Luxury condos downtown, office space in Westshore continue Tampa's development boom

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor likes to say the city’s official bird should be the crane because of all the construction cranes that fill the skyline.

As Tampa’s building boom continues, back-to-back development forums put on by the Westshore Alliance and Tampa Downtown Partnership showcased recent and upcoming projects and delved into market trends for a city TIME magazine recently named as one of the "World's Greatest Places" for 2023 because of assets like Water Street Tampa, the Tampa Riverwalk and Armature Works.

At the Tampa Downtown Partnership’s 27th annual Downtown Development Forum on May 19th, three luxury condominium projects and a recently opened ice cream shop were celebrated as signs that downtown has evolved into a vibrant residential area. 

The 37 luxury condos above a five-star hotel at The Residences at The Tampa EDITION in Water Street Tampa; the 207 luxury units now under construction above a five-star hotel at The Pendry Residences on the Riverwalk; and ONE Tampa, the 42-story, 225-unit luxury condo tower slated to start construction toward the end of this year on North Ashley Drive, are the first significant luxury condo projects in downtown in approximately 15 years.

When ONE Tampa opens, residents will have amenities such as a private bar, an F1 racing simulator, a movie theater and a commercial kitchen. ONE Tampa developer Kolter Urban’s portfolio of luxury residential towers in the Tampa Bay area includes Hyde Park House in Tampa, along with One St. Petersburg, Art House and Saltaire in St. Pete. Brian Van Slyke, the regional President of Kolter Urban Florida West Coast, says the firm decided to build in downtown after seeing how Armature Works, the Riverwalk and Water Street “sparked Tampa into that next level of livability.”

Sweet Mama’s

In addition to high rises, downtown continues to attract small businesses. Sweet Mama’s Ice Cream opened at 905 N. Tampa St. in April, another step on the unique entrepreneurial journey of the shop’s owner Akwi Njoh.

After graduating from the University of South Florida in 2020, Njoh decided to open an ice cream shop even though her degree in public health “has nothing to do with ice cream or business.” But her favorite job was working in an ice cream shop in high school and then as a college freshman. At first, Njoh looked for a location in West Tampa. Then, she went mobile with a food truck, building a customer following. Eventually, with the help of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, Sweet Mama’s opened a temporary location in Lykes Gaslight Park. Now, her shop, which sells ice cream and desserts, has a storefront of its own.

“Downtown was part of the plan but how we got there was really amazing,” Njoh says.

 Encore district

Encore, the mixed-use, mixed-income redevelopment district the Tampa Housing Authority has developed in phases on the downtown site where the Central Park Village public housing development once stood, is slated for some private investment. 

Five lots in the Encore district have been set aside for private development, with planned additions that include mixed-income apartments, market-rate apartments, a hotel, retail and a grocery store. Miami-based LD&D has purchased two acres from the Housing Authority with plans to develop a 28-story luxury apartment building with 369 units and more than 45,000 square feet of amenity space. Plans also include a 178-room hotel, 32,500 square feet of ground-floor retail and a 586-space parking structure.


Bustling mixed-use districts are often described as providing a “live, work, play” lifestyle. Speaking at the Westshore Alliance’s annual development forum on March 18th, Darron Kattan, of commercial real estate firm Franklin Street, says the Westshore District has the work part of that equation “down to a science.” As for the "live" and "play" pieces, they are works in progress.

With 13.2 million square feet of commercial office space, Westshore is the largest suburban commercial real estate submarket in Florida. In recent years, Fisher Asset Management, Maxim Healthcare Services, Morgan Stanley, Delta Airlines and Banyan Health Systems are a few of the large firms that have leased or subleased office space in Westshore.

High-end electric car company Rivian Automotive has leased space and cannabis company FLUENT recently moved its U.S. headquarters from Miami to Westshore, with plans to add 30 jobs over the next four months.

Commercial office development in recent years includes the 152,000-square-foot Midtown West, which is 97 percent filled, and SkyOne Center at Tampa International Airport, which is at 99 percent capacity.

Future office development in the works includes the 430,000-square-foot Midtown East office center and the 200,000-square-foot SkyCenter Two, which will build on Tampa International Airport’s long-standing status as an economic engine in the Westshore District.

Aside from the corporate office space, TIA has added 19 new nonstop destinations since the pandemic. The nonstop service to London Heathrow added in late 2022 is estimated to have an annual economic impact of nearly $247 million through visitors, payroll and taxes. Amid the success and growth, expansion plans are in the works. Construction on a brand new terminal is slated to start in 2024, with completion in 2027.

As for residential development in the Westshore District, Novel Beach Park and Novel Independence Park are both currently under construction. They will add a combined 566 units when complete. Proposed and planned projects include Residential at MetWest International, 1515 Westshore, the proposed mixed-use redevelopment of Westshore Plaza, Alexan Westshore and Watermark Eleven. Combined, those five projects would add more than 1,700 residential units.

For more information, go to Tampa Downtown Partnership and Westshore Alliance.
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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.