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How would you develop Tampa Bay?


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I liked the discussion had about other cities/metros. So I thought I'd start one for each of us to give our vision/ideas for development in Tampa Bay.

I suppose I'll start. I'll speak mostly on the city I'm most familiar with -- St. Pete.


I like the direction they're going with the new Land Development Regulations, but I'd be more aggressive. I'd redo the entire area from 5th Ave N to 18th Ave S from 4th Street to 49th Street for dense development It would mostly be rowhouse, duplex, triplex etc. development with mixed-use -- retail/office on bottom floor with apartments/condos above -- along the major corridors.

I'd push for the redevelopment of the parking lots surrounding Tyrone Square with a new 20-screen theatre (to give the teens a much-needed option to Baywalk) as well as apartments, condos and a mid-rise hotel (8 to 10 stories). Build parking structures to accomodate the parking needs.

I'd redevelop the majority of 34th Street S, starting with redeveloping the Central Plaza area into a mixed-use, transit-oriented area (there's already a major bus terminal there). If I was a millionaire, I'd purchase that resort down there (the old EconoLodge), tear it down, and redevelop the property into high-rise (10-15 stories), mixed-income apartments or condos. I'd do the same with the old Food Lion Plaza, but on a smaller scale. Both complexes would have retail onsite (ie. a convenience store, sandwich shop, drycleaner).

I'd move the downtown bus terminal from Williams Park to the Tropicana Field property (on the northwest side, along 1st Ave S), and build a new St. Pete Central Station that will be multimodal -- bus, train, trolley as well as include the Greyhound service into it.

I'd work with a developer and the D-Rays to develop a new entertainment district on the Tropicana Field property, right along that 3rd Avenue promenade, with about 6 or 7 sports bars/lounges, 3 or 4 regular restaurants, a large retail establishment (like a NikeTown) and a high-rise hotel. There would be a connection between this and the new St. Pete Central Station. The surface parking lots would be converted to parking structures.

Continue the westward and southward redevelopment of DT. Begin to incorporate more market-rate and affordable units, and include some new rental units. Definately need to tap into the student-age market with USF-St. Pete and SPC Downtown.

Develop Central Avenue as a local alternitive to regional nightlife centers like Ybor City and DT Tampa -- something more artsy and slightly more upscale. Also, develop DT St. Pete as a major shopping alternative to Tyrone Square or going to Tampa.

Work with the St. Pete Housing Authority to redevelop James Park/Jamestown to jump start redevelopment in the NW section of DT St. Pete.

Create a new overpass over I-275 at 102nd Avenue to connect the business parks on either side of the interstate. Make this new overpass into a "gateway", similar to the Orlando gateway at I-4 and Conroy Road. If not there, rebuild the 54th Ave N exit as the St. Pete gateway, as 54th Ave N is the only major road to pass over I-275.


Develop a region-wide rail system (with a regional transit authority) to complement the road rebuilding and widening. Have this at least one line done by the 2009 Super Bowl. (Pipe dream :lol: ) Improve the existing bus service to compliment the new rail system.

Speed up the conversion of US 19 to a freeway from Pinellas Park to the Pasco County line.

Push the development of a Westshore/Gateway combination as the major employment center for the entire region. This would require much more regional cooperation than currently exists.(The three biggest employment centers should be Gateway, Westshore and DT Tampa. Clearwater and DT St. Pete should be secondary.)

Redevelop Countryside Mall, Seminole Mall, University Mall, Brandon Town Center and Citrus Park Town Center in a similar way descibed for Tyrone Square. Each would become major rail stops on the regional rail system. (I could see the Seminole Mall redevelopment incorporating civic/municipal uses as well.)

Continue the redevopment in DT Tampa and having it truly assert itself as the primary urban center for the entire region, with major employment (already there), residential, retail and (more) nightlife.

Even though I'm a graduate of FAMU and UF, I hope the area rallies around USF more. Maybe in 10 years they'll build their own on-campus football stadium.


Really push the Florida High Tech Corridor economic development initiative.

Get all the counties along the I-4 Corridor (including Pinellas) and all the cities along the established first leg of the Florida High Speed Rail system to come together and develop a strategy for funding/building the train line themselves. This would really catipult the three metro areas (Tampa Bay, Lakeland and Orlando) into the national spotlight, I think, and really increase interest in the area in terms of business development. The only change I would do is add a stop at Plant City.

Go ahead and develop a similar funding system with Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota for commuter rail. This would provide a rail connection to Tampa for the new developments in south Hillsborough as well as create a greater connection with the Bradenton/Sarasonta metro. This would really began to truly show that Tampa (and the the immediate Tampa Bay metro) is the true anchor of the state's west coast.

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Wow, you've really been thinking alot about this one and have some great ideas. Mine aren't extensive as yours, but here are some things I would like to see happen.

1. Downtown St. Petersburg continues to densify, but contemporary architecture becomes much more common.

2. A commuter rail line is established (before the 2009 Super Bowl) from downtown St. Pete, through Clearwater and Tampa, all the way to Lakeland.

3. The Pinellas monorail project is eliminated and a metro wide transit authority is formed in the hopes of building a single metro-wide light rail system.

4. The reconstruction of US 19, into an expressway, from Tarpon Springs to Gandy.

5. The reconstruction of Gandy, into an expressway, from the Gulf to the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway.

6. Veterans Expressway, extended to I-75, in New Tampa.

7. More redevelopment in Central Tampa (ex. West Tampa, Tampa Heights, Central Park project,etc.) forming a decent-sized pedestrian friendly urban core area stretching from West Tampa to Ybor.

8. The immediate expansion of the streetcar, into the CBD and crossing the river to service UT.

9. In downtown Tampa, saving as many historic buildings left, as possible, especially along Franklin Street.

10. Complete the Riverwalk. Its been talked about for decades, now lets get it done.

11. I'd also like to see a large....and I mean large sized public park (ex. Boston Commons, Savannah's Forsyth Park, etc.) established near the heart of Tampa.

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Yes, I have thought of those things for a while. A lot of my ideas are very specific, but overall, I'm all about increasing density where appropriate. That's the only way I can see St. Pete, and Pinellas County overall, experiencing any significant population growth. We can no longer develop in the typical low-density pattern.

As for your commuter rail line, I thought about that too. I was looking at the old CSX line that runs from DT St. Pete up to DT Clearwater, then across to DT Safety Harbor and over the top of the bay (through DT Oldsmar) on to Tampa and then points east. I think the idea was explored many years ago. I wonder if it could be done now, and if people would use a line following that route. (I wish I had a graphic to post.)

I like and agree with all of your ideas. :thumbsup:

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^^^Well, looking at the county's economic development plans at www.pinellasbydesign.org, a community rail along that old CSX line might work well, as there's a lot of opportunity for new employers to locate in the office/industrial districts along the route as well as it connecting the DTs of St. Pete, PP, Largo, Clwtr, Safety Harbor and Oldsmar. Maybe it could work with the right vision.

Also, the Pinellas Mobility website has been down and "under construction" for a while now. I wonder if this means anything.

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I think roads like Kennedy Blvd, Brandon Blvd, Park Blvd, Gulf-to-Bay Blvd, 4th Street N and Central Avenuewould make good corridors for at-grade light-rail transit or bus rapid transit. I could see each of them redeveloped into more urbanized corridors. I believe an overlay zone was recently considered (maybe approved?) for Brandon Blvd, a rail and/or BRT system is planned for Central Ave, and the urbanization of Gulf-to-Bay is part of Pinellas County's economic development plan. If it were up to me, I'd transform all of these corridors using transit as a catalyst.

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I live in downtown Tampa, so that's the area I'd play in.

I think the streetcar uses standard gage rail. I hope so, otherwise this won't work.

I'd extend the TECO streetcar up Franklin St., put a stop at the corner of Franklin and Polk, then put in a switch and join the rails to the CSX line. The city works out a lease deal with CSX like with Tri-Rail in sofla (this line gets about three to five trains on a busy day, mostly at night) to allow the streetcar to run along the lines and across the bridge at least as far as Boulevard, which would be a stop for UT. If the folks who bought the Floridan decide not to develop it, like everybody else who's ever owned it, we get UT to buy it and use it for dorms; it's only two blocks from the streetcar stop, and we sell students discounted long-term passes.

Ideally I'd like to see the streetcar run east along the rails, but there's not much between Franklin and the Amtrak station to justify a mass transit stop. So I'll put rails down, oh, Madison maybe.

I'd connect Cumberland across the end of the rail line in Channelside so that there's another connection across Meridian between Jackson and Channelside Dr. I'd also have to revamp the intersection where Cumberland would meet Brorein at Nebraska so it wouldn't be a mess.

I'd like to see those few blocks south of the grain elevator developed with something nice and neighborhoody. The handful of single-family homes there should be allowed to remain, because they're quite charming. I'd like to see similar homes built on the two blocks between Cumberland, Finley, Caesar and Nebraska, and on the other side of Caesar between that and the rail line. And we'll drop a little corner store in there somewhere as well. Rebrick the streets, too, don't pave them. Actually, I think 3-storey townhomes would work well between Caesar and the rail line.

Of course, I'm assuming here that O2 will actually get built someday; I'd like to see towers there on Channelside, maybe not as tall as O2, but then again, why not? The tower at Newk's I like as well.

I'd buy up the parking lot and the Big Pink between Laurel St and the Performing Arts Center. I'd demolish the Big Pink and replace it with an 8-12 storey mixed-use tower in more or less the same location, and put 3-5 storey townhomes on the parking lot. I'd also move Doyle Carlton Drive about 100 feet east, so the tiny little sliver of riverfront park there could be expanded. And the bottom 4-5 floors of the midrise I'd replace Big Pink with would be public parking (with street-level retail, of course). I'd also heavily landscape the Ashley exit ramp.

I'd demolish that horrid Army-Navy surplus store and replace it with a 3-6 storey mixed-use tower with one floor of parking and street level retail to include at least a small grocery. I'd love to see a general store of some sort, not a Walgreens or anything but one of those great little general store/deli type things you see in Manhattan. We need something like that here. If I need a light bulb I have to drive all the way to Target to get it right now, and I want something I can walk to.

The three-storey structure at 1114ish N Tampa I'd buy and renovate to be the office where I'd do all the planning and presentation of these ideas. I love that building. The lot Goody-Goody just sold is probably going to become a condo, but in that neighborhood it ought not be real tall, maybe keep it around 15 storeys or so.

There's a 3-4 storey building on the north side of Cass at Franklin, with a big wagon wheel painted on the north side. I'd also redevelop that. I want to repaint that old advertisemet, I think it would be charming, and then make the open lot in front of it either surface parking or a park, tied in with the homeless park across Franklin. And obviously, something has got to be done about that area but I really don't want to get into that here.

Also, it would be nice to connect Laurel St. through the state building's parking lot the way they're doing with Franklin now. And, while I'm at it, I'll buy up the state's surface parking lots. I'll put maybe a 7-storey office building with 4 storeys of garage on the lot between Laurel, Scott, Franklin, and Tampa, a much larger building with parking on the lot next door, and a 4-5 storey building on the lot north of Fortune street, and let the state employees park in the garage for free.

Something has got to be done with the Maas block. It seems to be crying out for a really tremendous tower of some sort, although that would get all the Franklin Street merchants in a tizzy. Shame the building's in such bad shape because it would be nice to save.

All those surface parking lots between Washington St and the Crosstown are, in my opinion, the perfect place to really send Tampa skyward. It's really a shame Four Seasons isn't going to happen because that would have been a nice jump-start to that trend, but if it was all in my hands, I'd drop some serious altitude in that area. Think what a drive on the crosstown would be like with towers on both sides. That would be awesome. (I note that there was news last week on another forum that Four Seasons may in fact not be dead. Hooray, if true.)

The area in the near north of I-275 is more of a pickle. I'd like to see that developed because then my condo wouldn't be at the edge of the ghetto... but I don't want to be accused of trying to gentrify an area. Then again, nothing positive goes on in that area and the only people who live there any more are the homeless folks. They probably aren't going to leave. I'd hate to lose that Chinese grocery up there, but there are a lot of blocky old unoccupied buildings right in that area that really would do well as mid-rise residential towers with street-level retail. One decent mixed-use mid-rise (or taller) on one of the blocks between Estelle and Kay could provide offices for all the new lawyers attracted by the Stetson campus. The somewhat more historic buildings on Tampa and Florida north of that area could then be renovated.

Well. That's a few ideas for downtown.

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