TAMPA — Ybor City’s long-awaited $52 million boutique hotel now has a historic name to match its positioning on a historic block: Hotel Haya.
The name pays homage to one of Ybor’s founding fathers, Ignacio Haya.
The four-story hotel on the 1400 block of E. Seventh Avenue broke ground last year. Now its developers, Chicago’s Aparium Hotel Group, have announced it will open in the spring of 2020.
"Hotel Haya offers a rare opportunity to reflect on the deep layers and stories of one of America’s most unique, historic neighborhoods and bring new life into its future evolution in a very meaningful and purposeful fashion,” the hotel group’s co-founder, Kevin Robinson, said in a statement.
What will soon be a hotel of nearly 180 rooms was most recently a parking lot.
The block’s history is as packed as it is varied: It has been home to clubs with massive dance floors and famous drag shows. It once housed a gambling house and bordello run by Tampa crime boss Charlie Wall.
Ever further back, legend has it, a detachment of Teddy Roosevelt’s 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry rode horses into a restaurant’s dining room on the block before heading off to San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War.
In the late 1800s, Haya built his first cigar factory in Ybor’s 1500 block and became a staple in the community. He became the first president of El Centro Espanol, a mutual aid society that helped immigrants from Spain. He donated most of his money to start the society, which provided health care and other aid. A park on River Boulevard in Tampa also bears Haya’s name.
Aparium Hotel Group partnered with Alfonso Architects to design the hotel with the aesthetics of mid-century Havana. The developers say they want the hotel to feel as eclectic as the district and buildings that surround it.
The ground-floor lobby will have a 152-seat restaurant and 42-seat cafe. There will be an interior courtyard with a swimming pool and lounge.
“The Ybor City market is growing tremendously, with a younger, vibrant demographic moving into the urban core,” the development group’s other co-founder, Mario Tricoci, said in statement. “We are looking forward to delivering an experience that will complement Ybor’s character, as well as offer something new to the city.”
Already, Aparium operates nine boutique hotels across the country. The hospitality group will open six more in 2020, including Hotel Haya.