Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Business

West Tampa chamber bases growth plan on rebranding, redevelopment and transit

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — The West Tampa Chamber of Commerce unveiled an economic development plan Tuesday aimed at capitalizing on an improving economy and efforts by local government to transform the west bank of the Hillsborough River.

"The recession's coming to an end. Housing's going to be coming out. There's great opportunities facing us," said lawyer and West Tampa home builder Ed Turanchik, who chairs the chamber's economic redevelopment committee. "We wanted to step back, retool, recalibrate, load and fire."

The chamber's conceptual plan, approved unanimously by its board Oct. 2, has three main parts:

• Brand West Tampa with a new logo ("Savor the past. Embrace the future.") that could adorn welcome signs on main roads entering West Tampa — defined as from Kennedy Boulevard on the south to Hillsborough Avenue on the north and from the Hillsborough River to Dale Mabry Highway.

The chamber also wants to create an eating guide to West Tampa's many ethnic restaurants and a program to illuminate historic buildings such as the Y. Pendas & Alvarez Cigar Co. building with its looming clock tower.

• Aggressively pursue economic development opportunities: a Riverwalk on the western bank of the river; connections from neighborhoods to the riverfront; a program to facilitate the use of federal loans to rehabilitate foreclosed homes; a temporary suspension of impact and utility connection fees; and the creation of a community redevelopment district, which could use property tax revenue generated by growth to pay for West Tampa infrastructure improvements.

• Create a bus circulator that would use frequent service to tie West Tampa to downtown Tampa, West Shore and the Tampa International Airport. An early estimate puts the operating costs of the circulator at $6 million annually. Chamber advocates say the city could create a special taxing district to support it, while potentially letting people who live or work in West Tampa ride for free.

Chamber officials also say local officials should look at establishing a limited-stop bus rapid transit route and, eventually, a light rail corridor, from downtown to the airport via West Tampa.

The chamber's plan comes as the city of Tampa and the Tampa Housing Authority are seeking a private-sector partner to help plan the redevelopment of a 120-acre area in West Tampa.

That plan, welcomed by the chamber, envisions tearing down the North Boulevard Homes public housing complex and moving the residents to new but more widely dispersed affordable housing.

In the next 60 days, the chamber plans to present its plan to neighborhood associations, business groups and city and county officials.

It also will hold a town hall meeting at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at the West Tampa library.

The chamber hopes local officials agree to implement elements of the plan in early 2013.

Comments
Eight women say Charlie Rose sexually harassed them - with nudity, groping and lewd calls

Eight women say Charlie Rose sexually harassed them - with nudity, groping and lewd calls

Eight women have told the Washington Post that longtime television host Charlie Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.Th...
Updated: 9 hours ago
St. Petersburg council okays restaurant deal for Manhattan Casino

St. Petersburg council okays restaurant deal for Manhattan Casino

ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council on Monday approved a lease for the Manhattan Casino, a landmark building in the city’s historic African-American business and entertainment community.It was a controversial decision for some of the city’s black resid...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tampa Electric, contractor fined $43,000 in gas leak

Tampa Electric, contractor fined $43,000 in gas leak

APOLLO BEACH — The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Tampa Electric $18,108 and gave the company two "serious" citations for its response to a gas leak at the Big Bend Power Station in May, the agency announced late Friday.T...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Forecast: Florida retailers expect strong holiday shopping sales

Forecast: Florida retailers expect strong holiday shopping sales

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, and this year is expected to be particularly kind to retailers.The Florida Retail Federation’s holiday shopping forecast predicts that a combination of high consumer confidence, strong tourism numbers and a littl...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Up for sale? Activist investor grabs stake in Tampa’s Bloomin’ Brands

Up for sale? Activist investor grabs stake in Tampa’s Bloomin’ Brands

TAMPA — If you tread water too long in the same spot, someone might start asking why you’re not trying to swim somewhere.Tampa’s Bloomin’ Brands — parent company of such prominent restaurant chains as Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Glenn Thrush, New York Times reporter, accused of sexual misbehavior

Glenn Thrush, New York Times reporter, accused of sexual misbehavior

The New York Times said Monday that it was suspending Glenn Thrush, one of its most prominent reporters, after he was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior.The move came after the website Vox published a report containing allegations that Thrus...
Published: 11/20/17
Most air travelers say taking off your shoes is okay. An etiquette expert disagrees

Most air travelers say taking off your shoes is okay. An etiquette expert disagrees

Unless you are ensconced in first class, sleeping on a plane is as intimate as dozing off in a waiting room on jury duty — everyone on the aircraft knows the decibel level of your snoring and the sad state of your socks.To gauge how passengers percei...
Published: 11/20/17
Senator Nelson on tax reform bill: Small business will ‘get it in the neck.’

Senator Nelson on tax reform bill: Small business will ‘get it in the neck.’

TAMPA — A week ahead of the expected vote on a controversial tax reform bill, U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., visited Tampa to deliver a message to small businesses: This bill will hurt you."Small businesses are the economic engine of F...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Published: 11/19/17
Updated: 11/20/17

Search suspended for missing Cortez boater who left from Egmont Key

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing 63-year-old boater on Sunday evening, two days after he and his dog were reported missing 5 miles northwest of Mead Point, just inland from Anna Maria Island.On Friday, Fraser Horne of Cortez le...
Published: 11/19/17