New apartments transform Westshore area into more livable community

The Westshore neighborhood in Tampa is seeing a huge influx of attractive new housing options thanks to developers who are turning existing properties into chic and trendy new apartment communities.

The Westshore district -- particularly between Westshore Mall and International Plaza, and Rocky Point and West Tampa -- is still widely touted as Florida’s largest office community, boasting 12.75 million square feet of office space, some 4,000 businesses and nearly 100,000 employees. But proponents of the community are shedding Westshore’s longstanding business-first persona and are helping bring in a diverse array of new developments, including restaurants, shopping plazas, and entertainment venues, persuading singles, young couples, families, and retirees to put roots down in the area. 

The phenomenal growth of the Westshore area has much to do with a continued drive among many people and businesses to build integrated communities closer to the urban core. 

“It speaks to the vibrancy of Westshore as a true live, work, play district and mirrors the trends we see nationally,” says Ann Kulig, Executive Director of the Westshore Alliance. “More and more people want to live in vibrant urban districts with access to jobs and a variety of things to do outside of office hours. 

“Westshore residents can experience great restaurants and shopping, catch a Bucs or Yankees game, and attend concerts and music festivals all in their backyard.” 

Other improvements in the Westshore area include pedestrian-friendly amenities, such as wider sidewalks, shade canopies, parks and other public spaces. “One of our top priorities is transforming West Shore Boulevard into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly ‘grand boulevard’ from Kennedy Boulevard north to Spruce Street,” Kulig says. “Progress is being made, including the city’s recent completion of a bike path from West Shore Boulevard to Cypress Point Park and the wildly popular Courtney Campbell Trail,” she adds. “There is much work to do, and we continue working with local and state agencies to help ensure priority walk-bike transportation projects come to fruition.’’ 

These new additions to the Westshore area are helping the neighborhood become one of the most dynamic regions in the Tampa Bay area. It’s therefore little surprise that much of the construction activity in the Westshore area these days centers on new residential communities. Three of the latest housing developments to break ground in the Westshore area are the communities of Crescent Westshore, Grady Square and Seazen. Here’s a look at what these apartment communities will offer their new residents. 

Crescent Westshore Apartments
2202 North Lois Avenue Tampa, Florida 33607

This new apartment community near the southwest corner of Lois Avenue and International Drive is still under development, yet the first building, which was just completed, has already drawn nearly 100 leases. 

“We are putting the finishing touches on the remaining residences over the next 60 days,” says Crescent Communities Director of Marketing Ben Watt. “We’re extremely proud of how this community is shaping up and thrilled with our early leasing results.” 

The Crescent Westshore Apartments range in size from 528 square feet up to 1,431 square feet and include everything from quaint studio apartments to sprawling floor plans encompassing three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Prices presently range from $1,215 per month to $2,475. 

In addition to a diverse array of layout options, the community includes a variety of amenities. 

“Our residents are particularly impressed with the two-story clubhouse with outdoor elevated terrace, two saltwater resort-style pools, three community courtyards, a shared indoor/outdoor summer kitchen, dog run, community lounge with Wi-Fi, and glass-enclosed conference room,” Watt remarks. 

While many lifestyle amenities are ensconced within the apartment community, Crescent Westshore is well integrated with its surrounding neighborhood. 

“Community integration is a huge point of pride for us,” says Watt. “Our proximity to local business and retail establishments are what attracted us to pursue the site.” 

Crescent Westshore is just steps from several dozen major businesses and restaurants, three blocks east of International Plaza and Bay Street, and a short bike ride from the prominent Westshore establishments along North Dale Mabry Highway, Boy Scout Boulevard, West Shore Boulevard and Kennedy Boulevard. 

To add some visual flavor to the Crescent Westshore development, the community commissioned a 10,000-pound, 18-foot sculpture at the front of the property. “[It] creates a landmark sense of place that adds to the Westshore neighborhood and overall Tampa art scene.” 

Grady Square 
2615 North Grady Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33617

Located just steps from the intersection of Boy Scout Boulevard and Jim Walter Boulevard is Grady Square, a community of four-story apartment clusters within an active, lifestyle-oriented community. The development is still under construction, but when it is completed sometime around December 1, 2016, it will boast 14 different floor plan options ranging from 574-square-foot urban loft-style studio apartments to 1,278-square-foot layouts featuring three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Rents will range from $1,290 to $2,209 per month. 

For Grady Square, the appeal to future residents is not just in its various apartment floor plan options but also the community’s amenities and proximity to local businesses, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment options. 

“The Westshore community is very desirable right now, and we’re close to International Plaza, SunTrust bank, fine restaurants, and major highways and intersections,” says Grady Square Signature Lifestyle Specialist Lamor Royes. 

Grady Square is offering an array of amenities that residents desire in high-end communities, including a two-level clubhouse, lush garden courtyards, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a business center and conference room, gourmet coffee bar, Zen meditation room, juice bar, and resort-style pool with cabanas. 

“We are walkable to major restaurants in the area, we will have a dog park, and a retention pond in front of the property, which will make the community very appealing to prospects and set us apart,” says Royes. 

“Grady Square in most cases is comparable to most of the surrounding communities when it comes to some of the amenities,” Royes remarks. “What sets us apart from other communities is that we are not a cookie-cutter apartment community,” he says. “Each apartment home will have its own unique style and floor plan.” 

Rocky Point 
Tampa, Florida 33607

The long-awaited Seazen apartment community will soon begin rising in Rocky Point over the waters of Tampa Bay. ZOM Florida is building the 323-unit multifamily apartment community on the site of the former Chart House restaurant on the Tampa side of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. 

What will help Seazen stand out among other apartments in the Westshore area? 

“Exceptional waterfront location with expansive views of and direct access to the bay,” says ZOM Florida Senior Development Manager Brett J. Gelsomino. “Leasing will begin in early 2018 with completion in mid 2018.” 

While Seazen will not begin accepting new leases for some time, there are a few details that have already been confirmed for the new waterfront apartment community. The community will sit on 4.7 acres and include 750 linear feet of waterfront. Plans filed with the City of Tampa indicate the community will consist of three six-story buildings and a boat dock. Residents, guests and prospective tenants will park in a five-story parking garage -- a necessary addition in the densely developed community of Rocky Point, which includes several multi-story office buildings. Seazen will be situated adjacent to two of Rocky Point’s most luxurious office towers, including Island Center and Waterford Plaza. 

Seazen will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 647 square feet to 1,669 square feet. Each of the apartments will offer high-end amenities, including quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, walk-in closets and private patios. The community will also offer a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse, fitness center, two resort-style pools, pet salon, dog park and a waterfront amenity center offering use of kayaks and paddleboards. 

More residential development coming to Westshore 

Kulig at the Westshore Alliance says the residential development springing up in every pocket of the community her organization serves is part of a larger trend. 

“By the end of this year, there will be nearly 6,000 apartments and condos in Westshore, and more than half of those have opened in the last seven years,” she says. “But it’s not just apartments -- there has been a surge of new construction and renovation of single-family homes and townhomes in Westshore’s established neighborhoods, including Westshore Palms, Carver City, Lincoln Gardens and North Bon Air.” 

The vivacious residential scene in Westshore is drawing huge numbers of people to the community. 

“According to the Hillsborough County Planning Commission, the current Westshore residential population is approximately 15,000,” Kulig says. “The population in the year 2020 is anticipated to be 19,207, and to nearly double to 38,300 by 2040.”
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Read more articles by Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez.

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez is a freelance writer who was born and raised in Tampa. He earned his BA in English from the University of South Florida and spent more than three years as a full-time copywriter for a local internet marketing firm before striking out on his own to write for various blogs and periodicals, including TheFunTimesGuide, CoinValue and COINage magazine. He has also authored local history books, including Images of America: Tampa's Carrollwood and Images of Modern America: Tampa Bay Landmarks and Destinations, which are two titles produced by Arcadia Publishing.