Sunday, April 22, 2018
Business

Three more buildings now open in Encore

TAMPA — Music resonates from a low-lying plot of land on the fringe of downtown, once known as the Scrub.

Earlier this week it was a trumpeter, playing as guests toured apartments at a grand opening for the Trio, the second project completed within Encore.

Mechelle Arnold appreciated ample closets as she explored a two-bedroom unit with a view of the city skyline she called beautiful.

First residents moved in last month. These 49 households are the newest additions to an ambitious mixed housing redevelopment plan. Find them at 1101 Ray Charles Blvd., named for the legendary music artist who recorded his first song near here, back when the area was known as Harlem South.

They mingled outside where a tent sheltered guests near the spot where the Cotton Club once stood, where jazz artists Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington performed in the 1940s and where teens did a new dance later called the twist.

Naturally, when it came to designing the 28-acre project, architects sought the soul of the music.

Robert Ledford, principal at Baker Barrios Architects, pointed out rows of offset windows in the Ella, the first Encore building, which opened for residents 62 and older in 2012.

"It's a simple rhythm, just like in music," said Ledford, whose father was a music teacher. Eventually, two more buildings will complete Encore. The Reed is under construction and the Tempo is being designed. In total, Encore will house about 700 family units, Ledford said.

The Trio, a $29 million project with 207,583 square feet of mixed housing, was the result of a public-private partnership between Banc of America Community Development Corp. and the Tampa Housing Authority. There were 14 funding sources, including Bank of America and the Tampa Housing Authority.

All together, Encore is a $425 million project expected to be complete in seven years. Its goal, Ledford said, is to reestablish the city grid between the central business district of downtown and Ybor City.

All buildings aim to be certified silver by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Water for its air conditioner comes from a chiller plant that eliminates rooftop air conditioning, allowing solar panels to cover roofs.

The Trio includes 141 one- to four-bedroom units and is currently 35 percent occupied and 72 percent leased — some just haven't moved in yet, said Eileen Pope, developer at the community development corporation. There's a mix of incomes with renters paying market rate, using Section 8, or qualifying for public housing and paying 30 percent of their income. Rates range from $359 to $1,397.

And a pool on top of a parking garage will open any day now, she said.

So far, Encore has not signed any retail or commercial tenants.

The project's first public art adorns a brick wall on the Trio facing Perry Harvey Sr. Park: three large hand-carved tile murals depicting earlier days. Community advocate Fred Hearns talked to visitors by the murals, which he said captured the essence of the time.

Freed slaves settled in this area in the late 1800s. They built wood shacks in the low lands known as the Bottoms, later called the Scrub because of the brush that flourished there.

A thriving African-American society flourished here, too. Then in the 1950s, the city razed the shacks and built public housing. In 2007, the Tampa Housing Authority demolished the 483 apartments of Central Park Village.

The only original structure still standing is the 1921 St. James Church, with boarded windows, alongside the Trio. Eventually, plans include opening a computer lab inside the structure, and later, an African-American history museum.

Contact Elisabeth Parker at [email protected] or (813) 226-3431.

Comments
Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

When Samantha Hess’s marriage ended five years ago, she felt she was lacking a basic human need: Physical touch. As a woman in her late 20s living in Portland, Oregon, she found plenty of men interested in dating, but sexual contact was not what she ...
Published: 04/21/18
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. Those were among the prelim...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Published: 04/20/18
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Published: 04/20/18
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Published: 04/20/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18