Changes coming to Tampa's skyline; 153 stories in the works

7:19 AM, May 20, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- The skyline of Downtown Tampa is growing by 153 floors. 10 News has reviewed the documents and plans calling for that many new buildings and renovations.

The area's adding enough stories to fill one and a half Empire State Buildings.

It's offices; shopping; and just under 3,000 apartment, hotel, and condo units. All of it bound for Tampa's Downtown.

To open the flagship showroom and corporate headquarters for the C.I. Group, Manny Bhuller and Drew Marshall could have picked anywhere in the Southeast.

They chose an old department store on Downtown Tampa's Franklin Street.

"Just being down here -- the energy that it brings to our employees and to the staff has been incredible in the first month that we've been here," Bhuller said.

"There's always so much activity down here. Come down here any weekend and you will see something going on -- a music festival, a food festival," Marshall said.

Here's a snapshot of the transformation. Last month, the C.I. Group, which designs and furnishes modern office spaces, moved into a storefront that's more than 85 years old.

Inside, they've left the historic brick work and even some of the old paint, and blended it with an office that's new and sleek. This is a metaphor for the rebirth that Tampa's downtown has seen in just a handful of years.

After a recession and housing bubble, Downtown's momentum appears to be hurtling forward.

A 10 News review of records from the Tampa Downtown Partnership and other sources shows an estimated 153 new floors of projects are on the way to downtown.

That includes new construction and big renovations, going up now or coming soon. The number's approximate, with some designs set to change before they join the skyline.

"People want to be in a downtown that's hip, that's cool, that's vibrant, that's open 18 hours a day, that offers alternatives for restaurants and bars and affordable housing," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said.

"They want a downtown that's diverse -- and our city certainly is."

Mayor Buckhorn says the secret is building a table with three legs: people living, playing, and working downtown.

The city has come far with the places to live and play. Tampa's next big step, Buckhorn says, will take more work.

"We need to have more job growth in Downtown. We need more corporations relocating here. We need businesses expanding," Buckhorn said.

"I think as the economy turns around, which it has, you're going to see more of that."

Here's a number from Mayor Buckhorn that sums this up. In the past eleven years, he says the number of people living in Downtown Tampa has gone from 600 to around 15,000.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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