AVE Tampa Riverwalk closes in on filling up its retail space

AVE Tampa Riverwalk, the upscale apartment complex on the downtown riverfront, is filling its remaining retail space over the next few months. 

Bare Blends, a cafe and plant-based, vegan, gluten-free smoothie shop, is expected to open in March. For Bare Blends, which started in Saratoga, New York, Tampa is the second Florida location after Sarasota. 

Pacific Counter, the St. Petersburg-based restaurant featuring poke bowls, sushi burritos and boba tea, is slated to open in early March, according to Korman Communities, the Pennsylvania-based national real estate developer behind the AVE brand. Flatbread & Butter, the St. Petersburg cafe and coffeehouse featuring healthy pizzas, baked goods, natural wines, beer and a brunch menu, is also expected to open soon.

After that, AVE Tampa Riverwalk will add to its fitness offerings with the opening of Body Fit Training, or BFT, a science-backed group fitness studio that offers a variety of 50-minute workouts designed by elite athletes. Like Rumble Boxing, which opened in 2023 and offers high-intensity, full-body, boxing-inspired group fitness classes, BFT is part of the California-based Xponential Fitness family of brands.

Korman Communities COO and AVE President Lea Anne Welsh explains the company’s approach to bringing in the right mix of retail.

“At the end of the day, people live in our buildings,” she says. “People choose AVE Tampa Riverwalk as their home. So what amenities will support their lifestyle? We always look at that. How can we enhance our residents’ experience through the retail that is in the footprint of our buildings? And we look at the area. What are the needs of the area that will drive retail traffic to our building and fill a void in the market?”

For AVE Tampa Riverwalk, that nearby area includes the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Welsh says the Melting Pot Social that opened in May 2023 brings in people going to or from a show at the Straz for cocktails, appetizers and small plates.

“It’s been a great anchor for the corner of Ashley (Drive) and Tyler Street and a building block of the retail,” Welsh says.

With Bare Blends, Flatbread & Butter and Pacific Counter, AVE Tampa Riverwalk adds breakfast, coffee and healthy, fresh fare to the mix.

“We really think from the food perspective, we have it covered,” Welsh says.

AVE’s concept is unique among upscale apartments. It includes some furnished short-term apartments rented for a week, a month or longer. Welsh says they cater to someone moving to the area or consultants and other professionals in town temporarily for work.

In 2022, AVE Tampa Riverwalk marked Korman Communities’ entrance to both the Tampa Bay market and Florida. Welsh says they plan to grow their presence.

“We are actively looking to grow AVE on the west coast of Florida,” she says. “We are looking in other neighborhoods of Tampa. We are looking at South Tampa, Brandon and St. Pete. And we are looking down to Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota. We feel the demographics there are so strong for our unique concept."

For more information, go to Korman Communities, Bare Blends, Flatbread and Butter, Pacific Counter and BFT.
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Read more articles by Christopher Curry.

Chris Curry has been a writer for the 83 Degrees Media team since 2017. Chris also served as the development editor for a time before assuming the role of managing editor in May 2022. Chris lives in Clearwater. His professional career includes more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter, primarily in Ocala and Gainesville, before moving back home to the Tampa Bay Area. He enjoys the local music scene, the warm winters and Tampa Bay's abundance of outdoor festivals and events. When he's not working or spending time with family, he can frequently be found hoofing the trails at one of Pinellas County's nature parks.