TAMPA — Imagine dinner at Ulele, then a water taxi ride to a concert or hockey game at Amalie Arena.
Troy Manthey already has, so he's launching three such water taxis later this month.
Manthey, 49, owns Yacht StarShip Dining Cruises and announced this week he's expanding his fleet with three pirate-themed (think Gasparilla) water taxis that will go into service on Feb. 27.
"We always knew Tampa would support something like this as the waterfront evolved," said Manthey, who moved Yacht Starship to Tampa from Biloxi, Miss., in 2001....
TAMPA — The meeting Friday in downtown Tampa was the political version of baseball's pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training — the first activity in what promises to be an effort spanning many months.
"I'm just as excited on the way out of it as I was on the way in,'' Tampa Bay Rays president Brian Auld said after outlining the team's plans for its stadium search to a dozen officials and business executives from Tampa and Hillsborough County....
ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball's version of House Hunters premiered Thursday when the Tampa Bay Rays released a one-page wish list for what the club wants in a new stadium.
Forget Camden Yards and all those retro, old-timey ballparks.
That's soooo 1990s. Yuck.
The Rays instead want a "next-generation" stadium for the "evolving fan." The new digs have to be "authentic" and "fan forward" and "smart" and "sustainable" and "flexible." ...
02/04/16 Local Government
TAMPA — After years of requests from neighbors, the City Council on Thursday agreed to spend $3.1 million to fix the historic pool at Cuscaden Park.
But the approval came with a warning from council Chairman Frank Reddick, a leading voice for the project.
Don't repeat the mistakes made when the city spent $2.5 million trying to fix the pool in 2005, he said.
By 2009, the pool was leaking again, and it's been closed ever since....
02/01/16 Local Government
TAMPA — Reopening Tampa's historic Cuscaden Park pool, closed for most of the last two decades, will cost $3.1 million.
That's $1.3 million more than what City Hall had in this year's budget for the project.
There are several reasons for that, city contract administration director Michael Chucran said Monday.
First, the budget used what city officials describe as a "placeholder" of $1.8 million — a $1.5 million estimate from a couple of years ago, plus a $350,000 state historic preservation grant....
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is heading to New Hampshire this weekend to campaign for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Buckhorn has a record of supporting Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, going back to 1991.
That’s when Buckhorn’s boss, then-Mayor Sandy Freedman, became one of Clinton’s early supporters in Florida, giving his campaign an important boost at a key moment. Like Clinton, Buckhorn is aligned with the party’s centrist Democratic Leadership Council. In 1996, Buckhorn chaired President Clinton’s re-election campaign in Hillsborough County....
TAMPA — Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is heading to New Hampshire this weekend to volunteer on the campaign for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"I will do whatever they ask me to do," he said Monday, including making calls and knocking on doors. "She is the right candidate at the right time for our country."
Buckhorn, who is paying for the trip out of his own pocket, has supported Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, going back to 1991....
TAMPA — When it comes to picking battles, Mayor Bob Buckhorn appears more focused on achieving his goals as mayor than on running for governor in 2018.
As evidence, consider how much time, effort and political capital Buckhorn is spending to help President Barack Obama win congressional approval for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Labor unions hate the agreement, also known as TPP. It's also opposed by many Democrats in Congress, as well as by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders....
01/29/16 Real Estate
TAMPA — It looks like Citigroup, which already has 5,500 employees in Hillsborough County, is looking for a possible corporate campus of up to 1 million square feet, and the 40 downtown acres of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates' Cascade Investment fund may be in the running.
The New York banking giant is well into discussions with more than one local developer. The possibilities include creating a larger campus at a new location or keeping Citigroup's existing operation at Sabal Park near Interstate 75 and finding additional space elsewhere....
It looks like Citigroup, which already has 5,500 employees in Hillsborough County, is looking for a possible corporate campus of up to 1 million square feet, and that the 40 downtown acres by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates' Cascade Investment fund is in the running.
The New York-based banking giant is well into discussions with more than one local developer. The possibilities include creating a larger campus at a new location or keeping Citigroup's existing operation at Sabal Park near Interstate 75 and finding additional space elsewhere. A decision is expected in the next couple of weeks. All the finalists are in Hillsborough County....
01/27/16 Local Government
Now that the Tampa Bay Rays have permission to broaden their search for stadium sites, Tampa and St. Petersburg are looking at two different approaches to keeping the team in the bay area.
In St. Petersburg, Mayor Rick Kriseman met with the president of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday to sketch out the broad strokes of a campaign to entice the Rays to stay in their city....
TAMPA — Allowing gun owners with concealed-weapons permits to carry their sidearms openly would endanger police and bystanders, scare tourists and undermine Florida's business climate, local officials said Monday.
"A bad idea," Tampa police Chief Eric Ward said of House Bill 163 and Senate Bill 300, now pending in the Legislature.
Ward said open carry would create confusion for officers who would go into chaotic scenes and would have to make split-second, life-and-death decisions about which openly armed person is a good guy and which isn't....
Jackie Toledo running for state House District 60; Harry Cohen to look at it, but for him nothing’s certain — or imminent01/22/16 Blog
Most of the questions for Harry Cohen at Friday morning’s Cafe con Tampa breakfast group were about South Tampa neighborhood issues: street flooding, McMansions, bar-driven craziness on S Howard Avenue.
But the last question was about Cohen and his future: Is he looking at running for the state Senate?
“That is not true,” Cohen said. “There have been some approaches made to me about running for the Legislature, the state House. And I may look at that, but I wouldn’t be planning for my successor here quite yet.”...
01/21/16 Local Government
TAMPA — The West Tampa homeowner at the microphone Thursday was direct, blunt and unsparing in his characterization of his neighbor, St. Joseph's Women's Hospital.
"This hospital has done more damage to a Hispanic neighborhood than anything I can say," he told the City Council, adding that seven or eight houses have been removed over the years.
"This is not a hospital that wants to do good," he said. "They've got great people working there, they've got great service, but they're animals. They don't give a damn about nobody but themselves. It's all about the bottom line and money."...
01/21/16 Public Safety
TAMPA — More than seven years after the arrest, the City Council on Thursday agreed to pay a Tampa lawyer $300,000 to settle his lawsuit alleging that four police officers used excessive force while taking him into custody at SideBern's restaurant.
Brent Yessin, 52, sued the city and officers Michael Leavy, Joseph Reese, Dustin Kennedy and Shannon Murphy over his arrest on the night of Dec. 20, 2008....