There is a significant metropolitan transformation going on in Florida, and it’s courtesy of the Water Street Tampa Project. The $3 billion, 53-acre development project aims to reshape and redefine Tampa’s under-used downtown area. And after the first 18 months, Water Street Tampa development has made some bold strides forward. The project is being led by Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Developer Extraordinaire and Owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Bold Business CEO and Publisher Ed Kopko and EVP, Associate Publisher John R. Miles interviewed Vinik in this exclusive video that he narrates. It showcases the enhancements to the project since breaking ground. The article serves as an update to our previous reporting on the initiative.
From the opening of the Sparkman Wharf to the construction of a new hotel and the announced design of the start-up incubator Embarc Collective, the irrefutable evidence of progress is mounting. Already, a once sparse section of the city has become a destination for residents. Soon, the cluster of Tampa construction projects will make for a downtown hub that redefines what Tampa is known for.
Sparkman’s Wharf: A Glimpse of the Water Street Tampa Project’s Vision
Behind the scenes, the Water Street Tampa Project has successfully negotiated the acquisition of various plots of land to build up traffic infrastructure. One such negotiation was with the Port Tampa Bay for the Garrison Lot. In addition, the Water Street Tampa Development group acquired the Ardent Mills flour mill. With the planned city’s expansion of Cumberland Avenue, this acquisition greatly improves access between Channelside and the downtown business district. Both of these developments show the key progress in revitalizing the entire downtown Tampa area.
However, the most prominent of transformative moves by the Water Street Tampa Project is the opening of the Sparkman Wharf. The waterfront destination sits near the Florida Aquarium and the Amalie Arena. The wharf boasts a Biergarten, and eclectic dining options housed in shipping containers (Tampa is a port city, after all). The current offerings at Sparkman’s Wharf are just a start. Over the next year, numerous other renovations are to follow, further expanding entertainment and dining options.
As for transportation options, patrons can choose to use the Coast Bike Share Program or ride the TECO line streetcar to Sparkman’s Wharf. Or they may ride from Saint Petersburg on the CrossBay Ferry.
The King of Tampa Construction Projects
Over the last several months, the Water Street Tampa Project has begun to change Tampa’s skyline courtesy of Miami-based Coastal Construction, who now oversees most Water Street Tampa projects. In 2o18, the ground was broken for the new 26-story JW Marriott hotel. At the same time, the twin apartment towers at 815 Water Street also began construction. Both groundbreaking ceremonies were met with great enthusiasm.
Strategic Property Partners (SPP) Developers Jeff Vinik and James Nozar have alluded to a much more expansive up-tick in construction in the coming months. Among some of the more well-known known vertical ventures soon to be seen include 1010 Water Street and 1077 Water Street. These are high-rise residential projects. In addition, 1001 Water Street is a state-of-the-art, 20-story, Class A office tower soon to be built. And construction of the 13-story USF Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute building is also expected soon. Interactive art installations are being constructed, and there’s even a chance the Museum of Science and Industry could find a home somewhere in the mix.
Boom or Bust: Water Street Tampa Development Pushing Ahead
One of the main drivers behind this revitalization of downtown Tampa is the notion of creating fertile ground for innovation and start-ups. To that end, the construction of the Embarc Collective – a start-up incubator – is proceeding full steam ahead. This, plus the Sparkman Wharf and the various towers under construction, are proof the Water Street Tampa Project looks to be on course.
The tremendous potential for the vitalization the entire central Tampa area is motivating the change. Likewise, the dedication of Vinik and Cascade Investments similarly provide the confidence and resources necessary. If the last 18 months have been an indication, this next year will likely bring constant development and growth.