TAMPA — The city of Tampa owns 18 acres of land a block from the Hillsborough River just north of downtown, and on Tuesday it invited developers to bring forth their best ideas for it.
"Three years in the making, these parcels are a blank canvas and will be transformative for the west side of the river," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in announcing the request for proposals. "I have no doubt that when completed this will be a destination for those flocking to Tampa to enjoy and for residents to treasure."
The city is seeking proposals for two parcels west of the river, south of Columbus Drive and north of Spruce Street. One consists of the city's old utility maintenance yard at 2609 N Rome Ave. The other includes ball fields at 2301 N Oregon Ave., that are being relocated as part of the larger West River development.
West River is a joint effort between the Tampa Housing Authority and the Related Group of Florida, based in Miami, to redevelop 44 acres that once were home to the now-demolished North Boulevard Homes public housing complex. Together, the housing authority and Related are developing 676 mixed-income apartments, condominiums or other types of housing in five projects with a total investment of more than $121 million. Plans call for 1,600 residences — half of them renting or selling at market prices and half of them consisting of subsidized affordable or workforce housing — plus hotels, retail and office space.
Buckhorn said developing the city's land will complete the redevelopment of the North Boulevard Homes property "in a neighborhood that has provided Tampa with its diversity and rich history for decades." The city's land is in the West Tampa Community Redevelopment Area, is part of a qualified Opportunity Zone and may be eligible for tax credits to help pay for the cleanup of former industrial "brownfield" areas.
This is the most recent piece of vacant or unused city-owned land that Buckhorn has sought to redevelop. Similar requests in the past have resulted in the creation of Ulele in the city's century-old water works building, Le Méridien Hotel in the old federal courthouse on N Florida Avenue, a new Harpoon Harry's Crab House restaurant at the Tampa Convention Center, new apartments in Ybor City and, last week, a ground-breaking for a new dual-branded Hyatt tower next to City Hall. Buckhorn has talked about the Rome Avenue equipment yard as a good spot for mid-rise apartments, but the city says in its request for proposals that it wants to encourage mixed uses and is open to residential, office, retail and hotel development. So it says it is looking for developers who have good finances, experience with those types of projects and an ability to exercise "architectural sensitivity to the proposed site" and how it relates to surrounding neighborhoods"A workforce housing component is strongly encouraged," the request says. Proposals are due to City Hall by 4 p.m. March 20. To see the proposals, go to tampagov.net/economic-and-urban-development and click on "Request for proposals."
Contact Richard Danielson at email@example.com or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times