Downtown Tampa is in the midst of a metamorphosis. The urban skyline is expanding, new developments are popping up from Port Tampa City to the Heights, and once struggling districts are being revitalized with billions of dollars in investment.
Nowhere is this more apparent than Water Street Tampa, the $3 billion neighborhood taking shape along the waterfront.
Last month, Strategic Property Partners, the development firm behind the Water Street Tampa
project, announced that the long-struggling retail center Channelside Bay Plaza would be rebuilt as Sparkman Wharf
, a mixed-use venue combining loft-style office spaces, outdoor amenities, and dining options -- including 10 of Tampa’s top chefs and restauranteurs. The redevelopment will include 180,000 square feet of office space, 65,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and one acre of park-like outdoor space.
Sparkman Wharf’s food and drinks options will include a dining garden, with street-level food-oriented restaurant concepts packed into repurposed shipping containers, and Fermented Reality
, a German-inspired biergarten.
Casey Cothran, assistant general manager at Fermented Reality, hopes the biergarten’s proximity to Amalie Arena and the Florida Aquarium will make it a go-to destination, “if not just for the fact that we'll have amazing local craft beers, all-natural craft sodas, amazing local wines on tap from Wine Stream … and incredible cold brew tea from TeBella Tea Company.”
SPP's announced tenants for the dining garden include: Foundation Coffee
; Whatever Pops
(popsicles); a "tide-to-table" concept called Boat Run Oyster Company
; Gallito, a taqueria backed by Ferrel Alvarez and Ty Rodriguez, respectively chef and restaurateur for Rooster & the Till
; BT-in-a-Box to be operated by local Chef and restaurateur BT Nguyen of Restaurant -BT
; Montados, and a Spanish tapas concept by Mise en Place
’s Maryann Ferenc and Chef Marty Blitz.
Alongside the food and dining, Sparkman Wharf will also include a recreational lawn, stage, and large LED screen for concerts and screenings. SPP has teamed with Gasparilla Music Festival to manage its music program.