Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Artistic makeover of downtown Tampa's Zack Street expected to turn strollers into spenders

TAMPA — Four orange sails herald the completion of the next step in downtown Tampa's evolution from a tie-clad workplace to a more leisurely destination for strolling and shopping.

The mostly finished Zack Street Promenade of the Arts project between Ashley Drive and Franklin Street features a narrower roadway to slow traffic, wider sidewalks with brushed concrete, and a "bulb out" brick walkway to give pedestrians more space. The $1.2 million upgrade also includes concrete block benches, bright orange sails for shade and bunches of trees and bushes.

Missing for now is the art, which includes several pieces such as metal medallions showcasing historic photos, crosswalk imprints inlaid with textured glass and a backlit glass tile sculpture that uses molds of cigar presses, sheepshead, Gasparilla beads and other well-known local objects.

Not all the art pieces were ready before the Republican National Convention so the city postponed installation for about six weeks, said David Vaughn, Tampa's contracts administration director. Even so, business owners say the project has dramatically altered the street. The street improvements come about the same time as the nearby reopening of the historic, 86-year-old Floridan Hotel, which had been shuttered for 25 years.

The additions add momentum to downtown's redevelopment effort in the past few years that has brought new condo towers, a Riverwalk, renovated Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, bars and restaurants to the urban core.

"Now that it's complete and done and over with it, we're happy with it," said Dave Burton, owner of Pizza Fusion on Zack Street. "A great addition to downtown that keeps getting better and better."

The jury's still out on whether the Promenade of the Arts will lead to more business, Burton said, but the wider sidewalks should allow more outdoor seating for his restaurant this fall. The Victoria Transport Policy Institute, a Canadian research organization, reported last year that a study of consumer spending in British towns found that customers who walk spend more money than those who drive. A 2010 University of Arizona study also found that office, shops and apartment complexes in more "walkable" areas had higher property values than those in "less walkable" areas.

"I hope it spurs some economic development along the corridor," said Karen Kress, Tampa Downtown Partnership Transportation and Planning director. "When you have a pedestrian-friendly street, there are studies that show people linger and spend more time and more money."

The city has made Zack Street its example of how it would like to remodel other downtown streets. It was chosen first because it leads to the entrance of Hixon Park, which has become a downtown hub for concerts, festivals and outdoor events.

Justin George can be reached at or (813) 226-3368.

Artistic makeover of downtown Tampa's Zack Street expected to turn strollers into spenders 08/25/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 25, 2012 7:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pope Francis presents Trump with a 'politically loaded gift': His encyclical on climate change

    Global Warming

    VATICAN CITY — On Wednesday, Pope Francis appeared to make his point with a gift.

    Ivanka Trump, first lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Wednesday.  [Evan Vucci/Pool via The New York Times]
  2. Tampa police say 41-year-old man shot and killed by ex-boss, investigation ongoing


    TAMPA — A 41-year-old man was shot and killed by his former boss Wednesday morning outside the West Tampa auto body shop where they once worked together, according to Tampa police.

  3. Father and brother of alleged bomber detained in Libya


    The father and younger brother of the man who British police say bombed an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester have been detained in Libya, where anti-terror authorities said the brother confessed to knowing "all the details" of the attack plot.

    Hashim Ramadan Abedi appears inside the Tripoli-based Special Deterrent anti-terrorism force unit after his arrest on Tuesday for alleged links to the Islamic State extremist group. Abedi is the brother of Salman Abedi, who has been identified as the man behind the bombing that killed 22 people and wounded scores at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night in Manchester. [Ahmed Bin Salman, Special Deterrent Force via AP]
  4. Marijuana extract Epidiolex helps some kids with epilepsy, study shows


    A medicine made from marijuana, without the stuff that gives a high, cut seizures in kids with a severe form of epilepsy in a study that strengthens the case for more research into pot's possible health benefits.

    An employee checks a plant at LeafLine Labs, a medical marijuana production facility in Cottage Grove, Minn. [Associated Press (2015)]
  5. CBO analysis: 23 million would lose health coverage under House-passed bill


    WASHINGTON — The Republican health care bill that passed the House earlier this month would nearly double the number of Americans without health insurance over the next decade, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

    President Donald Trump held a press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House with members of the GOP on May 4 after the House passed legislation to roll back the Affordable Care Act. [Cheriss May | Sipa USA via TNS]