10 projects to watch in 2022 as building boom continues in Tampa

As the building boom continues in Tampa and the surrounding area, several architecturally significant developments in Hillsborough County -- from West Tampa to Ybor City to Plant City -- are worth watching in 2022. 

In the works: 
  • affordable housing for West Tampa,
  • more apartments for the Ybor City area, and
  • a brand new hospital to replace the old one in Plant City.
“The trend is still for people to relocate,” says Jerel McCants, President of American Institute of Architects Tampa Bay. “All that is playing a factor with development on the west coast of Florida.”

Below are 10 development projects listed by the AIA Tampa Bay when asked by 83 Degrees to name the Tampa Bay Area's most architecturally significant projects for 2022. 

West Tampa seeing growth surge

One project that is expected to transform the West Tampa area, and provide affordable housing, is Rome Yard, a $500 million mixed-use development by the Tampa Housing Authority and the Miami-based Related Urban Development Group.

Rome Yard is planned as a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with multiple modes of public transportation, a Workforce Training Center, a Cultural Center, and an Art Pavilion highlighting West Tampa history. In about a year and a half, the Tampa Riverwalk is expected to cut through the property.

Related has made a commitment to hire at least 40 percent minority or women-owned businesses in the construction; that amounts to an estimated $75 million in contracts.

Rome Yard is to include 900-plus apartments and roughly 50 townhomes, which will be available for purchase, says Pete Van Warner, Related’s development manager in Tampa. 

Though the townhomes will be “affordable,” it is too early to provide pricing, he adds.

Construction is expected to begin as early as June at an 18-acre site owned by the city of Tampa west of the Hillsborough River, east of Rome Avenue, south of Columbus Drive and north of Spruce Street in the West Tampa Community Redevelopment Area. The project is expected to take five to seven years to complete.

A virtual community outreach discussion about Rome Yard is planned from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 24. Interested persons can learn more and signup here.

“We’re looking for community feedback -- what kind of amenities, what kind of retail spaces you’d like to see,” Van Warner says.

Related has been busy in the neighborhood. It recently received three certificates of occupancy to begin leasing for the Boulevard at West River, another project being done in partnership with the Tampa Housing Authority, and situated about a half mile away. More apartments are planned at the adjacent Canopy of West River Towers, with opening anticipated in the third quarter of 2023.

Meanwhile AIA Tampa Bay and CA+D, formerly the Tampa Bay Foundation for Architecture and Design, are looking forward to moving into a new home -- the Center for Architecture and Design Tampa Bay -- by April 1. That’s the start of Tampa Bay Design Week, an architecture and design community celebration.

The new center will be in an old space, in 3,000 square feet of an existing historic building dating back to 1906, which originally served as a restaurant for cigar factor workers nearby.

Located on Howard Avenue three blocks from Interstate 275, the center is expected to serve as a hub for architects and the community.

“As an association of architects, we decided to honor the history of the building by making it into our home and our community’s Center for Architecture and Design,” says Peter Hauerstein, past AIA Tampa Bay president, who is providing design services pro-bono. “We will be renovating the building in a way that celebrates the history ... and helps to bring back the original character of the North Howard façade and the interior, which still has the original terrazzo floors and stamped tin ceilings in a portion of the building.”

The project is expected to cost $400,000, with some $120,000 in donated services. Among the donors are Clearwater’s Creative Contractors and Tampa’s Rañon, Inc.

The center will feature a “gallery for art and architecture exhibits, meetings and community events, four offices, a collaboration room where young professionals -- or old -- can find a quiet space to study and a patio that can support larger group gatherings,” Hauerstein says.

The building also will offer WIFI and remote meeting capabilities.

“We are proud to have a home that embraces the architecture and history of the community. The [West Tampa National] historic designation, design, and materials will serve as a showcase and example of how to ‘do it right,’ “ he says.

Three other area projects on the list include:
  • the 500-square-feet JVB Architect office addition at 2401 N. Howard Ave.,
  • the Albany Cigar Flats Apartments and Townhouses at 2111 N. Albany Ave., and
  • a new 18,000-square-foot, build-to-suit office for Barnes Trial Group at 1104 N. Howard Ave.
“West Tampa is seeing a surge in urban infill projects for commercial and residential as development moves north of Kennedy [Boulevard],” notes Joseph Belluccia, principal of JVB Architect LLC, which is working on these AIA-listed projects.

In the Historic West Tampa District, the JVB office is in a 1948 building that was once a social hall and church. Construction is expected to begin in April and be completed in September.

“The building addition is to add more employees to support the increasing workload,” Belluccia says. “JVB anticipates adding a minimum of three employees over the next year.”

A three-story, 30,000-square-foot cigar factory is being converted into the Albany Cigar Flats Apartment and Townhomes. Construction is expected to begin in July and be completed in September 2023, Belluccia says. The project will include 10 townhomes and at least 20 apartments.

Built in 1903, it is part of the Historic West Tampa District.

Construction started last May on the three-story Barnes Trial Group office, and completion is planned in June. The ground floor will offer parking while the two upper floors will be offices. The company currently has offices at 505 S. Magnolia Ave., Tampa.

Projects for the Ybor City area

In mid-2022, construction is expected to begin on a mixed-use development planned on approximately 50 acres at the western edge of Ybor City. The development, expected to take more than 10 years to complete, will add more than 5,000 apartments, according to Graham Tyrrell, Senior VP of Kettler, a multifamily developer, real estate investment, and property management company based in McLean, VA.

Called Gas Worx, the development will create a walkable neighborhood in Tampa’s urban core, providing for pedestrian and bike traffic as well as green space. The first phase is slated for completion in 2024.

“Gas Worx is all about connecting people,” explains Tyrrell, who is partnering with Real Estate Investor Darryl Shaw on the project. “At a higher level, it will connect the surrounding neighborhoods (Central Park/ENCORE!, Channel District, and Ybor) by adding mixed-use density to an otherwise under-utilized area and reinstating a street grid that mirrors the originally platted urban grid of Ybor City.”

The master plan zoning application calls for 4,471 apartments, 510,500 square feet of office space, and 140,200 square feet of retail space. An additional 724 apartments are anticipated in a second application, he notes.

There is flexibility at the site should there be renewed interest in relocating the Tampa Bay Rays from St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field to that site in Ybor.

“Having the Rays in Ybor would be a great addition. The Gas Worx plan could accommodate a ballpark should other locations in the Ybor area not work out,” Tyrrell says.

Also on the AIA list is the $4.5 million beautification/safety improvement project ongoing along a .4-mile stretch of E. Columbus Drive between Nebraska Avenue and 14th Street. The city of Tampa has contracted with Ayres Associates for design and with David Nelson Construction, says Brandie Miklus, who coordinates Tampa’s Infrastructure and Mobility Program.

The project, slated for completion by the end of February, includes reconfiguring the existing two-lane road to provide two 11-foot travel lanes, shared lane pavement markings for bicycles, eight-feet sidewalks with accessibility upgrades, and eight-feet wide inset parking on both sides of the street.

Plans also call for landscaping and tree wells for storm water drainage, she explains. Pedestrians will utilize enhanced crosswalks with pedestrian-activated rectangular rapid flashing beacons.

“This segment of Columbus is one of those that has been recognized not only by the city but the TPO (the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization) as one of our higher priority bike/walk projects,” Miklus notes.

Plant City hospital gets a redo

South Florida Baptist Hospital, which opened on North Alexander Street in 1953, has had 12 major additions. But now land for expansion has run out.

So construction began last October on the new, $326 million South Florida Baptist Hospital less than four miles away. Using the spade from when the hospital first broke ground Dec. 18, 1947, this official groundbreaking celebrated the beginning of the new hospital off Interstate 4 at Exit 22, at 3211 N. Wilder Rd.

Its opening is anticipated in early 2024, hospital officials say.

The new hospital will include 420,000 square feet, up from 250,000 square feet. The building will feature two, six-story towers and include 146 private rooms. There also is room for an additional 30 private rooms in a future expansion.

An 85,000-square-foot medical office is planned on site with physician offices, an outpatient laboratory, imaging, rehabilitation, wound care, infusion services, and administrative offices, officials say.

No disruptions to service are expected during construction. 

South Florida Baptist Hospital joined the BayCare Health System, which includes 15 not-for-profit hospitals throughout the Tampa Bay region, in 1997.

What’s next for Tampa’s downtown

The Tampa Museum of Art is expecting to begin construction this year on a $68 million expansion extending above the Tampa Riverwalk downtown. The four-story, glass-walled amphitheater will increase the museum size from 69,000 to 125,000 square feet.

TMA is working with the New York-based Weiss Manfredi design firm on the project, which will expand exhibition space for collections lasting at least one year.

Read more about the project and what’s going on in the Tampa Bay art scene.

Like Tampa Union Station itself, the train station's Baggage Building in downtown Tampa was built in 1912. It’s getting a $190,000 update this year, with work scheduled to begin in January and be completed by mid-March, says Jackson McQuigg, a board member and volunteer of Friends of Tampa Union Station.

The project is being funded by a $95,000 Hillsborough County Preservation Challenge Grant Program, a bequeath from McQuigg’s late father, John D. McQuigg; the Tom E. Dailey Foundation; Jerel McCants Architecture, which its donating its services; and other contributions.

Interestingly, the estimator for general contractor The Waller Group of Lakeland, Sam Moore, has a personal connection to the station: His late father and stepfather worked for the Railway Express Agency at Tampa Union Station, McQuigg points out. The award was granted through a competitive bid process.

Improvements include windows, air conditioning, and fire protection.

The Baggage Building, along with Tampa Union Station, has Tampa Landmark Building status and is included in the National Register of Historic Places. 

The organization is awaiting word on a $1 million grant request for the Union Station itself, in anticipation of major restoration potentially being done on it this year.

“There is a grant request pending for $1 million for restoration work at the station. If approved, the funding would enable much-needed window work, exterior carpentry repairs, exterior painting, and interior painting and plaster work to take place at the station, among other possible upgrades,” McQuigg says.
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Read more articles by Cheryl Rogers.

Cheryl Rogers is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about careers. An ebook author, she also writes Bible Camp Mystery series that shares her faith. She is publisher of New Christian Books Online Magazine and founder of the Mentor Me Career Network, a free online community, offering career consulting, coaching and career information. Now a wife and mother, Cheryl discovered her love of writing as a child when she became enthralled with Nancy Drew mysteries. She earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Sociology from Loyola University in New Orleans. While working at Loyola's Personnel Office, she discovered her passion for helping others find jobs. A Miami native, Cheryl moved to the Temple Terrace area in 1985 to work for the former Tampa Tribune