Future of the Neighborhood

As connectivity to Downtown Tampa and surrounding neighborhoods is improved, Tampa Heights is expecting some great new additions

The riverfront portion of Tampa Heights is poised to continue its renaissance. SoHo Capital is continuing their multi-million dollar renovation of the historic trolley barn into a multi-use facility for entertainment, special events & small business. Located within the Tampa Heights CRA, this is the 1st phase of an ambition project that will generate a renewal of the waterfront portions of our neighborhood. The City of Tampa will be completing the Riverwalk segment between the Straz Center and Waterworks Park in the summer of 2016. Future expansion will take the Riverwalk from Ulele towards The North Boulevard Bridge tying this asset to the Green Artery through Ridgewood Park and beyond.

Franklin Street has seen increased commercial interest since the 2015 Better Block Project highlighted it’s vibrant past. As downtown Tampa expands northward, renovation of existing historic buildings as well as new construction are taking place to add to the inventory of businesses that call Tampa Heights home. Proximity to downtown, multiple access points & affordable pricing are all factors that contribute to this areas attractiveness for continued growth.

A number of transportation improvements are on the horizon for Tampa Heights. The Florida Department of Transportation is finalizing a study to determine the viability of many options regarding Florida Avenue and Tampa St. The current 1 way configuration of these roadways through Tampa Heights are not conducive to creating commerce focused corridors. Reconfiguring these arterial routes with 2 way traffic and complete street elements (protected bike lanes, medians, and widened sidewalks) can increase the viability of business development throughout Tampa Heights.

Armature Works

The Armature Works

As part of The Heights redevelopment, a historic building, The Armature Works, that is graciously being transformed into something amazing.

Situated on a 43-acre project called The Heights, Armature Works will soon be opening with two restaurants, a roof top bar, market hall and a shared workspace. There will also be two event spaces that are able to accommodate any type and size of event, one of a kind to Tampa.

Bootlegger Factory Flats

Built in 1925/1926, this is one of the remaining examples of an historic masonry vernacular commercial building located in the local historic district of Tampa Heights in Tampa. It is significant in its historic contribution to the development of the Tampa Heights neighborhood immediately north of downtown. It was built by J.H. Graham as a bottling works factory which bottled and delivered grape and orange soda to the Tampa area. Its location within the residential neighborhood was typical at the time of construction to allow employees to live and work within walking distance yet it is unusual in that the immediate area has not changed (the building still sits alone in a residential neighborhood) while areas just blocks away have changed dramatically losing historic reference. The social and economic trend of walkable neighborhoods is coming back across the nation and have ignited an urban renaissance. While the homes surrounding this residential neighborhood would probably not appreciate the noise or traffic of an operating factory next door the preservation of its history considering many of the homes were built because of the jobs the factory provided is important to the character of the neighborhood. The industrial structure will undergo an adaptive reuse into 22 residential flats that pay homage to a mysterious part of Tampa’s history. During the prohibition era Tampa was known as one of the wettest cities in the country and it is an interesting coincidence that this bottling factory was built in the middle of a residential neighborhood a couple years after the start of prohibition and closed down around the end of prohibition. While there is no official documentation we have heard stories  and there are a lot of features that lead us to believe the building could have been used for bootlegging. The proximity to the lake in Robles Park would have been very important so they had a convenient source of water. We have named the project the Bootlegger Factory Flats and Tampa’s rich prohibition history will be featured throughout the property.

City of Tampa Streetcar Extension and Modernization Feasibility Study

The Streetcar

The City of Tampa’s Center City Plan completed in 2012 recognized the need to extend the streetcar facilities and expand its operations to better serve the local population and to function as more than just a tourist attraction.

With this objective in mind, the City of Tampa is seeking to conduct a public transportation feasibility study for the extension and modernization of the Tampa Historic Streetcar. The feasibility study will evaluate how to best modernize and extend the streetcar system to integrate it as a viable transportation option for future downtown development by increasing the service area, providing extended hours and increasing the frequency of service. It will also define environmental and economic impacts allowing for future construction opportunities.

The study area is described as follows:

  • The existing 2.7‐mile long TECO Line heritage streetcar system from its western terminus at Whiting Station in downtown Tampa (at Whiting Street and Franklin Street) to its eastern terminus at Centennial Park Station in Ybor City;
  • Extension of the streetcar system from its current western terminus at Whiting Station (at Whiting Street and Franklin Street) through downtown to Marion Transit Center (MTC) and potentially to Tampa Heights.

Once a staple of American cities, many streetcars systems were dismantled and the rails paved over in the mid-20th Century as suburbs grew and the automobile became the main form of transportation. Tampa’s original streetcar system was built in 1892. It was closed in 1946.

This trend has reversed in recent years with cities including San Diego, Portland and Seattle developing new streetcar systems. A survey of streetcar riders in Portland found that fewer than 5 percent were tourists while 40 percent of riders did not own a car.

The Tampa Historic Streetcar opened in 2002 and has struggled to attract ridership. But with few affordable alternatives available, local leaders have viewed it as a potential transit solution for downtown.

A 2014 HART Study did not include an extension into Tampa Heights.

Downtown Shuttle

Getting around within downtown Tampa has never been easy. Although there are many destinations downtown, they are spread out enough that it isn’t always feasible to walk. Parking is still relatively inexpensive but getting harder to find. Downtown transportation options are very limited, with virtually no east-west connection to the Channel District. The Tampa Downtown Partnership’s (TDP) transportation committee has been looking at these issues for years and has come to the conclusion that the time for action is now in the form of a public-private partnership. We are proposing a pilot project that can help fill the void until a more permanent solution is realized.

Program Elements
The TDP can offer an innovative downtown shuttle service utilizing six passenger low-speed electric vehicles to shuttle passengers. The service area will be mostly consistent with the boundaries of the current Special Services District as shown below.

This FREE service is on-demand and point-to-point. Rides are requested through an app, or hailed on the street

There will be 12, six passenger street-legal electric low speed vehicles (traveling on roads 35 mph or less).

Operations
Start-up hours (adjusted as needed):
Monday – Friday – 6am – 11pm (17 hours);
Saturday – Sunday 11am – 11pm (12 hours);

Pedestrian/Bicyclist Improvements

Similarly to the Palm Avenue road diet project, Floribraska Avenue was also identified in Tampa’s Walk Bike Plan for ‘traffic calming’, and will be another important east-west connection between Tampa Heights and VM Ybor. This connection will be between N Florida Avenue and N Nebraska Avenue.

The Walk-Bike Plan also identified improvements along the Columbus Ave, Lake Ave, Central Ave, Seventh Ave, and Doyle Carlton corridors