Ybor area townhomes project builds on Gas Worx momentum

Gas Worx is only in its first phase of construction and the 50-acre mixed-use project has already sparked additional redevelopment in the Ybor City area.

Two Ybor City firms, developer and project lead Sight Development and contractor Ellison Construction, have broken ground on Canvas GWX, a 79-unit townhome community on East Kay Street, just outside the boundary of Gas Worx. Canvas GWX will feature 2,100 to 2,400 square-foot townhomes with rooftop terraces and community greenspace. Prices will start at $735,000. Eighteen units are already under contract.

The project partners describe the “industrial chic” design by Curts Gaines Hall Jones Architects as a nod and a tribute to the historic warehouses and cigar factories of Ybor that have been converted into artist studios and lofts.

“The design leans into the Ybor City heritage, but it’s also contemporary,” says Ellison Construction President Cory Ellison. 

Cory Ellison says Canvas GWX shows that Gas Worx, Ybor City developer Darryl Shaw’s vision to remake 50 acres of vacant and older industrial properties between the Ybor Historic District and the Channel District into a vibrant mixed-use community, is already a catalyst for additional investment and projects. Set to open in 2024, the first phase of Gas Worx includes 317 apartments and 2,500 square feet of retail space. At build-out, Gas Worx is planned to have nearly 5,000 residences, more than 500,000 square feet of office space and more than 140,000 square feet of new retail. Plans include more than 300 units of affordable housing. 

Canvas GWX also shows that Sight Development and Ellison Construction, which both have their offices in Ybor City, are “all in on Ybor," Cory Ellison says. Sight Development’s portfolio of apartment and townhome communities in Tampa Bay includes Lector 85 in Ybor. The firm also plans to move its offices to a commercial building along Nebraska Avenue that will be renovated as part of the Canvas GWX project. Ellison Construction, AIA Florida’s “Builder of the Year” in 2021, has been part of major Tampa projects such as Sparkman Wharf, Armature Works, the Oxford Exchange and, in Ybor, Hotel Haya.

Ellison recently topped out the five-story Casa Gómez office and retail building in Ybor City and started interior build-out. In addition to multiple Ybor area projects in pre-construction or construction, Ellison is also part of a team that recently purchased the renovated cigar factory at 2000 E. 11th Ave. where Wise, formerly TransferWise, has its offices.

“Ybor is definitely a special place,” Cory Ellison says. “It’s a neighborhood. It feels like a neighborhood. It has its own identity. Ybor’s a very authentic place. It feels like Ybor City; it doesn’t feel like anywhere else. It’s not contrived. It’s not just new development to the point they are trying to create an identity. The identity’s here.”

For more information, go to Canvas GWX.
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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.