Thursday, December 20, 2018 / by Aaron Barker
There has been a lot of talk about the billions of dollars pouring into Downtown Tampa’s Water Street District, but it is surprisingly difficult to find a cohesive plan of what buildings will be built. Let alone where they will be located. So, we thought we would do the legwork for you, here are the buildings getting the biggest buzz:
1. Marriott Waterside: The existing Marriott Waterside is joining in on the development with a $40-million renovation, changing everything from their rooms and restaurants to the landscaping—taking advantage of the hotel’s prime waterfront location. When the Waterside was first built in 2000, the concept of a sports bar was still unique and drew patrons in for big games, but with expansive cable packages available to everyone in their own home these days, that concept has become worn and dated. So, say good-bye to “Champions,” and say hello to a new gastropub featuring local craft beers, two TopGolf practice bays, and new patio seating! The new design features open landscaping sure to welcome patrons in from the Riverwalk, inviting them to the restaurant and the new poolside Starbucks.
2. JW Marriott: The JW Marriott is part of the developers’ attempt to dramatically increase downtown Tampa’s capacity to house out-of-town guests for large events such as the highly anticipated 2021 Super Bowl. The new hotel will expand downtown’s holding space with 519 new rooms and 126,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space. Marriott is also planning to build the largest hotel ballroom in Tampa Bay at approximately 30,000 sq. ft. With a ground floor full-service restaurant and bar and the highest rooftop bar in the city, the JW Marriott is set to impress.
3. Water Cooling Plant: Expansive rooftop greenspaces will be serviced by a newly conceptualized central cooling plant. This unique cooling plant will be constructed, maintained, and operated by Strategic Property Partners—owned by Vinik and Cascade Investments LLC, the group behind the Water Street Project. The structure will house 20 to 25 water chillers that use underground pipes to cool the surrounding structures and free up their rooftops as usable space. The goal is to use this groundbreaking design to cool the entire new Water Street development.
4. The Tampa Edition: Joining other cosmopolitan cities such as New York and Hong Kong, Tampa will be home to The Tampa Edition —the city’s first five-star hotel. The EDITION is an expanding collaboration between Marriott International and renowned architect Ian Schrager. Each Edition is designed to fit uniquely into the city’s milieu and offer a one-of-a-kind experience. Featuring only 173 rooms and a rooftop pool with an adjacent bar and restaurant, The Edition will cater to Tampa’s visiting high-end clientele. The hotel will also include 43 branded, luxury condominiums for purchase as private homes.
5. 815 Water Street: As one of Tampa’s first new residential for-purchase towers in a decade, 815 Water Street is unique. It is a residential two-tower building with each tower dedicated to either condominiums or apartments and separated on the ground-level by downtown’s first full-service grocery store. The 26-story condo tower will be angled toward the water and feature dual waterfront and downtown views; the 21-story rental tower will face downtown. Each tower will feature its own rooftop greenspace and pool. Rooftop greenspace is set to become the trend across the entire Water Street development. Developers held their ground breaking ceremony on November 8th for the exciting mixed use complex.
6. University of South Florida: USF continues to expand into Downtown with the addition of the Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute. The 395,000-square foot, 13-story tower will feature a large lecture hall that can seat 400 (or be split into two lecture halls as needed), clinical teaching labs, smaller classrooms, and research labs. The new building will establish USF’s presence in downtown Tampa and facilitate its goal of moving more of its medical graduate studies into the downtown core. The topping off ceremony was held on November 14th, signifying the completion of the building’s exterior structure.
7. Sparkman Wharf: The greatly anticipated Sparkman Wharf brings Water Street into focus as a revitalized district for Tampa locals as well as visitors to enjoy. The Wharf will replace the failing Channelside Plaza. Developers started by getting rid of the old Mediterranean siding, the movie theater, and the wing of the building that blocks its best feature: the waterfront. Instead, the movie theater will be transformed into lofted office spaces focused toward creative and innovative tenants. Those tenants will have to work hard to not spend all their income on lunch at the two new dining areas. The first is a dining garden—think Armature Works but outside, with vendors housed in colorfully painted, repurposed shipping containers—all surrounding a shaded courtyard. Nearby, will be a new beer garden featuring over 30 taps in the open-air space with an emphasis on Florida craft beer, wine, iced tea, and natural sodas. The developers have been building hype around the project by slowly announcing the vendors for the dining garden with big names such as Chef Jeannie Pierola of Edison: Food + Drink Lab and Maryann Ferenc, co-owner of Mise en Place who will be opening concepts or offshoots of their restaurants in the Wharf.