TAMPA — With restaurants like the Independent, the Refinery, Rooster & the Till and Fodder & Shine, Tampa's Seminole Heights has won a national reputation for good food and craft beer.
Now it's getting a bigger local customer base.
Developer Wesley Burdette on Thursday marked the start of work on the Warehouse Lofts, a $5.5 million project to transform old warehouse space at 4513 N Florida Ave. into 48 apartments.
"We've got a lot of great pieces, and I think this is the density component that we've all been looking for to give that big economic push (for) Seminole Heights," Burdette said.
"There's going to be no skinny people living in here," city development official Bob McDonaugh said. "You're going to start at Nicko's for breakfast across the street, eat your way up Florida Avenue. … This will now be the headquarters for foodie central."
The project is scheduled to be complete in late September, drawing 75 to 100 new residents to a neighborhood about 2 miles north of downtown. The apartments are expected to rent for $1,000 to $1,600 a month.
Along with 38 lofts, plus studios and two-bedroom apartments surrounding a courtyard, the project will have 3,270 square feet of retail space with a rooftop terrace along N Florida Avenue.
Burdette said he hopes to attract a coffee bar, casual dining restaurant or brewery for the space.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the lofts represent another step in City Hall's effort to make sure that neighborhoods surrounding Tampa's urban core are connected to each other, walkable and inviting.
They also validate decisions that Buckhorn said the neighborhood's leadership made 25 years ago "to take ownership of its own destiny, to be different, to preserve the original architecture."
"Now look at it," he said. "This is the place that people want to be."
Contact Richard Danielson at email@example.com or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times.