Monday, February 19, 2018
Business

Tampa International Airport bathrooms battle in Game of Thrones

TAMPA

Tampa International Airport wants to be No. 1 when it comes to going No. 2. • The airport's restrooms were named one of the 10 finalists in Cintas' 12th annual America's Best Restroom Contest. Tampa Bay can show its support in this game of thrones by voting for TIA's restrooms at www.bestrestroom.com. Vote early and often until Oct. 31. • "We're going to pull out all the stops," said airport spokeswoman Christine Osborn, "and flush out the competition until this one's in the can."

TIA upgraded its 20 restrooms as part of a $30 million renovation of the main terminal.

"We went from a very '80s look of white tile and white fixtures, that porcelain white, clean, stark look, to something out of a spa or a high-end hotel," Osborn said. "But at the same time they made modifications that help keep it clean, help with the upkeep and maintenance, and made it durable enough to handle 17 million passengers a year."

The airport spent $4.1 million on the restrooms alone, bringing in stainless steel plumbing fixtures and stalls, quartz countertops and porcelain tile. Greeting visitors to each of the 20 upgraded restrooms are wall murals made from photographs of Florida's flora and fauna.

The airport also made the restrooms more environmentally friendly, adding LED light fixtures, low-flow water fixtures and state-of-the-art technology like Dyson Airblade hand dryers.

And the new stalls were designed specifically to accommodate travelers. They were built 6 feet deep so travelers can keep their luggage with them, and they even come with hooks and nooks to keep backpacks, computer bags and carry-ons off the restroom floor.

Better restrooms, airport officials said, are important to TIA's customers. In a recent online survey, 87 percent of the more than 29,000 airport patrons who responded said they noticed that TIA had upgraded its restrooms.

Tampa International's restroom competition includes the 5-star Waldorf Astoria Hotel New York; the historic Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, one of the last vaudeville houses; and the Public Glass Bathrooms on the Square in Sulphur Springs, Texas. That last one uses one-way mirrors to allow patrons to see everything outside but prevents anyone — hopefully — from seeing inside.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at (813) 226-3404, [email protected] or @jthalji on Twitter.

     
 
Comments

Open-mic night at Pilars is a hot spot for Disney talent

WINTER GARDEN — At the end of the day, when the tourists are gone, Disney performers head out to their favorite spot to keep on singing after their shifts are over. Every Thursday, they perform at open-mic night at Pilars, a Winter Garden martini bar...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Here’s how to separate the fund raisers from frauds among gofundme pages

Here’s how to separate the fund raisers from frauds among gofundme pages

Gofundme.com pages proliferated almost as soon as cops took Nikolas Cruz into custody after Wednesday’s 17-death massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Donors must parse the funding pages from the fraudulent.Read More: 17 dead,...
Published: 02/18/18
Suffolk tops off Manor Riverwalk project

Suffolk tops off Manor Riverwalk project

Building contractor Suffolk topped off the north tower of its Manor Riverwalk project on Friday.The luxury rental community will replace the old Tampa Tribune building at 202 S Parker Street. Once complete, the project will include an eight-story wat...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Trump administration recommends stiff penalties on steel, aluminum imports

Trump administration recommends stiff penalties on steel, aluminum imports

The Tampa arm of Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau S.A. was cautiously optimistic Friday after the Trump administration took a big step toward a policy Gerdau has been vocally advocating for — higher tariffs on imported steel. "We’re hopeful that President...
Published: 02/16/18
Facebook forges ahead with kids app despite expert criticism

Facebook forges ahead with kids app despite expert criticism

Associated PressNEW YORK — Facebook is forging ahead with its messaging app for kids, despite child experts who have pressed the company to shut it down and others who question Facebook’s financial support of some advisers who approved of the app. Me...
Published: 02/16/18
Inexpensive Tampa Bay homes gain the most value of any in U.S.

Inexpensive Tampa Bay homes gain the most value of any in U.S.

Owners of affordable homes in the Tampa Bay region are seeing the biggest gains in equity among the nation’s top 20 housing markets. A bay area home now worth $110,000 rose 20 percent in value over the past year while a house now worth $337,400 incr...
Published: 02/16/18
Amid CareerSource controversy, allegations of a love affair, big raises and family favoritism at the top

Amid CareerSource controversy, allegations of a love affair, big raises and family favoritism at the top

The anonymous letter described a possible love affair at the top of the local jobs center. President and CEO Edward Peachey was in a romantic relationship with top administrator Haley Loeun, it said.It described how Loeun was seen at a conference co...
Published: 02/16/18
Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s experimenting with takeout-only locations

Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s experimenting with takeout-only locations

Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill have become household names in casual dining. Now, their parent company, Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands is taking the "dining" part out in a concept that it’s bringing to Tampa Bay for the first time. A ne...
Published: 02/16/18
Which Tampa Bay ZIPs had the priciest, least expensive and most house sales in 2017?

Which Tampa Bay ZIPs had the priciest, least expensive and most house sales in 2017?

If you bought or sold a house in Tampa Bay last year, you were a player in one of Florida’s hottest real estate markets.Even though prices eased a bit from their torrid pace in 2016, the median cost of a single family home shot up 11 percent. That’s ...
Published: 02/16/18
Florida’s liquor license lottery can make you a ton of money. So why is it such a secret?

Florida’s liquor license lottery can make you a ton of money. So why is it such a secret?

Every year, millions of people play the Florida Lotto. Their chances of winning are about as great as those of being struck by a comet. Fewer than 12,000 enter a much lesser known lottery that also is run by the state. Yet the odds of winning are vas...
Published: 02/16/18