TAMPA, FL – Commit Tampa’s existing waterfront district to memory while you can.
In a few years, the skyline of the Water Street Tampa neighborhood will look completely different.
One of the largest downtown real estate developments in the United States, the Water Street Tampa redevelopment project is well underway.
When fully built out, it will include more than nine million square feet of commercial, residential, hospitality, educational, entertainment, cultural and retail space.
The 55-acre multi-use redevelopment plan for the downtown waterfront district is the vision of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. His development company, Strategic Property Partners, joined forces with Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment LLC to undertake the $3 billion Water Street Tampa project.
Last week, the project took a significant step forward, breaking ground on a 26-story, 519-room JW Marriott hotel that is expected to open in 2020.
The $200 million hotel will be adjacent to the Tampa Convention Center and Amalie Arena, and will have 100,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including the largest hotel ballroom in Tampa Bay at approximately 30,000 square feet.
The JW Marriott Tampa hotel will also have multiple social spaces; a full-service spa and fitness center; a pool and sun terrace; a full-service, ground-floor restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating; and other neighborhood-serving retail outlets. There will also be a rooftop lounge and terrace on the 26th floor, making it the highest rooftop bar in Tampa Bay.
Also soon to make its appearance in Tampa’s skyline is the 173-room Tampa Edition hotel, which will offer multiple social and amenity spaces for guests and residents, including a rooftop pool with adjacent bar and restaurant, as well as a spa and fitness center. Anchoring the ground floor will be a selection of curated restaurant and retail spaces. The Tampa Edition is expected to open in 2021.
In addition to the two new hotels, the 727-room Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina is undergoing $40 million in renovations. Work began last fall and will continue throughout 2018.
“Through our partnership with Marriott, we’re thrilled to offer a one-of-a-kind hospitality experience to residents and visitors alike across these three very unique hotels, while also elevating the hospitality experience in Tampa Bay,” said SPP Chief Executive Officer James Nozar. “Breaking ground on the JW Marriott Tampa is a momentous milestone for the broader neighborhood we are creating. Water Street Tampa aims to add a fresh new perspective to Tampa’s ongoing urban renaissance, offering a new destination for travelers and providing Tampa residents with an exciting new space to explore and enjoy every day.”
The JW Marriott Tampa and Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina hotels are located adjacent to one another and will create the largest collection of hotel rooms and meeting space in Tampa Bay, with 1,246 rooms and 150,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
The hotel complex is among 10 buildings Strategic Property Partners is constructing as part of its master plan to transform Water Street Tampa neighborhood into a walkable mixed-used community where 23,000 people will live, work and visit.
Next year, SPP plans to break ground on the office buildings, apartments, condominium complex, a grocery store, a gym and about 50 new neighborhood-oriented retailers and restaurants for a total of 3.5 million square feet in the first phase of development, expected to be completed in 2021.
“Tampa has become one of the most sought-after cities because of its high quality of life, affordability and culture,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “Downtown Tampa has long been earmarked for development. The new JW Marriott Tampa and the Tampa Edition will introduce an incredible hospitality offering with premium amenities to the city, complementing the transformational Water Street Tampa neighborhood and enhancing Tampa’s ongoing renaissance.”
The catalyst for the Water Street Tampa development was last September’s groundbreaking for the $153 million University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute.
Expected to be finished in late 2019, it will bring about 1,800 students, faculty and staff to the downtown waterfront. It will conveniently position the medical college in close proximity to USF Health’s primary teaching and clinical affiliate, Tampa General Hospital, as well as its world-class simulation center, the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation and other surrounding facilities.
The facility will include classrooms, clinic areas, an auditorium and laboratories.
“A project of this magnitude moves forward because of the commitment of so many of our partners, and this is an outstanding example of the private and public sectors coming together to benefit the Tampa Bay region,” said USF President Judy Genshaft . “When this is complete in 2019, the result will be improved health outcomes through superior education, training, and research.”
Also considering a move to Water Street Tampa at Vinik’s invitation is the Museum of Science & Industry, which has been struggling at its current location on Fowler Avenue.
Image via Strategic Property Partners
The new JW Marriott will feature Tampa Bay’s largest ballroom.
Image via USF
The USF Health’s Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute is expected to be completed in 2019.