Tampa's love affair with pirates is admittedly a little strange, but undeniable. From football teams to annual festivals to the logo of the city's toll road, Tampa is a pirate-crazy town.
So it only makes sense that a New York City development group, shopping for a home for a $70-million, state-of-the-art pirate museum, would be looking at the Tampa waterfront.
The museum and entertainment attraction would focus on the Whydah, an actual pirate ship that plied the waters off Florida before sinking off Cape Cod. Relics and a replica of the ship would be the heart of the ambitious project.
Today, Tampa government and business leaders are making a pitch to the developers, who are also looking hard at a spot on the Boston waterfront.
Aside from its pirate heritage and ongoing pirate hoopla, we think there are other compelling reasons why this project should drop anchor in Tampa.
First, it is a win-win situation for both sides. The developers have all the financing in place. They will ask for no public money, only a favorable lease from the Tampa Port Authority, which controls the land on Garrison Channel adjacent to Harbour Island.
Second, the museum would rise just a stone's throw from the Florida Aquarium. Once completed, the aquarium is expected to draw more than 1-million visitors a year. Visitors who would likely check out a pirate museum as well.
There is also Busch Gardens, the Tampa Convention Center and nearby Ybor City, all of which will bring millions more tourists per year to the museum's doorstep.
Boston was the original site for the project, but the development group has run into problems there. We think it would be only fitting that Tampa's pirates hijack the project from the cold north seas and haul it back to the warm and welcoming Gulf of Mexico.