3005 W Columbus Drive, Tampa, FL 33607
More in this neighborhood: Stadium Area
Chiefly an entertainment venue, it also is a Tampa polling place and is available for events from weddings to business gatherings.
Its history is an interesting story.
The building, originally constructed for the West Tampa Chamber of Commerce, once housed the MacFarlane Optimist Club, the West Tampa Optimist Club and the West Tampa Business Alliance.
Then El Centro Espanol stepped in. The social club and mutual aid society had been formed in 1891 by Hispanic immigrants who had hopped from Havana to Florida to work in the cigar industry. The society bought it in 1991, abandoning former headquarters at Howard Avenue and Cherry Street.
The West Tampa Convention Center's chief mission was to arrange for the burials of El Centro Espanol's aging members. As the business arm of the former Ybor City mutual aid society, it continues to administer Centro Espanol's remaining assets: two cemeteries.
But the convention center is somewhat of a cultural crossroads, hosting events from Tampa’s many ethnic communities, such as a Puerto Rico Festival, a Brazilian festival and other assorted gatherings.