Years in making, Encore, Tampa's major downtown redevelopment project, set to start
Remember this photograph in the St. Petersburg Times? The shot is of the remarkable line of folks looking for construction work on March 25 on what will be the site of the 29-acre Encore mixed-used development project tucked between downtown Tampa and Ybor City. Some 5,000 folks showed up as early as 4 a.m. on that day looking for jobs in anticipation of the big Encore redevelopment project by Banc of America Community Development, the Tampa Housing Authority and the City of Tampa. Here's a story on Encore's job fair.
On Thursday, Banc of America senior vice president Roxanne Amoroso told an audience at an Urban Land Instituteconference that Encore won its final permit Wednesday. First dirt may be turned on the project as soon as Monday. The project, first envisioned as a remake of the crumbling Central Park Village years ago by different developers, has been scaled back significantly over the years. Even recently, Amoroso said, the project was considered with 1,300 housing units but now that number is down to 800 to accommodate about 2,000 residents.
Amoroso showed a video of the proposed Encore project, whose major thoroughfare will be called Ray Charles Boulevard, as the audience listened to the locally inspired song from the 1940s by Charles: I Found My Baby There (St. Pete Florida Blues). Listen to a sample of that great song here. (Ray Charles photo: AP.) There's a reason it's called Encore.
These Encore job fair photos are by St. Petersburg Times photographer John Pendygraft. Here's Encore's website.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist