Sunday, July 22, 2018
Real Estate

A shady green vision for Water Street Tampa’s main thoroughfare

TAMPA — Today walking across the 50 acres of what is destined to become Water Street Tampa is an exercise in sun protection, like stepping onto a heated cookie sheet made of asphalt.

But on Thursday developers with Strategic Property Partners (SPP) detailed their vision for a greener, more shady and welcoming Water Street, a main thoroughfare with a sidewalk 45 feet wide and a double row of mature live oak trees on its eastern side.

"We are re-prioritizing what used to drive the design of streets," Gary Hilderbrand of Reed Hilderbrand, the master landscape architect for Water Street Tampa, said in a video produced by SPP, a joint venture between Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Cascade Investment, the personal wealth fund of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

"We’re channeling the cars — giving them less room, having them stay less time — and creating a whole other type of public realm," Hilderbrand said. "Now we’re talking about pedestrians as the most important members of the street community."

In all, developers plan to plant 650 trees, including southern live oak, bald cypress and two kinds of elm, along with 30,000 square feet of landscaped planters and lawns.

"A key design focus," SPP chief executive officer James Nozar says of Water Street’s public spaces, which were considered important enough that they were designed before the buildings. One goal is to create gathering places comfortable enough for outdoor dining year-round.

A 50-ACRE VISION: Water Street Tampa unveils video showing downtown’s transformation (with video)

"We are looking to significantly increase the amount of green space," Nozar said in a previous interview, and Water Street itself is intended "to be very, very wooded from the start" with "as large and mature-growth trees as we can possibly get." To do that, SPP reserved individual trees more than a year ago to give them time to grow before Water Street’s promenade is finished in the fall of 2020.

"The kind of oak canopy that they’re bringing through downtown is pretty amazing," said Robert M. MacLeod, a professor in and the director of the University of South Florida’s School of Architecture & Community Design. "I like the scale of it. I like the magnitude of the canopy. I think it’s quite important that they bring in more mature trees."

Once complete, more than 23,000 people a day will live in, work at, visit, shop in, dine at or exercise in Water Street Tampa, where the plan for public spaces is designed around three "core values":

• Reveal and improve connections: Orient the neighborhood toward the waterfront. Make internal connections distinctive and walkable. Provide strong connections to downtown Tampa, Harbour Island and the Channel District.

• Prioritize pedestrian comfort: This means focusing on shade, safety and beauty. Sidewalks will be 16 to 45 feet wide. Streets will be designed to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and transit. Various water features will make the sound of running water present throughout the neighborhood.

• Diversify public spaces: Think outdoor seating along Water Street, sidewalk cafes, retail kiosks, a public plaza at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute and a new park at Water Street and E Cumberland Avenue.

Building a centralized cooling plant for all of Water Street Tampa’s buildings will allow developers to use rooftops for high-rise lounges, as at the JW Marriott, as well as urban gardens and other greenery, instead of air conditioners.

LOFTY AMBITIONS: Tampa’s highest rooftop bar coming to JW Marriott at Water Street Tampa

Below street level, SPP’s planning team has designed what it says is a unique, underground infrastructure that includes the use of deep, high-performance soil and moisture environments that will exceed city of Tampa standards and reduce the "heat island" effect associated with urban areas. Permeable pavers and planting beds that absorb water are meant to allow the neighborhood to weather severe rain ecologically and efficiently.

"Our plan for Water Street Tampa builds on decades of insights into what makes city neighborhoods work," Nozar said.

MacLeod said SPP has assembled an impressive team of architects, planners and engineers. He tells his students they will have the rare privilege of watching a city be transformed in real time while they are at USF. And he says Water Street Tampa’s long-term echo could resonate for the city and the region in ways that no one yet foresees.

"I think they did their homework, and they spent a lot of time thinking about infrastructure and the necessity of public space in their project," he said. "The exciting thing for our community is that this has been thought through carefully and methodically."

MORE: Go here for more Business News

Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times

 
Comments
Some not-so-tiny obstacles in the growing market for tiny houses

Some not-so-tiny obstacles in the growing market for tiny houses

When Tom Alsani heard about plans for a tiny-home community in St. Petersburg, he got so excited he immediately wanted to know more. "Right now I have a house with three bedrooms but the kids are gone and I’m trying to downsize,’’ says Alsani, a qual...
Published: 07/23/18
Luxury townhomes come to Westshore business district

Luxury townhomes come to Westshore business district

Westshore, one of the largest business districts in the southeast, continues to add residential accommodations with ICON Residential’s Westshore Village at 2511 N Grady Ave. officially opening on Saturday (July 21).The location near W Boy Scout Boule...
Published: 07/19/18
A new design raises hopes for restoring St. Petersburg’s historic YMCA building

A new design raises hopes for restoring St. Petersburg’s historic YMCA building

ST. PETERSBURG — Nick Ekonomou, the South Florida developer who has owned the deteriorating former YMCA building in downtown since 2015, has come up with a potential new design for the historic Mediterranean Revival-style property.The former football...
Published: 07/19/18
New 35-story condo tower to rise in Tampa’s Channelside area

New 35-story condo tower to rise in Tampa’s Channelside area

TAMPA — A 35-story condo tower with just two units per floor is expected to start construction in the booming Channelside area early next year.Tampa-based Mercury Advisors announced Wednesday that it had obtained construction financing for the $74 mi...
Published: 07/18/18
Housing starts tumbled 12.3 percent in June

Housing starts tumbled 12.3 percent in June

Associated PressWASHINGTON — U.S. homebuilders sharply curtailed the pace of construction in June as housing starts plummeted 12.3 percent. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 m...
Published: 07/18/18
Want to live on Beeswax Lane? Tampa Bay developers strain to create new street names

Want to live on Beeswax Lane? Tampa Bay developers strain to create new street names

When Newland Communities began developing FishHawk Ranch in Hillsborough County two decades ago, naming streets wasn’t much of a problem."Literally, we would get out our list of Florida native bird names every time a new section came online," said Pa...
Published: 07/17/18
Updated: 07/18/18
Blacks can afford far fewer rentals than Asians and whites, study shows

Blacks can afford far fewer rentals than Asians and whites, study shows

Black and Latino residents of the Tampa Bay area can afford far fewer rentals than Asians and whites can. According to Zillow, blacks can afford just 19 percent of available rentals and Latinos 20.7 percent. That compares to whites being able to affo...
Published: 07/17/18
Another hip hotel in St. Pete? Uptown residents like the idea, but fret about parking.

Another hip hotel in St. Pete? Uptown residents like the idea, but fret about parking.

ST. PETERSBURG — In the past few years, Michael Andoniades has turned two faded hotels — the Hollander and the Avalon — into two of St. Petersburg’s trendiest, most popular lodgings. So it is with mixed feelings that residents of the city’s Historic ...
Published: 07/17/18
Tampa ranks second best in nation for first-time homebuyers

Tampa ranks second best in nation for first-time homebuyers

Despite rising prices, Tampa has been deemed the second best city in the nation for first-time homebuyers. That’s according to the website WalletHub, which compared 300 cities using 27 metrics including home prices, property tax rates and property-cr...
Published: 07/16/18
Did the Rough Riders stay at this Port Tampa house for sale?

Did the Rough Riders stay at this Port Tampa house for sale?

TAMPA — The listing for the home at 6821 S Shamrock Road starts in typical fashion: The six-bedroom, two-bathroom house on the market for $449,900 is "just steps away from Port Tampa in beautiful South Tampa."But then comes a doozy of a statement. "T...
Published: 07/13/18