1. News

Carlton: Tampa Heights is exploding! And we can learn from it.

The Hall on Franklin is a restaurant collective with some of the biggest names in the city's food scene. It is part of the commercial boom transforming Tampa Heights. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
The Hall on Franklin is a restaurant collective with some of the biggest names in the city's food scene. It is part of the commercial boom transforming Tampa Heights. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published May 2, 2018

Tampa Heights is exploding.

It's on fire.

It's killing it.

And a lot of other over-the-top cliches.

Inevitably, the steamrolling success of downtown Tampa — parks, bars, residences, restaurants, boat taxis, the Riverwalk — is pushing north of Interstate 275 into Tampa Heights, known as the city's first suburb. Its historic red brick streets are now officially the site of Tampa's Next Big Thing.

Already, people are spilling into the restored trolley barn full of restaurants, Armature Works, into the loud and rowdy food hall on Franklin Street, over to Ulele restaurant in the pretty park, to breweries and coffee shops. People are running, biking, and walking dogs — dog walking being the surest sign that a place is officially there.

Doesn't matter that much if it still looks like a dusty construction site — dirt piles, orange traffic barrels, ripped-up streets, road-closed signs — like the party got started before we had the chance to clean up. This is Tampa, where we've been waiting for this kind of respectful blend of history and development for a long time. We'll take it.

Now here's the trick: not letting success get away from Tampa Heights when it comes to parking, walkability, traffic and noise.

S Howard Avenue, anyone? Because there are lessons in the popularity of that South Tampa strip crowded with some of the city's busiest restaurants and bars, lessons that are reverberating in Hyde Park and other neighborhoods around it.

Turned out people who came to party also wanted to park, but so did residents who found their historic (and historically narrow) streets jammed. There's music from bars. There's traffic. These are neighborhoods used to having the ear of city leaders who have worked to make it work.

Can the city manage to manage Tampa Heights?

Already, parking can be at a premium even with Armature's vast lot. Some of the more popular venues have wisely added valet service. (Valet! Tampa Heights has arrived, or at least re-arrived from its former heyday.)

But once those new apartments called the Pearl fill with hipsters eager to take advantage of all those Heights venues, how long before people on surrounding neighborhood streets start feeling the parking and traffic pinch?

Palm Avenue, an east-west connector and alternative to oft-jammed Columbus Drive, has already been put on a "road diet" — the official term of the moment — taking it down from four lanes to two with bike lanes added. Good for people, not so much for cars.

And speaking of walkability, it's nice when you're strolling along the water on the Riverwalk. But dare go east to the Hall on Franklin or that gem of a relocated bookstore, Inkwood, and you'll find precious few crosswalks thus far. Getting to the other side of the NASCAR track into the downtown that is Tampa Street remains a dicey proposition.

Sure does seems like a good time to move forward on the idea of extending the streetcar system north from downtown, doesn't it?

So: Go, Tampa Heights. Here's to the dust clearing on the old and new in a place where we can hopefully learn from the past.


  1. Gabriel Tillman faces charges of grand theft for the fire extinguisher, as well as petit theft and criminal mischief ($200 or less). [Polk County Sheriff's Office]
    Video shows Gabriel Tillman push, punch, hip check and ultimately use a fire extinguisher to try to smash his way through a locked door.
  2. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., hits in the batting cage during a meeting with minor league baseball players and officials at FunCity Turf, Sunday in Burlington, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) [CHARLIE NEIBERGALL  |  AP]
    The Democratic presidential candidate is aggressively opposing a Major League Baseball plan to cut 42 minor league baseball teams.
  3. Shane Sheil, 16, only wanted three things for Christmas, an Xbox 360, a skateboard and a family.  After a story about Shane ran in the St. Petersburg Times, the community responded, and two of his three wishes have already been fulfilled.  Someone donated an Xbox 360 to him, and a local skateboard shop offered to let him come in and pick out anything he wanted.  He now spends his days playing games like Need for Speed Carbon with friends, and said he hopes he can go get the skateboard up soon.  (MELISSA LYTTLE | Times) [LYTTLE, MELISSA  |  St. Petersburg Times]
    The generosity of more than 100 people Shane Sheil, a 16-year-old in Pinellas County’s foster care system, never met changed his life.
  4. Shane Sheil, 16, rides his bike to and from school every day.  He prides himself on his speed as well as being self-sufficient.   (MELISSA LYTTLE | Times) [LYTTLE, MELISSA  |  St. Petersburg Times]
    “I wish someone would actually be there for me, you know? I’m outgoing. I can bring joy. I just want to be adopted.”
  5. From the left: Christyana Richardson, 10, Terrence Simpson, 11, Sherina Akins, 33, Tharon Simpson, 12, Isaiah Shine, 11 months-old and Bronchea King, 5, near their home in North Miami. [MATIAS J. OCNER MOCNER | Miami Herald]
    Sherina Akins, a single mother of three, adopted a cousin’s two children who were about to be placed in foster care.
  6. Elias Alan-Arturo Flor, 19, of Wahneta was charged with battery and committing a lewd act in front of a child 16 or younger after turning himself into authorities. [Winter Haven Police Department]
    Elias Alan-Arturo Flor was arrested after turning himself in at the police station.
  7. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    The suspect and the victim did not know each other prior to the shooting.
  8. Former FBI Director James Comey talks with "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace, Sunday morning, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf) [KEVIN WOLF  |  AP]
    The report did not find evidence for the most sensational of President Donald Trump’s claims, including that he had been wiretapped and illegally spied on.
  9. Trapped flower vendors are pulled out from a collapsed wall following an earthquake that struck Padada, Davao del Sur province, southern Philippines on Sunday. A strong quake jolted the southern Philippines on Sunday, causing a three-story building to collapse and prompting people to rush out of shopping malls, houses and other buildings in panic, officials said. (AP Photo/John Angelo Jomao-as) [JOHN ANGELO JOMAO-AS  |  AP]
    A child was killed when a wall of her house tumbled down as the ground shook and hit her in the head, officials said.
  10. This image made from undated video provided by Zola shows a scene of its advertisement. Under pressure from a conservative advocacy group, The Hallmark Channel has pulled the ads for wedding-planning website Zola that featured same-sex couples, including two brides kissing. The family-friendly network, which is in the midst of its heavily watched holiday programming, removed the ads because the controversy was a distraction, a spokesperson said in an interview on Saturday. (Zola via AP) [AP]
    The ad featured two brides kissing at the altar.