Live Twitter feed at noon as Christine Burdick, Peter Betzer look ahead at Tampa, St. Petersburg downtowns
Burdick v. Betzer. No, it's not a heavyweight fight announcement. It's Christine Burdick and Peter Betzer, at the podium today at a noon time (or so) discussion of their respective downtowns. I'll be there and here's a twist. I'll be feeding live comments via Twitter during the event. If you use Twitter, you can link to my tweets at my Twitter feed: VentureSPTimes. If you do not use Twitter, give it a try and follow along to something happening live at noon today in the Tampa Bay business community. Follow the specific VentureSPTimes tweets identified with this hashtag -- #baydtown -- and feel free to join in the Twitter conversation!
Burdick is the president of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, the group working with both the public and private sectors with the goal of fostering downtown Tampa development and, increasingly, responsible for pursuing support services and amenities to accommodate new residents, businesses and visitors.
Betzer, a former USF St. Petersburg professor and dean of the College of Marine Sciences, heads the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership. The organization's job is to promote business growth and redevelopment in downtown St. Petersburg. To date, downtown has achieved over $1 billion in redevelopment investment -- including office buildings, retail, entertainment, hotels, cultural institutions, a Major League Baseball stadium, a university regional campus, a medical complex, and residential apartments and condominiums. (Betzer photo by Lara Cerri of the St. Petersburg Times.)
Burdick's greatest challenge? Trying to reach that critical mass, the tipping point, when people in sufficient numbers really do want to live downtown. We're not there yet and this economy is not helping.
Betzer's greatest challenge? Trying to keep St. Pete's downtown magic going in a nasty recession and an upscale condo glut. And maybe trying to convince the Tampa Bay Rays to stick around downtown.
The event, at Tampa's Rusty Pelican, is sponsored by the Florida Gulfcoast Commercial Association of Realtors.
Let's hear what they have to say. Join the Twitter discussion!
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist