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Water Street Tampa to include residential building with grocery store, apartments and condos

The first residential building at Water Street Tampa will have one tower with rental apartments and a second with condominiums, both rising from a base featuring a full-service grocery store, developers said Thursday.

The building at 815 Water Street is planned for the intersection of Water Street and Channelside Drive, next to Amalie Arena and the Tampa Bay History Center. It is expected to break ground in 2018 with an opening in late 2020.

The residential and retail building is the latest piece of a $3 billion plan for downtown Tampa to be unveiled by Strategic Property Partners, the joint venture between Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Cascade Investment, the investment fund launched by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Plans call for the 21-story rental tower to be perpendicular to Channelside Drive. The 26-story condominium tower — one of Tampa's first new for-purchase residential towers in nearly a decade — would be angled towards the water, affording residents views of the waterfront and downtown Tampa.

"We think a lot about what would we need to create a real neighborhood downtown," Strategic Property Partners CEO James Nozar says, and an urban grocery store is a key piece of that. "It needs to be walkable from the core of our project."

SPP's announcement included no mention of whether the company has an agreement to bring a particular grocery store chain to the building. The plan for a condo tower comes as a leader in the industry sees Tampa's market as stronger for rental than for high-end urban condos, and on the same day that a competing project, the 24-story Virage on Bayshore Boulevard, broke ground.

The towers at 815 Water Street will share a green roof designed by Miami-based landscape architect Raymond Jungles Inc., with amenities for residents of both, and each tower will have a roof-top pool.

The rooftop amenities are possible because Water Street Tampa will have a central air-conditioning plant for all of its buildings.

For those spaces developers have been thinking green: landscaping, even to include full-grown trees atop some buildings, as well as possibilities such as gardens.

"Generally every one of (the buildings) has a ton of green integrated into the face and the rooftops," Nozar said in an interview earlier this year.

At ground level, the building will be at the southern end of Water Street, which is designed to be include shady rows of trees — "as large and mature growth trees as we can possibly get," Nozar says — on each side of the street.

The project is being designed by KPF in partnership with interior design firm Cecconi Simone and is the first in Tampa for KPF, an international design firm with offices on three continents. The finished product will bring in materials textures that are both "super refined and rough, which will make this project look distinct and unique," KPF design principal Trent Tesch said in a statement, plus a video on the building's design, released through Strategic Property Partners.

A 50-ACRE VISION: Water Street Tampa unveils video showing downtown's transformation (with video)

Already construction is underway on one major piece of Water Street Tampa, with more to follow.

In September, the University of South Florida started construction on its 13-story Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Health Institute. When it opens in late 2019, the $164.7 million tower will bring an estimated 2,275 faculty, researchers, staff and students to Water Street Tampa, creating a hub that developers hope will attract private bio-tech and health companies.

In August, Strategic Property Partners outlined plans for 10 Water Street, a 500-room hotel with a four-story atrium, 26th floor rooftop terrace and lounge, 126,000 square feet of meeting space and 30,000-square-foot ballroom. Construction is expected to start in early 2018 on 2.8 acres next to Amalie Arena, and the hotel could open in 2020.

Strategic Property Partners also plans a $40 million renovation of the Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, which it bought in 2014 for $150 million, and plans a third, smaller boutique hotel with about 150 rooms.

And in one corner of the project, developers are not building, but demolishing.

Coming down is the southwest wing of the under-used Channelside Bay Plaza restaurant and entertainment complex, though some well-known businesses like Splitsville and Hooters are still open.

In the wing's place is planned a waterfront park with a small stage, outdoor seating and pop-up bars and restaurants housed in recycled shipping containers. It could open by the National Hockey League All-Star Weekend on Jan. 27 and 28.