Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Business

Keep the new building, save Tampa's river view

When I first walked around downtown Tampa years back, I'm not sure I knew a river runs through it.

But it's true: An actual river, the Hillsborough, marks downtown's western border.

And over the years, different mayors have made their own assessments of that waterfront's value, from Dealin' Dick Greco to Pragmatic Pam Iorio to the current office holder, Bob the Builder Buckhorn. Now developers want to pay the city $4 million for a tight piece of riverfront property where they can put an up-to-35-story tower with 350 apartments. And, no.

Say it ain't so.

"Pretty" may be a stretch in describing the river you can currently walk along on the nearly completed Riverwalk, water you can gaze across from sprawling Curtis Hixon Park.

But you have to at least admit to interesting, with the University of Tampa minarets as a backdrop, the rowers on the river, the historic bridges. (Gulls, even.) And Tampa is starting to look like a town with some urban planning to it instead of coming about like those clumps of mushrooms that spring up randomly here and there on your lawn overnight.

Interesting mayoral moment regarding the riverfront: In 2003, on maybe her second day in office, Iorio found herself looking at documents brought to her so she could sign off on plans for a 25-story residential tower by the river. (Land not far from the current patch under consideration.)

The project came about during her predecessor Greco's term, only somehow the papers hadn't gotten signed by him before he left.

Iorio, who has her own views on what downtown should look like, said then, "We need to be careful how we plan public spaces, because it's forever," and declined to sign. It did not get built. That sprawling city park on the water did, though, and is one of her legacies.

So now developers are eyeing a wedge of city property behind the public library at Tyler and Cass streets on the north end of downtown. Developers interested in building is a good thing. A thriving urban core with more residents is a good thing. Me, I am glad every time I see a dog on a leash downtown, because it means people actually live here.

But downtown also has building options that would not mean a tall tower on a tight space on the pretty-or-at-least-interesting river that the public has lately come to enjoy.

The current mayor has his own Buckhornian ideas for shaping the city and riverfront. And being the mayor who made it happen despite a dismal economy would be a fine legacy, too.

He has smartly vowed to make the waterfront a focus of downtown urban planning, and already he is walking the walk, pushing for restaurants near the water and for events like the St. Patrick's Day River O' Green. He is talking of ways to open up the quieter park just across the river.

The possibility of a new tower? "That's city property," Bob the Builder has said, "and we're not going to move on it until we're comfortable and may decide not to do it at all."

Good to hear at least a note of caution in there that sounds like actual urban planning, even in Tampa. Because we need to watch out for our waterfront, particularly now that we can see it for ourselves.

Comments
Career Q&A: Sharpen interview skills to overcome impression of shyness

Career Q&A: Sharpen interview skills to overcome impression of shyness

Q: At the end of a recent interview, the manager told me that I would not be getting the job. He said I wasn’t a good fit for the position because I was shy. As a naturally introverted person, I found this very discouraging. How can I avoid similar p...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Lawmakers call for additional investigations into Tampa Bay’s two CareerSource boards

Lawmakers call for additional investigations into Tampa Bay’s two CareerSource boards

Federal and state lawmakers are calling on Congress and the Florida House of Representatives to investigate whether two regional workforce centers inflated the number of people they helped find jobs. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D–St. Petersburg, and sta...
Updated: 8 hours ago
CEO Nancy Tower’s goal for Tampa Electric: renewable energy

CEO Nancy Tower’s goal for Tampa Electric: renewable energy

TAMPA — Tampa Electric Co.’s future will be green if new CEO Nancy Tower has anything to say about it. Speaking at a University of Tampa panel Tuesday, Tower outlined her plan to move the Tampa-based utility toward a completely renewable energy portf...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Chase to make $20B investment, raise wages

Chase to make $20B investment, raise wages

JPMorgan Chase announced Tuesday that it will boost wages, open new branches and hire thousands of new workers, citing improved economic performance and sweeping changes to the U.S. tax code. Wages will rise to between $15 and $18 an hour from a rang...
Published: 01/23/18
Disney offering staff $1,000 bonuses, new education funding

Disney offering staff $1,000 bonuses, new education funding

NEW YORK — The Walt Disney Co. will give more than 125,000 eligible employees a one-time $1,000 cash bonus and invest $50 million in an education funding program. The media company said Tuesday the bonuses will go to all full and part-time non-execut...
Published: 01/23/18
Tampa micro housing advocates find big demand for living small

Tampa micro housing advocates find big demand for living small

TAMPA — When Omar Garcia announced plans to transform a vacant downtown office building into 120 micro apartments of about 300 square feet each, the calls and checks poured in."We got 90 reservations like that," Garcia said Tuesday, snapping his fing...
Published: 01/23/18
Elon Musk’s new pay package tied to massive Tesla growth

Elon Musk’s new pay package tied to massive Tesla growth

Associated PressPALO ALTO, Calif.— Elon Musk will remain at Tesla Inc. under a 10-year, all-or-nothing pay package that demands massive growth. The agreement, revealed Tuesday in a regulatory filing, requires that Tesla grow in $50 billion leaps, to ...
Published: 01/23/18

Verizon misses its profit forecast

Associated PressNEW YORK — Verizon Communications Inc. on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter earnings of $18.67 billion.On a per-share basis, the New York-based company said it had profits of $4.56. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were ...
Published: 01/23/18
Hungry at Gasparilla? Eight great restaurants near the parade route

Hungry at Gasparilla? Eight great restaurants near the parade route

GASPARILLA: THE DINING EDITIONGasparilla. Some things are certain. There will be scantily clad pirates and liquid libations. At some point, it is advised to eat some food. Here are some of the top places that are easily accessed along the invasion ro...
Published: 01/23/18

Pasco Business Digest for Jan. 26

Business digestBrieflySMALL BUSINESS BRIDGE LOANS HELP PASCO: The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of South Florida facilitated 141 Florida Emergency Bridge Loans, totalling $7,515,100 in funding. In Pasco County, eight loa...
Published: 01/23/18