Tampa Downtown Partnership focuses on west side of river

The Tampa Downtown Partnership hopped the Hillsborough River to focus on the West River redevelopment project in the latest installment of its monthly Downtown Debriefing series.

A mixed-use development with more than 1,600 residential units, retail, and commercial development is planned on 120 acres bounded by Rome Avenue, Columbus Avenue, the river, and Interstate 275. The development will rise on the former site of North Boulevard Homes, which was Tampa's oldest public housing community.

"It's a mixed-use development that will hopefully breathe some life into that side of the river and make connections to downtown," says Mickey Jacob, the chairman of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, principal of Design Studio at BDG Architects, and moderator of the discussion.

The transformation of the area will go beyond residential and retail construction to include street projects that improve safety and connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists. Already, the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park has gone through a massive $35 million facelift and improvement project, boosting the recreation and quality of life options in the area.

Jacob says the public schools already in the neighborhood, the new retail and employment opportunities, the addition of mixed-income housing and the close proximity to downtown will all help the area go through the same type of redevelopment boom now occurring downtown. 

"We're hopeful that as we get rolling and projects come in, you're going to see a variety of different people who choose to live there," Jacob says.

The panel discussion also included Tampa Housing Authority Sr. VP and Chief Operating Officer Leroy Moore, City of Tampa Urban Planning Coordinator Randy Goers, Keith Greminger, an architect with Kimley-Horn & Associate who was part of the design team for the West River master plan, and Brett Green with the Related Group, the developer of West River.

Read more articles by Christopher Curry.

Chris Curry is a freelance writer living in Clearwater. Chris spent more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter, primarily in Ocala and Gainesville, before moving back home to the Tampa Bay Area. He enjoys our local music scene, great weather, and Florida's wealth of outdoor festivals.

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