Advertisement
  1. News

Renovated Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa renamed for Bucs' Bryan Glazer

When completed next year, the armory will become the 100,000-square-foot Jewish Community Center. 
Published May 12, 2015

TAMPA

The Tampa Jewish Community Center on Monday celebrated the launch of its $26 million project to transform the historic Fort Homer Hesterly Armory into a new community center.

The organization also unveiled a new name for the facility: the Bryan Glazer Family JCC, in honor of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers co-chairman who has pledged $4 million to the project.

When work is completed next year, the armory at 522 N Howard Ave. should have more than 100,000 square feet of community space. The center is expected to open in September 2016.

"This is the beginning of something special," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. "This is the beginning of what Tampa will look like 10 years from now."

Many others joined Buckhorn in linking the center to a wave of development taking place throughout the city, including Jeff Vinik's revitalization of the southern end of downtown, the conversion of the old federal courthouse into the high-end Le Meridien Hotel, the rebirth of Water Works Park and the completion of the neighboring Riverwalk.

"The (building's) iconic history will never take a back seat to what this is going to offer, but what is going to happen is, this will be a catalyst for change," Hillsborough County Commission chairwoman Sandy Murman said. "We're all referring to Jeff Vinik. He's given us the redevelopment bug, and it has certainly hit West Tampa."

Facilities will include an event center with seating for more than 650, an outdoor pool, indoor track and gym. The space will also house an Innovation Center for Israeli startup companies that wish to do business in the United States, said Jack Ross, executive director of the Tampa Jewish Community Center.

In April, City Hall signed a 10-year lease to put a new city art studio in the building. The studio will host programs that have been crammed into the city's dilapidated Hyde Park Art Studio near Swann Avenue.

Monday's ceremony drew community members and elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, state Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, and Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen.

In 2013, the armory, vacant since 2004, was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The military history of the site goes back to 1898, when Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders camped on the property before sailing for Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

Completed in 1941, the art deco-style building hosted speeches by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy, who spoke there four days before he was assassinated. It also welcomed crowds for pro boxing and wrestling matches, plus concerts by Buddy Holly, James Brown, Elvis Presley, the Doors, Pink Floyd and the Ramones.

Glazer said his interest in the project piqued early on, especially as the recently married Buccaneers co-chairman thought of the experiences he'd like his future children to have one day.

"This area needed a spark," Glazer said. "The most important thing for me is that it's actually for the entire community. It's for not just the Jewish community, it's everybody. … It's going to be a fabric of this area."

The idea, Ross said, is to make these programs and opportunities available to all residents while honoring the historic relevance of the armory and the city with collages adorning the revitalized site.

"It's like a YMCA on cultural and educational steroids," Ross said. "Imagine bringing this broad spectrum of relevancy to the Tampa Bay community, all encompassed with a historic restoration project."

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. A sign seen on the front door of Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria in March, after owner Tom Woodard stopped serving drinks with plastic straws. The St. Petersburg City Council voted 5-2 on Thursday night to ban single-use plastic straws. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    The City Council tweaked its own ordinance banning single-use plastic straws, which is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
  2. Student activists with the March For Our Lives group, founded after the Feb. 2018 Parkland shooting, hold a banner that promotes their new "peace plan" to prevent gun violence, while demonstrating in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Tallahassee. Emily L. Mahoney | Times
    The 18-year-old student director of March for Our Lives Florida said school shootings are so common they are “not shocking” anymore.
  3. Steven Currall prepares to deliver an address during his investiture as the University of South Florida's seventh president Thursday at the Yuengling Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Though he started the job in July, Steve Currall is officially installed as president on his 137th day in office.
  4. Apollo Global Management has offered $130 per share for Tech Data's stock in an acquisition worth $5.4 billion. If regulators shareholders approve, the home-grown company will remain based in Pinellas County, where it employs 2,000 of its 14,000 workers. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Private equity firms like Apollo create wealth for pension funds, financial institutions and individual investors by buying assets that typically are sold later at a profit.
  5. Some of Tampa Bay's largest companies are being sold or are up for sale. Times files and Bloomin' Brands
    Tech Data is just the latest in a growing list of public companies bought up by out-of-state firms.
  6. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. He revealed a related teacher bonus plan on Nov. 14 in Vero Beach. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new plan would replace the controversial Best and Brightest model that DeSantis had called confusing.
  7. The "#9pmroutine" is a core social media feature for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Now, the agency has a copyright on it. Facebook
    Copyrighting a key part of the agency’s social media presence isn’t meant to limit its reach, the office said, but rather to stop bad actors.
  8. USF student Gabriela Young is the owner of Earth and Ivory, an online jewelry business with items made out of clay.  [Special to the Times | Sarah Foster] SARAH FOSTER  |  Special to the Times | @sarahtheartiste
    Gabriela Young went from selling bracelets to friends to making clay wares for customers with her business, Earth and Ivory.
  9. Chief Veterinarian Mallory Offner examines a female rescue puppy at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    With 250 of the pooches ready for adoption, each potential puppy parent has a 1-in-4 shot at getting picked in today’s drawing.
  10. Eight vehicles were involved in a fiery and fatal crash late Wednesday that left two people dead and shut down northbound Interstate 75 bridging Hillsborough and Pasco counties, authorities said. The driver of the white van pictured above, George Pagan of Tampa, said he saw the semi-trailer truck, left, sliding sideways toward him in his rearview mirror before impact. Pasco Fire Rescue
    The chain-reaction crash that closed the northbound lanes near the Pasco-Hillsborough line started when a semi-trailer truck driver didn’t stop for traffic, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement