1. Business

Three developers bid for prime downtown Tampa city block

Tampa officials in July issued a request for proposals from developers interested in the city-owned block along N Florida Avenue, between E Kennedy Boulevard and E Jackson Street, just east of City Hall. [RICHARD DANIELSON | Times]
Published Sep. 14, 2016

TAMPA — Three companies have made offers to develop a prime downtown city block that City Hall has owned for nearly 20 years.

Submitting proposals for what is now a parking lot at N Florida Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard are:

• Mill Creek Residential of Orlando, which has developed more than 20,000 apartments in 90 projects nationwide, with 5,000 more under development this year.

• HRI Properties, a New Orleans-based company that's done 70 big projects encompassing $2 billion in apartments, hotels, office and retail.

• A team with three big Tampa players: Development Services Group, the Framework Group of Tampa and Forge Capital Partners of Tampa.

Development Services Group, based in Memphis, was the lead company for the $26 million transformation three years ago of the old federal courthouse on N Florida Avenue into the boutique Le Méridien Hotel. Phillip Smith from the Framework Group and Robert Moreyra of Forge Capital Partners are teaming up on a 21-story apartment tower under construction on Harbour Island.

"These proposals reflect the increasing interest in Tampa's urban core and the demand for a true live, work and play environment," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a statement late Monday. "We look forward to reviewing each one and choosing the proposal that most closely fits the city's vision for this property."

Tampa officials did not release any other details of the proposals Monday, including the prices offered for the land. Under Florida statutes, the proposals themselves are exempt from disclosure as public records for 30 days or until the city announces its intention to award a contract sooner.

Buckhorn has called the block "the most prominent undeveloped parcel" in downtown and said it could be "the new crown jewel of our skyline."

In July, the city put out a request for proposals from developers for mixed-use projects featuring office, retail, hotel rooms or housing. As part of any development, the city wanted the successful developer to provide about 200 spaces in its garage for use by the city.

City Hall bought the land, previously the site of the Cold Storage Cafe, for $1.3 million in 1997. The Hillsborough County Property Appraiser estimates its current market value at nearly $2.7 million.

City officials have said they won't necessarily base a decision solely on who offers the most money. Successful proposals, they said, will demonstrate experience in developing downtown residential, office or retail projects, architectural sensitivity to the surrounding area and a solid financial track record.


  1. Bins filled with products move on conveyor belts at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Ruskin. Amazon just announced it will open a similar center in Auburndale, Fla. (Times | 2018) Tampa Bay Times
    The new center will span more than 1 million square feet and be No. 11 in the state.
  2. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times
A shot taken on June 4, 2019 during the 12-week demolition of the Harborview Center which began in April on the corner of Cleveland Street and Osceola Avenue in downtown Clearwater. The project is a key part of the city's roughly $64-million Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment project. Will residents move downtown once it is done? DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    “It’s our biggest challenge,” one city official said.
  3. Although people with insurance pay nothing when they get their flu shot, many don’t realize that their insurers foot the bill — and that those companies will recoup their costs eventually.
    Federal law requires health insurers to cover the vaccines at no charge to patients, but the companies eventually recoup the cost through higher premiums.
  4. The Overstreet house at 1018 S. Frankland Rd. is seen in this Dec. 2018 photo from Google Earth. Google Earth
    The family says the house took two years too long to build and claims the contractor subbed high-end parts for low-quality materials.
  5. Port Tampa Bay president and CEO Paul Anderson. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times (2017)]
    Port commissioners approved the raise after a year with milestone achievements on several fronts.
  6. A rendering of the proposed Edge Collective in St. Petersburg's Edge District. Storyn Studio for Architecture
    The "Hall on Central'' will be managed by Tampa’s Hall on Franklin team.
  7. Mango Plaza in Seffner has sold for $12.49 million. The plaza is anchored by a Publix and Walmart, making it attractive to a Baltimore investment firm. (Continental Realty Corporation)
    Mango Plaza’s new owners are based out of Baltimore.
  8. The Southernmost Point marker in Key West. CAROL TEDESCO  |  AP
    The travel website put the Florida Keys on its list of places not to visit.
  9. Philanthropist David Straz Jr. and his wife Catherine celebrate in March after he advanced into the Tampa mayoral run-off election. Mr. Straz has died at the age of 77. TAILYR IRVINE  |  Times
    The former mayoral candidate who lost to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor earlier this year, died Monday while on a fishing trip in Homosassa. His name, and legacy, are integral to Tampa.
  10. The Chick-fil-A on Dale Mabry in South Tampa. The company announced Monday it will no longer donate to The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
    The groups have faced criticism for their opposition to same-sex marriage.