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Liberty Group to build new hotel in Channel District

Liberty Group CEO Punit Shah plans to build a new hotel containing Hampton Inn and Home2Suites on the same piece of property in downtown Tampa's Channel District. 

“The reason I love dual-branded properties is there are just so many efficiencies associated with them, both in the design and the operation,” Shah tells the Business Observer. “There’s one front desk, there’s one pool, and other amenities are shared. And we’ve found that the two different brands often appeal to two different customers.”

Read the complete story.
 

Art Snax: The Urban Conga lecture, and other art events on local menu

As an award-winning design and architecture firm, The Urban Conga is serious about fun and gathering people together to interact in real time. On Jan. 9, founder and executive direction Ryan Swanson will be presenting “Playable Cities” as a free event in part of the USF School of Architecture & Community Design’s Spring 2018 lecture series.
 
“Play is a strong activity where people break barriers and engage with people they wouldn’t normally interact with. When we think of city development, we think about creating buildings and parking, but we forget about how a person travels through this space. There are these really great community gathering spots, but people are still disconnected so we ask how we can get people to interact with one another. We think of it as place-making through play-making,” Swanson says.
 
The lecture will in part be an overview of who The Urban Conga is and what they do, but also digging into how they accomplish their projects. As a graduate of the USF School of Architecture, Swanson will be discussing the potential of “play” to be a game-changer for urban planning in the future.
 
The responses to Urban Conga’s projects have been energetic, but sometimes cities question it at first … until thousands of people show up the week their project is installed. Because of this initial doubt from municipalities, they have been working with the British Council to develop qualitative and quantitative studies to see how their work affects cities, from personal experiences to the traffic and revenue it can create.
 
“We’re looking at things that already exist in the public realm and architecture, and take it one step further. It’s the idea of how play can be used in everyday spaces. It’s not just about kid’s playgrounds, but it could also be sidewalks, alleyways, or benches that act as platforms for community activity and allow people to escape their monotonous routine,” Swanson explains.
 
Other art events coming up:
 
  • CASS presents ''Naughty by Nature'' at its satellite gallery, the Epicurean Hotel, on Jan. 12. Featuring new watercolors by Jason Pulgarin, his street art aesthetic -- inspired by cartoons, fashion, and graffiti -- is captured in works on paper.
  • On Jan. 12, join artists Javier Castro, Yunior Aguiar Perdomo of Celia y Yunior, and Glexis Novoa at the USF CAM for a lively discussion surrounding art, politics, and the environment during the exhibition reception for ''Climate Change: Cuba/USA.'' The artist talk, moderated by curator Noel Smith, will start at 6 p.m. at the Barness Recital Hall, followed by the exhibition reception from 7-9 p.m.
  • Get on your boogie shoes and get ready to bust a move at Tempus Project’s (NO MEDIA) Dance Party on Jan. 13. Just as the name states: no phones, cameras, or screens to get some real face time with your friends. Just disconnect and dance!
  • Part fashion show, part art party -- you can’t really go wrong with that combination. On Jan. 13, see who’s rocking the runway during ''Cocktails & Couture: Apocalipstick'' at The Ritz Ybor, with designs from Elizabeth Carson Racker Fashion Design Boutique, Halle Elizabeth Couture, Juliet Retro, Kingsland by Kevin Arnett, Sew Addicted, and Spellbound Stitches. Come for the fashion, but stick around for the music and performances. Tickets range from $13-60.
  • Even if you don’t have a yard for a big garden, you can learn how to utilize wall space for planting at the Vertical Garden Workshop: Design and Maintenance hosted by Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association on Jan. 16. But these gardens aren’t just beautiful; they’re also beneficial (who doesn’t want noise reduction and lower A/C costs?) The workshop will be run by Hal Thorne, Debbie Kotalic, and Dan Ballay of GSky Plant Systems, and cost $75 per person ($90 after Jan. 5).
  • The group exhibition "Beyond Tradition: Contemporary Reflections in East Asia,'' featuring works by 8 East Asian artists who explore traditional styles and techniques in a contemporary manner, will exhibit at USF’s Carolyn M. Wilson Gallery from Jan. 17 – Feb. 1. The free lecture, “Embrace or Rebel?,” by Dr. Hyewon Yi surrounding this exhibition will be on Jan. 18 in FAH 101.
  • About once a year, Santaella Studios opens their doors for an art show and open house so the public can see what the artists’ have been up to their unique cigar factory studio spaces. The event will be on Feb. 2, and a portion of the proceeds of this event will go toward Children’s Cancer Center.
  • If you’re into punkish sounds, energetic beats, or experimental drums, you should check out the bands Career, Permanent Makeup, and Sean Hamilton who are lined up to play at CL Space in Ybor on Feb. 9. Adam Roberts’ photography exhibition will provide the backdrop for the concert.

Gasparilla Festival of the Arts gives emerging artists a big opportunity

Getting your footing in the art world can be a struggle for emerging artists, but the Emerging Artist Program at the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts gives a unique opportunity to show work in one of the largest outdoor festivals in the country.
 
“The idea was to encourage artists who were just starting out and didn’t have the portfolio to compete with career art fair artists so they could see what it was like and have a mentoring aspect along the way,” says Ann-Eliza Taylor, Chair of the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts Emerging Artists program.
 
The number of candidates has gone up each year, with 125 submissions last year. This year, they will be selecting 15 artists to show their works. What’s even better is that there is no booth cost to the artist; in fact, selected artists get paid a $250 stipend for show expenses. Additionally, they will provide a tent for the weekend as well as mentoring.
 
“Last year, Libbi Ponce was selected and she did an interested installation piece along with smaller works she sold. Because the emerging artists have the benefit of not having to pay booth fees, they can take more risks. They don’t have to be concerned about making money, but they can use this as a catalyst to apply for other exhibitions and shows. We are really trying to break out of the mold. It doesn’t have to be a traditional art fair booth, so we are really encouraging the artists to be as creative as they want to be,” Taylor says.
 
Not only is the festival a great way to garner collectors and art sales, one of the emerging artists will be selected for the $1,500 Emerging Artist Award by jury.
 
So what exactly qualifies as an emerging artist? As long as you don’t have a professional artist record of exhibiting in museums, art centers, major galleries or juried outdoor art exhibitions and you don’t have more than 25 percent of your total income produced from artwork sales, you are eligible to apply.
 
“For the future of this program, I want to continue to support new artists and would like the program to be more involved with interaction and mentorship throughout they year. As a festival, we are trying to be more involved in the community and do more outside the month of the festival,” Taylor explains.
 
The deadline to apply is Jan. 7. You can find additional information, see the works of previous emerging artists, and get the link to the application (with a small application fee of $10) here.

Water Street Tampa project starts coming out of the ground

Construction work has begun on a new University of South Florida medical school as part of the Water Street Tampa urban design project on downtown Tampa's waterfront.

The USF Health building project is the first in a series that will include shops, office space, a hotel and apartments.

Read the complete story.
 

Hurricane Irma spares Tampa Bay Area compared to other coastal communities in Florida

More than 95 percent of households and businesses had power restored in the Tampa Bay Area within a week of Hurricane Irma's blast across Florida September 9-12.

While serious damage caused by wind and flooding affected many individuals, particularly in low-lying areas along local rivers, the overall impact was much less in the Tampa Bay Area than in other parts of Florida.

Read the complete story.
 

Next for Tampa? Big projects, big problems awaiting solutions

With new apartments, shops and restaurants going up all around Tampa and people moving to Florida at a record pace, what are some of the problems still in search of solutions?

Consider road congestion, sea level rise, aging infrastructure, and so much more.

Read the complete story.
 

Downtown Tampa adds more free electric shuttles

Two new Chevrolet Bolts are now transporting riders around downtown as part of the Tampa Downtowner fleet.

The additions bring the popular fleet to a dozen vehicles helping people get around downtown with ease.

Read the complete story.
 

Tampa Bay Area vulnerability to sea level rise gets more global attention

Florida cities and counties, including those in the Tampa Bay region, are working to address the combined threat of sea level rise, global warming and the potential for hurricanes. Coastal regions such as the Tampa Bay Area are especially vulnerable.

Preparation, land-use regulations and resiliency are key, as outlined in a 2016 series of stories in 83 Degrees. But funding and political will are sometimes lacking -- putting people in low-lying areas at greater risk.

Read the complete story.


 

Water Street Tampa: A new name for downtown Tampa waterfront under development

What's in a name? A whole lot of prospect for the future of downtown Tampa. Strategic Property Partners, the developers of more than 50 acres along the downtown waterfront, lands on a new name for the urban design district that includes a Wellness District and abuts the Channel District.

Welcome to Water Street Tampa. And the innovative thinking behind it.

Read the complete story.
 

From dead zone to destination: Tampa story of transformational change runs along waterfront

Transformational change is often the result of a shared vision, relationships, long-term investments and perseverance. Nowhere is that successful combo better illustrated than in the story of the evolution of Tampa's downtown waterfront.

The story is captured well in Politico Magazine by Tampa Bay Times writer Richard Danielson who takes a look at three decades of progress in the Tampa Bay region's largest city. Whether you have lived through the last 30 years in Tampa or are new to town and curious about the city's history, the story of Tampa's journey offers valuable insights.

Read the complete story.
 

Which Florida city is highest among our nation's rising stars? Tampa!

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn takes a national editor on a tour of the city to showcase its growing reputation as a "magnet for millennials,'' the place where the young and the restless -- and smart people of all ages and abilities -- want to live, work, play and stay.

Tampa's evolving urban lifestyle comes with investment opportunities for the immediate and long-term future.

Read the complete story.


 

Vinik Family Foundation brings popular LEGO exhibit to downtown Tampa

"The Art of the Brick,” a touring exhibition of imaginative Lego creations by Nathan Sawaya that has been attracting crowds around the world for a decade, is coming to downtown Tampa June 23rd to Sept. 4th at 802 E. Whiting St.

The exhibit is being made possible by Penny and Jeff Vinik, local philanthropists, who brought the plastic balls play area called The Beach Tampa to Amalie Arena last summer. "The Art of the Brick'' will be on display at 802 E. Whiting St.

Read the complete story.
 

Profile of vision: Jeff Vinik predicts 30-40 new high-rises in downtown Tampa

Tampa billionaire Jeff Vinik looks out of his sky-high office window and envisions 30-40 more high-rises in the future of downtown Tampa. He and his real estate investment firm, Strategic Property Partners, are developing 53 acres in the city's urban core and anticipate others will follow.

Read the complete story.
 

3 things to encourage startup success? See what Tampa is doing

Tampa is among cities transforming themselves and developing new approaches to age-old urban issues while also creating opportunities for entrepreneurs.

A recent conversation led by Digi.City at the University of Tampa outlined progress and room for growth.

Read the complete story. 
 

City of Tampa seeks proposals for adding shops, restaurants along Tampa Riverwalk in downtown

The City of Tampa recently released a Request for Proposals to solicit interest in developing more dining and retail options downtown. The RFPs apply to The Tampa Riverwalk by Curtis Hixon Park and near the Tampa Convention Center.

“Anyone who has been downtown lately knows how popular it has become as a destination for residents and travelers alike,” says Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “That’s why we’re looking at any and all opportunities to bring Tampanians diverse restaurant and retail choices to the urban core.”
 
Details on the RFP packages are located on the city's website.
65 Downtown Tampa Articles | Page: | Show All
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