Make us your home page

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 or (813) 226-3431.

Three more buildings now open in Encore 07/17/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 17, 2014 10:16am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy


    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    Is there one theme or idea that captures the Tampa Bay brand? Not really but here's one possibility. The fun-loving annual Gasparilla "Invasion" of Tampa is captured in this photo of 
The Jose Gasparilla loaded with pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on its way this past January to the Tampa Convention Center. In the future a vibrant downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg may be the better theme. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  2. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where cCondominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  3. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy


    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  4. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  5. Owners to level Port Richey flea market but may rebuild

    Public Safety

    PORT RICHEY — The owners of the recently shuttered USA Flea Market have agreed to demolish all structures on the property, leaving open the possibility of rebuilding the weekend shopping attraction, according to Pasco County officials.

    Pasco County officials shut down the USA Flea Market after it received hundreds of citations for health and code violations.