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Change is coming: Development projects to watch in 2019

If you’re planning to be out of town in 2019 for more than a week, prepare for change when you return.

That’s how fast building projects are getting started, being topped off and finishing up in time for people to move in throughout the Tampa Bay Area.

The biggest and most anticipated may be Water Street Tampa, a $3-billion, 53-acre reconfiguration of downtown between the Tampa Convention Center and the Florida Aquarium. The development by Strategic Property Partners is a joint venture of Jeff Vinik, the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Cascade Investments, LLC.

“Within three years of announcing the vision for Water Street Tampa, SPP [Strategic Property Partners] has made significant progress towards the initial phase of the neighborhood,” says James Nozar, CEO of SPP, in a news release. “Since beginning vertical construction in April [2018], we’ve seen an unprecedented level of activity on-site. We look forward to what 2019 has in store, with groundbreakings planned on six additional buildings, celebrating the topping out of the Tampa JW Marriott hotel, and the continued renovation of Sparkman Wharf, ultimately bringing us closer to the comprehensive and forward-thinking urban neighborhood that we’re creating here.”

In addition, Water Street Tampa plans two new residential projects, 1010 Water Street, designed by Morris Adjmi Architects, and 1077 Water Street, designed by COOKFOX, with both project’s planned to break ground before year’s end in 2019.

New medical school

Part of the Water Street Tampa project includes a new USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute.

This 13-story, 395,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in late 2019 for 1,800 students, faculty, researchers, and staff working in a state-of-the-art hub for medical education and research located in close proximity to USF Health’s primary teaching hospital, Tampa General Hospital, and its Center for Advanced Medical Learning Simulation (CAMLS) facility.

“The building will be a key driver of economic activity for the Tampa Bay Area by helping to generate a substantial increase in research grant funding, attract new biotech companies to the region and position USF to move up in U.S. News & World Report’s medical school rankings,’’ says Tom Woolf, Associate Director of USF Communications & Marketing. “USF Health has already recruited more than half of the 31 faculty researchers planned for the Heart Institute.’’

Since announcing the facility, medical school applications have increased by more than 50 percent. The incoming group of medical students from fall 2018 had the highest median MCAT score in Florida, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, and represent the university’s most competitive class ever.

The total project, which is designed to withstand potential hurricanes, storm surges, and flooding, is expected to cost $173 million, and use 47,000 tons of concrete and 2.5 million feet of rebar (stretched out the rebar would reach from Tampa to Atlanta).

Long-term, the project is expected to attract more than a $28 million increase in National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding within five years, according to USF, and is expected to generate $66 million-$73 million annually in new economic activity.

What’s up with Feldman projects?

Just a few blocks west of Water Street Tampa, Feldman Equities will complete the buildout of a brand-new Buddy Brew location in downtown Tampa at its Park Tower building in early 2019.

“We are concurrently completing a multimillion-dollar renovation plan, including a total lobby renovation, as well as exterior modernizations,’’ says Mack Feldman of Feldman Equities.

Separately, Feldman is working on the Riverwalk Place project with co-developer Two Roads Development:

“Developers of the Riverwalk Place tower proudly opened a luxurious sales gallery in downtown Tampa, as future residents have already placed deposits on nearly $70 million worth of condominiums before sales formally opened,’’ Feldman says. “The tower will rise at the intersection of Ashley Drive South and Whiting Street West and will feature at least four restaurants along the Riverwalk, a “Sky Lobby,” and more than 200 luxury condominiums. Construction on the tower is set to commence in early 2019.”

Get used to saying Midtown

Midtown Tampa, a $500-million new urban District at I-275 and Dale Mabry Highway, is a 22-acre, mixed-use campus anchored by a flagship Whole Foods Market taking up 48,000 square feet.

The 1.8 million-square-foot development project will start vertical construction in the first quarter of 2019, according to information provided by The Bromley Companies. The demolition of the existing buildings was completed in 2018 along with the installation of site work infrastructure in preparation for Whole Foods, Crescent Communities’ 400 multifamily units, 220 hotel rooms and Midtown One, the first of three office towers.

The first phase of the $500M project is on track to be completed in late 2020.

Midtown Tampa’s Central Park, a key amenity, will also begin to take shape. The central area will host larger community events ranging from yoga, concerts, art festivals to holiday tree lightings. The vision for a new urban District is a holistic “city within a city.” A thoughtful master plan to ensure connectivity between visitors, residents and office employees includes a three-acre shimmering lake, fitness trail and dog park — all crystalizing in perfect harmony with the Midtown District vibe.

“2019 will be a pivotal year as Midtown Tampa creates the foundation for what will become an undeniably magnetic and energetic new urban district in Tampa,” says Midtown Tampa Developer Nicholas Haines, CEO of The Bromley Companies. “There’s tremendous excitement in the region about Midtown Tampa coming to life soon. Watch for more high-profile office deals being finalized, first-to-market retail announcements, and the creation of an entirely new neighborhood.”

Let’s not forget St. Pete

Twenty minutes away to the southwest in downtown St. Petersburg, the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, is nearing completion after nearly 5 years of architectural design and more than 28 months of construction. The 5-story, 137,000-square-foot building is the only museum in the United States dedicated exclusively to the Arts and Crafts movement.

MAACM Founder Rudy Ciccarello and award-winning Architect Alberto Alfonso of Tampa are behind the design and construction, which is on schedule to be completed in June of 2019. MAACM is working on plans for a grand opening in Fall 2019.

The museum will be the repository for the collection of more than 2,000 art objects of the Two Red Roses Foundation of Palm Harbor in Pinellas County. The collection contains many rare and one-of-a-kind examples of furniture, pottery, lighting, tiles and architectural faience, woodblock prints, photography, and fine art from the most important artists and enterprises of the period.

In addition to 45,000 square feet of dedicated, permanent gallery space, and 10,000 square feet reserved for special exhibitions, the museum will include a children’s education center, an auditorium, a working graphics studio, a library, a museum store, a café, and a destination restaurant. The museum’s grand interior atrium will be a welcoming public space for visitors to gather, shop in the museum store, and enjoy a snack or lunch.

“The combination of available resources and public accessibility will establish MAACM as a valuable contributor to the cultural reputation of our region,’’ says Ciccarello. “In addition, MAACM plans a robust education agenda with public programming aimed at improving the lives of children, adults, families, and students.’’

New residential spaces at USFSP

On the south side of downtown St. Petersburg, a new 375-bed residence hall is going up at USF St. Petersburg to give students more affordable housing options downtown while increasing the number of beds on campus by nearly 70 percent.

The Florida Board of Governors approved the $33 million project in November 2018. It is scheduled to open in July 2020. Once complete, it will expand on-campus student housing from approximately 550 beds to more than 900. It will also support efforts to further improve student success.

The project was made possible by leveraging the collective strengths of the USF System. Revenues derived from USF Tampa’s current student housing were used to provide a bond capacity to fund the new USFSP residence hall. The six-story building will be approximately 125,000 square feet and include a full-service dining hall, which the university currently does not have. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2019.

Cranes perched everywhere

Among many other construction projects in the Bay Area:

-St. Joseph’s Hospital expansion is nearing completion off MLK Boulevard near Himes Avenue in West Tampa.

-The Dunedin Blue Jays plan to begin renovating their baseball stadium on Douglas Avenue after spring training ends in 2019.

-BayCare is expected to begin construction in 2019 on a new 60-bed hospital in Wesley Chapel in Pasco County north of Tampa.

-The Westshore Marina District, a 52-acre mixed-use community that will include 70,000 square feet of retail and office space located near some 2,400 new homes being built on or adjacent to the property, is taking shape near Gandy and Westshore boulevards in South Tampa.

-Tampa International Airport is continuing its master plan expansion, adding express lanes for travelers with no checked baggage and developing 17-acres of commercial space around the rental car center.

-Several new condominium towers are under construction on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa and near Beach Drive in St. Petersburg. Dozens of new apartment buildings are going up in both cities along with new independent hotels.

-The Straz Center in downtown Tampa is looking to start a capital campaign to support a major expansion.

-Port Tampa Bay is planning to deepen the channel connecting the Sunshine Skyway Bridge with downtown Tampa to enable bigger ships to make deliveries.

-The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is in the middle of a nearly $700 million expansion that will reinforce its position as one of America’s largest casinos, with 5,000 slot machines and almost 200 gaming tables. Slated for completion in mid-2019, the expanded casino will offer one of the largest varieties of slot machines in the nation and will offer guests approximately 200,000 square feet of entertainment and gaming.

Much, much more is underway or on the drawing board, including the expected move of the flour mill in downtown Tampa to Port Tampa Bay property in Apollo Beach.

Photo: Retail space planned next to Riverwalk Place on Tampa Riverwalk. Feldman Equities