New Ybor City apartments, offices, shops designed to fit into historic fabric

Two new apartment plus office space and retail projects sitting at the gateway to Ybor City are designed to meld with the historic fabric of the area, featuring red brick interior and exterior walls and ornate metal work.

Tampa-based DDA Development is set to begin construction at East 7th Avenue and Nuccio Parkway with Casa Marti, a 127-unit apartment complex, which will include 6,500 square feet of street-level retail space.

Next door, Casa Gomez will feature 22,000 square feet of Class A office space and more ground-level retail. Casa Gomez is designed to attract businesses to a spot in close proximity to the trolley line and Interstate 4. It will tout the walkability of the wider community, as well.

The projects are owned by Darryl Shaw, founder and CEO of Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners and a major player in the redevelopment of Ybor City.

“He is working with a number of other people as well, all over Ybor,” says DDA Principal Bowen Arnold. “He’s got so many things going on it’s hard to keep up.” 

Arnold says DDA is predominantly an apartment developer, which is what first attracted the company’s attention to these projects. “And since Casa Gomez is right next door, we decided to take it on, too.” Once complete, he says, the two projects will look like one.

“It’s a really important corner for Ybor and for Darryl,” Arnold says. “These buildings won’t stand out and scream ‘new building.’ The idea is to have some overall consistency” in the historic district. 

The Barrio Latino Commission for the City of Tampa has very strict architectural requirements and these buildings were approved to meet those requirements, Arnold says.

The project names celebrate the history of Cuban Patriot Juan Gualberto Gomez and José Martí, regarded as the George Washington of Cuba, who spent time in Ybor City in the 1890s, according to a news release. It was in Ybor that Marti carried out successful writing and fund-raising campaigns that fueled Cuba's war of independence from Spain.

First Florida Building Corporation will be the general contractor for Casa Marti and EWI Construction is the general contractor for Casa Gomez.

Construction time for Casa Gomez is expected to be about 12 months and the build for Casa Marti should take about 14 months, Arnold estimates. Shaw expects to begin leasing the apartments by the fourth quarter of 2022. Casa Gomez is already leasing and should be complete by the third quarter of 2022.

Lisa Coulter of JLL is leading the office and retail leasing on both projects. For more leasing information contact Coulter at (813) 387-1319 or by email.
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Read more articles by Yvette C. Hammett.

Yvette C. Hammett, a native Floridian and a graduate of the University of Florida, has spent much of her career as a professional journalist covering business, the environment, and local features throughout the Tampa Bay Area. She is an avid camper and outdoors person who has also been involved in local events for foster children and the elderly.