09/23/14 Real Estate
TAMPA — Someone is looking to buy the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina.
Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's development team has talked to City Hall about the idea.
And Mayor Bob Buckhorn believes the prospective buyer and Vinik are one and the same.
"I am ever hopeful, cautiously optimistic and will be extremely pleased if he's able to do this," said Buckhorn, who said he spoke to Vinik's representatives about their desire to buy the Marriott in the last two to three weeks. "I know that they were interested, and they were going to pursue it."...
TAMPA — Tampa's showpiece boulevard is getting more bike lanes to make it safer for both cyclists and motorists.
The City Council this week approved spending $505,882 to create a bike lane on Bayshore Boulevard from south of Rome Avenue to just south of Howard Avenue.
Watch for construction to start in October and be done by April. That means the contractor, Florida Safety Contractors of Tampa, will have to coordinate its work with Gasparilla planners....
09/18/14 Local Government
TAMPA — Landlords and their tenants will soon face $450 city fines when their rental houses host parties with under-aged drinking or illegal drug use.
The penalties can't start too soon for homeowners like Gary Smith.
Smith lives on N Ola Avenue in northern Seminole Heights across from a 4,000-square-foot house that he said has been used as a "frat house" for a couple of years....
09/17/14 Real Estate
TAMPA — After nine years without any movement, the idea of a residential tower on downtown's N Franklin Street is getting new life.
Carter & Associates, an Atlanta-based national real estate developer, is considering building a 23-story tower with 375 apartments or condominiums. The tower would go up on the 1-acre block bordered by N Franklin Street, E Tyler Street, N Florida Avenue and E Cass Street — what's known as the "Grant block."...
TAMPA — President Barack Obama arrived Tuesday evening at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base in advance of meeting with military leaders to talk strategy against Islamic State militants.
Air Force One touched down at 6:30 p.m., ahead of schedule. Obama was greeted by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa; Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command; Army Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Votel, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command; and Air Force Col. Daniel H. Tulley, the commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill....
The local organizers of the 2012 Republican National Convention last week began distributing $2.83 million left over from the event to more than 80 charities, most of them in the Tampa Bay area.
In addition, Tampa Bay Host Committee organizers said they have secured $2 million in matching funds, bringing the entire distribution to nearly $5 million.
Recipients include All Children's Hospital, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation, Belleair Community Foundation and Eckerd's Friends of the Children mentoring program....
09/15/14 Real Estate
TAMPA — Back to the drawing board for Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.
After losing Syniverse as a prospective high-profile tenant, Vinik's real estate development team has withdrawn a rezoning application to build an office building near Amalie Arena.
It also is dropping, at least for now, a related request to close Eunice Avenue for the project.
Both withdrawals came in a letter to City Hall last week....
President Barack Obama is scheduled to fly into MacDill Air Force Base late Tuesday for a briefing at U.S. Central Command, but city officials say his visit will also affect traffic in and around the southern part of downtown Tampa.
Commuters and residents will see the impact on the road, at parking garages and at businesses, city officials said, without providing further detail. Obama is expected to spend the night in Tampa and to meet with military leaders on Wednesday as they work on military plans for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria....
Downtown Tampa traffic to be affected
TAMPA — President Barack Obama is scheduled to fly into MacDill Air Force Base late today for a briefing at U.S. Central Command, but city officials say his visit will also affect traffic in and around the southern part of downtown Tampa.
Obama is first traveling today to Atlanta to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for an Ebola crisis briefing....
09/13/14 Human Interest
TAMPA — Nothing like Fanboy Expo Tampa to bring out a kaleidoscope of humanity.
The celebrities — stars who made their names for everything from The Six Million Dollar Man to The Walking Dead — are the draw, but really the fans are the show.
Saturday's edition of the three-day event, expected to draw a total of 5,000 people, turned the Hilton Tampa Downtown into a pop-culture jukebox....
TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn raised his city's profile in the discussion about the future of the Tampa Bay Rays by saying in 2011 that City Hall could, in theory, contribute up to $100 million toward a new ballpark in downtown Tampa.
Three years later, Tampa still expects to have millions in cash on hand after it pays off its convention center bonds. But it also has other potential contenders emerging for that money....
09/12/14 Local Government
TAMPA — For the third time in three years, a major bond rating agency has upgraded its assessment of the city of Tampa's credit.
Standard & Poor's on Friday raised its rating on what's considered to be the city's general credit rating from AA+ to AAA, its highest rating for municipalities.
"We view the city's management conditions as very strong, with strong financial practices," Standard & Poor's wrote in a five-page report on the decision....
TAMPA — Saying he has "the only job I ever really wanted," Mayor Bob Buckhorn filed papers Friday to seek a second term in Tampa's municipal elections on March 3.
"There is a lot of momentum moving Tampa forward, and I want to finish the job I was hired to do," he said.
So far, Buckhorn is the only candidate in the race, and people who follow city politics say they aren't hearing of strong challengers getting ready to step forward. Candidates can get in the race until qualifying ends in mid-January....
09/11/14 Real Estate
TAMPA — The first in what is expected to be a series of projects to create an entertainment district around the Amalie Arena cleared an early hurdle Thursday night.
The City Council voted 6-0, with Mary Mulhern absent, to give initial approval to a 400-room hotel proposed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.
The rezoning, which comes up for a second hearing and a final vote Oct. 2, is expected to allow Vinik and his partners to move ahead, pick a hotel operator, then develop more detailed plans for a 2.8-acre parking lot just west of the arena....
09/09/14 Local Government
TAMPA — Bob Buckhorn has worked for nearly 3½ years to put his stamp on Tampa's urban core but never like this.
On Tuesday, the Tampa mayor unveiled an ambitious plan to transform a large but all-but-forgotten park on the edge of downtown into a destination.
Estimated cost: more than $20 million.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Buckhorn said during a news conference at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, 23 acres on the west bank of the Hillsborough River across from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. "It's not inexpensive, but I think it is worth doing."...