Theater and performing arts lovers will applaud at the news that the Straz Center in Tampa is set for major redevelopment. The conceptual phase of the master plan was recently unveiled and its contents scrutinized.
Changes to the center, which are being developed and conceptualized by Paul Westlake and Jonathan Kurtz of the architectural firm Westlake Reed Leskosky
, include the creation of a grand terrace that flows to the Hillsborough River, reinventing and enlarging the Silbiger Lobby in Morsani Hall and adding a multi-purpose events center to accommodate growth in food and beverage, education and artistic programming.
So why make the changes now?
“The Straz Center
is approaching its 30th anniversary,” says Judy Lisi, CEO of the Straz Center. “It was the right time to plan for the future of the Straz Center.”
The center, which boasts an average 600,000 visitors annually, has created its master plan to align with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's InVision Tampa plan. The Straz Master Plan will be funded by the Frank E. Duckwall Foundation, and has been approved by the mayor, city officials and the center board.
The project is expected to cost up to $100 million. While it is too early in the planning process to have a completion date, Lisi says the center will stay open during construction.
“Once we have a better handle on funding, then we will have a better idea of scheduling,” Lisi says. “The next step is further refinement of the plan.”