Thursday, May 24, 2018
Politics

USF could land another $14 million from state for downtown project

TALLAHASSEE — Tampa's downtown makeover is on the brink of getting another $14 million from the state.

While much of the state budget for next year remains unresolved, House and Senate leaders are closing in on a plan to give at least $14 million for the new downtown Tampa medical education and research center that the University of South Florida is expected to begin construction on this fall.

USF had sought almost $17 million, but if it gets at least the $14 million, the project will remain on track, said Lara Wade-Martinez, director of media affairs at USF.

The plan is for a building on Channelside Drive that would give USF a downtown presence and generate $73 million annually in local economic activity, according to USF officials.

The total price tag on the project is nearly $153 million. The state has already given about $79 million to the project, including $22.5 million last year.

The USF Health building is part of the $3 billion real estate development by Strategic Property Partners, a real estate firm backed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Cascade Investment, which is controlled by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. It is all part of the partnership's 50-plus acre redevelopment of downtown Tampa.

The $14 million is still not certain as the Legislature continues to work on an $83 billion spending plan that needs to pass by Friday — the final day of the Legislature's annual session.

Contact Jeremy Wallace at [email protected] Follow @JeremySWallace

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