Tampa, Florida-- Despite being more than 100 years old, Ybor City is maturing, and a metamorphosis is about to take shape on the very edges of the district. Monday night at the Italian Club, residents and business owners came to see the future.
Before the I-4 connector opened, 21st/22nd streets were industrial thoroughfares, but those will soon go through a transformation.
On the drawing board, a pedestrian-friendly passageway with new palm trees, new decorative benches and streamlined travel lanes stretching from Adamo drive to beyond 14th avenue- a long overdue facelift for the district's eastern boundary that will attract more residents and businesses.
"You have a fairly stark roadway there right now which was built for truck traffic. What you're going to see are improvements that make it more attractive to pedestrians and people who live in the neighborhood," said Bob McDonough, director of economic opportunity for the City of Tampa.
On the other side of Ybor, an empty lot will give rise to a new low-rise hotel with extra amenities designed to attract tourists and business travelers and it's location is paramount.
"This is the corner of 7th and Nuccio, and why we thought this is important was that it's the front door to Ybor," said McDonough.
Add to that, a mixed-use residential complex. Developers haven't decided on a design yet, but have submitted images of present Ybor architecture to the city. The goal is to develop something that will fit into the current aesthetics and keep Ybor's historic flavor intact.
"When you look at Ybor, that's exactly the kind of place people want to be. It has the collection of buildings; it has the restaurants; it has the ambiance that people find interesting. It's got the funk," said McDonough.
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