• September 26, 2016

Buckhorn Moves Forward with Tampa’s Urban Transformation

Buckhorn Moves Forward with Tampa’s Urban Transformation

Just east of Tampa’s City Hall sits a prime block of downtown property. The area along N Florida Avenue, between E Kennedy Boulevard and E Jackson Street, has been owned by the city for nearly 20 years; but, that could soon change.

Three groups have made offers to develop the city-owned block. Among them are some big-name local players.

Mill Creek Residential, based in Orlando, has completed more than 90 development projects across the country. After completing the 5,000 apartments in the development phase this year, the company will have an impressive 25.000 under its belt.

HRI Properties of New Orleans has completed 70 major development projects, totaling more than $2 billion in apartments, hotels, offices, and retail.

Development Services Group, the Framework Group, and Forge Capital Partners teamed up to bid on the urban project. Development Services group is a Mephis-based company that led the $26 million transformation of Tampa’s federal courthouse, turning the old building into the new boutique Le Méridien Hotel. The latter two companies, both based in Tampa, are already partnering on developing a 21-story apartment building on Tampa’s Harbour Island.

A fourth proposal was submitted late, and though it won’t be considered, it speaks to the interest Tampa is garnering both within the city and around the country.

“These proposals reflect the increasing interest in Tampa’s urban core and the demand for a true live, work and play environment,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn in a statement released in early September. “We look forward to reviewing each one and choosing the proposal that most closely fits the city’s vision for this property.”

Buckhorn feels developing the block, which is now a parking lot across from City Hall, is a crucial part of developing Tampa’s urban core. After reviewing the project proposal, the mayor referred to the land as the potential “new crown jewel of our skyline.”

Not many more details have been released about the development proposals. Due to Florida law, the city will not be able to announce information regarding the proposals, including bidding prices, for another 30 days, unless city officials announce their intent to award a contract sooner.

The city’s July request called for proposals for multi-use buildings, including office spaces, retail stores, hotel rooms, or multi-family residential areas. City officials also emphasized the necessity for the project to allow for about 200 parking spaces in its garage to be used by the city.

The land, purchased by the city in 1997 for $1.3 million, is now estimated to be worth nearly $2.7 million, according to the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser.

In making their final decision, Tampa officials will consider the significance of the financial offer, but will place a greater emphasis on each developer’s experience in building downtown living, working, and shopping spaces, architectural sensitivity to the existing area, and financial track record. For more information regarding Tampa’s urban transformation, [Click Here].