of Tampa Parks and Recreation: Fences have been repaired and painted and kiosks and benches have been fixed and are being maintained.

One of Friends' first fund-raising projects will be to create a memorial plaque wall where folks can purchase a plaque in memory of a lost pet. Plans for a memorial garden are also in the works.

“Friends started as a simple idea of making the parks cleaner, fixing up a few things and just beautifying them a bit, but its mission has become much more than that," Bigley says. "We encourage residents to get involved.”

To become a sponsor or to learn more about getting involved with Friends of Davis Islands Dog Parks, including weekly and monthly clean-ups, visit the official website and Facebook page.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Carolyn Bigley & Jenn Fadal, Friends of Davis Islands Dog Parks

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

South Tampa Independent Bookstore Attracts New Owner

As of Monday, April 1st, South Tampa's Inkwood Books has changed hands.

Opened 21 years ago, the locally owned bookstore has been satisfying the needs of Tampa Bay area book lovers long before the arrival of chain stores, online competitors and the e-book craze -- and now founders Carla Jimenez and Leslie Reiner are saying goodbye, welcoming long-time customer Stefani Beddingfield.

Situated inside of a small renovated bungalow at 216 S. Armenia Ave., Inkwood Books will keep the same name and location, continuing business as Tampa's only locally owned independent bookstore exclusively selling new books. Beddingfield says she will continue many of Inkwood's regular services and events, but has plans to spice things up with some new to-be-announced ideas.

“I am grateful to Leslie and Carla for this next chapter in my life and look forward to promoting Inkwood's passion for books, reading and community,” says Beddingfield, who has already made her local mark by starting the Freedom Playground Foundation.

In 2012, Jimenez and Reiner began quietly looking for the right person to sell the store to and were delighted to find an enthusiastic, long-time customer like Beddingfield to continue Inkwood's success; in addition to being an avid Inkwood's customer and event attendee, Beddingfield attended American Bookseller's Association Prospective Booksellers School.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to pass forward a vibrant, healthy bookstore to Stefani,” Jimenez says. “We are confident the new Inkwood will take care of our devoted patrons, as well as the new customers attracted by the fresh,  admittedly younger steward.”

Reiner plans to remain engaged in the local literary scene and will continue working part-time at Inkwood, along with booksellers Amanda, Lindsay and Christian.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Stefani Beddingfield, Inkwood Books; Carla Jimenez & Leslie Reiner

Tampa's "Bright Lights" Initiatve Shines On Sulphur Springs

Fulfilling Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's promise to complete a citywide lighting inventory, the first street lights as part of the “Bright Lights, Safe Nights” initiative have been installed.

Buckhorn, joined by Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas, cut the ribbon to streetlights installed in Sulphur Springs -- the first neighborhood to receive new lights. In total, 127 new lights have been installed in the Sulphur Springs neighborhood thus far.

“A well-lit city is a safer city,” says Buckhorn. “We’re illuminating streets across this city that are dangerous for motorists and pedestrians and the dark corners where criminals can hide.”

Dedicating $2.2 million over the next five years to this initiative, the City of Tampa will work with TECO to add approximately 8,400 new street lights to the city's overall grid, ultimately expanding the current street light network by 30 percent.

Plans call for the lights to be placed throughout Tampa, focusing on Community Redevelopment Areas and zones with high crime or crash rates.

“We've been lighting Tampa for 114 years and we look forward to doing our part to meet the mayor's goal,” Gillette says.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, early-morning and nighttime crashes can be reduced by about 35 percent with additional streetlights while two research projects by the Institute of Criminology at the United Kingdom's  University of Cambridge in 2005 found that documented crimes decreased up to 45 percent with the financial savings from reduced crimes exceeding the cost of lighting by up to 10 times.

Sulhpur Springs -- also the target for revitalization through the City's Nehemiah Project, which will demolish more than 50 abandoned, uninhabitable homes in the area -- is only the first neighborhood of many that will benefit from the “Bright Lights, Safe Nights” initiative.

The Jackson Heights neighborhood is slated as next to receive new street lights.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Bob Buckhorn, City of Tampa & Gordon Gillette, Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas

Making Hillsborough Avenue Walkable, Bikeable In Tampa

Think Hillsborough Avenue could use some road improvements? The Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) wants your input.

During a recent Crash Severity Reduction Study, the Hillsborough MPO analyzed county corridors, roadways and intersections with high crash rates, ultimately identifying a few areas that needed to be further studied, including Dale Mabry Highway and Waters Avenue, Waters Avenue and Hanley Road, nearly all of Fowler Avenue and East Hillsborough Avenue from I-275 to 50th Street.

"We did this overall crash analysis of the county and found that East Hillsborough Avenue could definitely use some help,'' says Gena Torres, project manager for the Hillsborough MPO. "There are some things we can do for cars, cyclists and people walking -- things that have been done across the country that need to be brought to Florida.''

Titled the East Hillsborough Avenue Corridor Project, the project will ultimately make traffic better and reduce crashes, says Torres. For example, after a lane was taken away to add bike lanes and bus pullovers on Nebraska Avenue, traffic slowed and crash rates dropped by up to 70 percent.

"Both traffic and crashes are a real problem here, in both the county and the state -- it's just not a good situation,'' Torres says. "We're trying to come up with inexpensive ways to ease traffic.''

According to Torres, this particular section of the road has been studied by many different agencies for different reasons: HART is looking to put in one of their new MetroRapid systems, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) recently installed new medians and the East Tampa Redevelopment is looking to do some work to make the lower-income, high-minority East Tampa community a more vibrant place to live, work and play.

"Whether residents walk, bicycle or are dependent on transit, someone in the community does these things and we need to be concerned about making Hillsborough Avenue a better road for everyone to use,'' Torres says. "Residents should be concerned.''

What will make East Hillsborough Avenue safer, walkable and bikeable? Lighting? Diverting traffic? Making space for on-street parking, buses and trees? Your thoughts will help determine the outcome of what the MPO presents to the FDOT for implementation. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 30th, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Ragan Park Community Center at 1200 E. Lake Ave.

"We really need to determine the goals and objectives of the community and I think people have some really good thoughts that we won't be able to think of.''

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Gena Torres, Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization

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

New Home Interior Design Store Coming To Sarasota

Downtown Sarasota will soon have a new home interior design store.

Featuring 2,200 square feet of elegant, uncommon and artisan home furnishings for local beach and waterfront resort homes in Sarasota, Pecky will become an addition to the Starbucks and Whole Foods development located on 100 Central Ave. in Sarasota. A a grand opening and open house will be held on April 3rd and 4th.

“Our recovered lumber business of cypress, black cypress, pecky cypress and heart pine was an instigator of the store's formation,” says Owner Patricia Estes, who operates the store along with her husband, Peter. Pecky cypress wood will be seen throughout the store, recovered by Estes Recovered Lumber.

Offering an abundance of classic, liveable wood furniture; wall and ceiling applications; and linen sofas and chairs, Estes says Pecky's new showroom will offer several lines of home furnishings new to Sarasota and the surrounding area.

“If you are looking for an upscale, relaxed, quality, earth-friendly feeling for your beach abode, Pecky is where you want to start,” Estes says. “The store will hopefully fulfill an element of quality and design-driven décor for our lovely community.”

Pecky will focus on artisan products sourced throughout the United States and will offer home interior services.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Patricia Estes, Pecky

CoCreativ Opens New Coworking Space In St. Pete

A drop-in workspace for freelancers, entrepreneurs and on-the-go professionals in the Tampa Bay region, CoCreativ will open on Second Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg.

CoCreativ President and CEO Joseph Warren says he plans to redefine the modern workspace, promoting coworking in St. Pete with a cheap, alternative to typical makeshift offices and meeting spaces like Starbucks and Panera.

“Working on the go just got a whole lot easier,” Warren says. “People use makeshift office and meeting spaces because they have no place else to go. CoCreativ provides them with a flexible and professional workspace they can drop into as needed.”

Promoting an energetic and supportive community, CoCreativ's 5,500-square-foot pilot space is on the 12th floor of the Wells Fargo Plaza at 150 2nd Avenue North in downtown St. Pete. The space will feature a lounge area, private meeting room and conference room, as well as several rooms and cubbyholes for “heads down” work. CoCreativ's new space will also include a large multipurpose room for classroom training.

No long-term contracts and unlimited monthly acccess are among some of CoCreativ's features. Members simply drop in, plug in and begin working.

“Coworking spaces already exist in Tampa at places like Oxford Exchange, CoWork Tampa and FirstWaVE Venture Center, but up until now, St. Pete did not have a coworking space to call its own,” Warren says. “With all of the amenities that today's mobile professionals desire, such as great restaurants, cafes, nightlife and cultural variety, downtown St. Pete is the perfect place to launch our concept.”

CoCreativ will officially open the doors to a temporary location at the Wells Fargo Plaza on March 18th with plans to move to a larger, ground floor space in the near future; a pre-launch party and open house will be held on March 15th from 5:00 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“Coworking is being driven by a growing and more cohesive tech ecosystem that is quickly gaining national attention as a great place for start ups to launch,” Warren says. “We think we have a pretty solid understanding of our customers' needs and desires. Heck, we're part of our own target market for CoCreativ -- we designed this space for us too!”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Joseph Warren, CoCreativ
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