TAMPA — At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, hotelier Ian Schrager transformed a Jazz Age building with its own rich history into a destination offering even more heady experiences — extravagant, edgy and bohemian.
In Tampa, Schrager will have a blank slate to work with: a prime corner in Water Street Tampa, where developers announced Thursday he will help Marriott International create what they hope will be Tampa’s first five-star hotel, a 173-room Marriott Edition.
The Marriott Edition is expected to open in early 2021 as part of a 26-story tower to be built at the northwest corner of Channelside Drive and Water Street, across the street from Amalie Arena.
It will include a rooftop pool with an adjacent bar and restaurant, top-of-the-line spa and fitness center, a second high-end restaurant on the ground floor and retail spaces designed to activate the street and draw visitors.
Marriott already operates the 727-room Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina. In addition, construction is scheduled to start next week on a 519-room JW Marriott with a projected opening date in 2020.
Together, the three hotels will give Water Street Tampa (and Marriott) more than 1,400 hotel rooms and 150,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
"We think this really grows the market and economic activity," Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik said in a recent interview. Vinik teamed up with billionaire Bill Gates and his private venture fund, Cascade Investment, to create Strategic Property Partners, the development company for the $3 billion Water Street Tampa project.
The company, often shortened to SPP, bought the Waterside Marriott for $150 million in 2014 and is working to complete $40 million in upgrades by next spring. It is building the JW Marriott and Marriott Edition.
Of the three, the Marriott Edition is expected to offer the most luxury. Marriott has Edition hotels in New York City, Miami and West Hollywood, plus Abu Dhabi, Bali, Bangkok, Barcelona, Bodrum in Turkey, Doha, Dubai, London, Reykjavik, Shanghai, Singapore and Wuhan in China.
"We are constantly seeking collaborators that will build upon, enhance and exceed our original vision for Water Street Tampa," Strategic Property Partners CEO James Nozar said in an announcement of the Marriott Edition. The company found that, he said, in the partnership between Marriott and the Ian Schrager Co.
Schrager’s company owns, develops, manages and brands high-end hotels, residential and mixed use projects, and he worked with Marriott to launch its luxury Edition brand. At the Gramercy Park Hotel, he took a building from the mid-1920s and, he once told an interviewer, tried to give it the sense of spontaneity you would find in an artist’s home or studio in spare-no-expense surroundings.
"As for the particular school of ‘bohemian’ and ‘edgy’ Schrager opted for at the Gramercy Park Hotel, do not think ‘starving young artist in an East Village tenement,’ " former Vogue editor Charles Gandee wrote in Travel & Leisure in 2009. "Think Peggy Guggenheim in Venice, at home in her art-filled Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal."
The Edition will be designed by New York architect Morris Adjmi, who previously has worked on just a few projects in Florida and none in Tampa. Admji will collaborate with the Florida architecture and planning firm Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates, and interior designers Roman and Williams.
In a statement released through SPP, Marriott executive Kevin Montano outlined the goals for the Edition: "Timeless design. Uncompromising quality. Impeccable modern service."
Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times