State of the City 2012
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park - 600 North Ashley Drive
  economic development


Mayor’s Economic Competitiveness Committee Project

The Economic Competitiveness Committee was formed and the group was tasked with reviewing the City of Tampa’s permitting and regulatory processes to look for ways to improve the system. Members selected by the mayor are actual customers, including developers, engineers, attorneys, and a neighborhood representative, that have utilized the City’s services. The group presented its recommendations to the mayor and several initiatives including a one-stop shop for permitting, which included a staff reorganization and consolidation into one department.

City Staff Reorganization to Ensure Key Initiatives

A staff reorganization was implemented that created both the Administrator for Economic Opportunity and the one-stop permit shop, as well as the creation of the Neighborhood Services Department and the Budget and Neighborhood Empowerment Director, both of which deliver on key initiatives for this Administration. The reorganization was crafted with the goal of growing existing businesses and attracting new jobs to Tampa, as well as empowering our neighborhoods. The City of Tampa estimates a total savings of over $425,000 per year.

Classic Federal Courthouse Redevelopment

Tampa Bay Hotel Partners, LLC was selected to redevelop the Classic Federal Courthouse as a boutique hotel. The project will cost an estimated $22 million and create more than 400 construction jobs and once completed, the hotel is expected to employ an estimated 100 people.

Water Works Building Redevelopment

The Columbia Restaurant and Metro Bay Realty, LLC were selected to redevelop the historic Water Works Building as a waterside restaurant. The restaurant is part of a larger concept for Water Works Park. The City of Tampa will extend the Tampa Riverwalk through the park, connecting the Tampa Heights neighborhood. The project will transform the area into a space for everyone to enjoy, with a new park, a restored spring, and a restaurant with views of the Hillsborough River.

Accela Permitting System

This $2.8 million technology upgrade came from the Mayor's Economic Competitiveness Committee. The system will provide the City, businesses, homeowners and developers with integrated, real-time access to permitting and licensing information with a heavy emphasis on easy-to-use web and mobile technologies.

Urban Land Institute Recommendations

The Urban Land Institute published an Advisory Services Panel Report providing recommendations for the redevelopment of the central business district and the surrounding neighborhoods. Additionally, the Urban Land Institute’s Daniel Rose Center presented its recommendations for redeveloping the riverfront property located to the northwest of the central business district.

Master plan for the City's urban core

The City approved a contract for just over $1 million with AECOM to complete a master plan for the City's urban core and the Nebraska-Hillsborough Primary Transit Corridor. This plan will establish the blue-print for the future of the downtown area.

Ybor City Welcomes New Business and Expansion

Several new and expanded businesses opened in the Ybor City historic district bringing new investment and jobs. These include C.H. Robinson, Hoffman Porges Art Gallery, Element Engineering, Jimmy Johns, US America Bank, Connelly Carlisle Fields & Nichols, BizzTech, Segway Ybor Experience, TMD Windows and Doors at Ferlita Macaroni Factory, The Laughing Cat Restaurant, Liquid Tampa, Rudely Elegant Store, James Joyce Club, Barbarella, Ybor Ghost Tours, Liquid Tampa, Bad Monkey, Therxservices, The Attic on 7th Avenue and Carne Chophouse.

Zack Street Promenade of the Arts Phase I

Phase I improvements span from Ashley Drive to Florida Avenue. The purpose of the overall project is to enhance the Zack Street corridor from Ashley Drive to Nebraska Avenue with streetscape enhancements that improve the street's aesthetic appeal. Planned improvements include pedestrian-friendly accommodations, traffic calming, interfacing with other public and private projects located along the corridor, and the prominent incorporation of Public Art into the design. Phase I construction cost $1.2 million and completion of Phase I is expected in August 2012.

Construction Services

The has been approximately a 5% increase in revenue and workload over the previous year for the Construction Services. This includes 26,995 permits, 6,089 reviews and 84,980 inspections. Some major construction projects completed include the Tampa Bay Times Forum 23,000 square feet in major alterations and improvements; USF - Center for Advance Medical Learning Simulation (CAMLS); EnviroFocus Technologies; Yuengling Brewery 16,580-square-foot addition; Busch Gardens Animal Hospital; and Metro 510 Apartments.

Yummy House Chinese Bistro

The Yummy House Chinese Bistro, a 12,000 square-foot restaurant opened on Hillsborough Avenue. The $2.5 million project also provided 20 new jobs.

First Facade Grant at Pepin Academy

The Pepin Academies Inc. in East Tampa became the first property to qualify for a façade grant in the amount of $50,000, which was leveraged into a larger $150,000 project that included interior and exterior rehabilitation. The façade portion included landscaping, upgraded front wall and an improved bus stop area.

Family Dollar Store

Family Dollar Stores, Inc. completed and opened its 14,000-square-foot retail store at 15th Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard and brought 10 new jobs to the area. The new $1.5 million store offers apparel, food, home décor, beauty and health along with domestic and seasonal goods.

Small Business Education

On-site counseling services and community workshops for small businesses were provided through a partnership with the Hillsborough County Small Business Investment Center, which included the use of $64,000 in TIF funds.

Job Creation

As part of a collaborative effort with the CDC of Tampa and EnviroFocus, Inc., $40,000 in TIF funds were provided for job training incentives and the employment of 20 community residents.

Multifamily Rental

The 55-unit Elizabeth Arms Apartment at 40th Street and Carnegie Court is being rehabilitated using $4.4 million of the $10 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program II grant funding. As part of the project, 20 construction related jobs created and three permanent full-time employees assigned.

Historical Monument Trail

Plans for the Historical Monument Trail to be installed along the Tampa Riverwalk were unveiled. The Trail, using busts, statues and monuments to represent significant events and noteworthy people that have shaped the history of Tampa and Hillsborough County, will serve as an educational tool to residents and visitors alike.


The University of South Florida opened its $30 million Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) in downtown. CAMLS will provide state-of-the-art robotic surgery training to surgeons from all over the world.

Metro 510 and Vista 400 open in downtown

Sage Partners opened the 120-unit Metro 510 workforce housing development on East Harrison Street. The complex is fully leased. Sage Partners also completely renovated the adjacent Methodist Towers apartment complex and renamed it Vista 400.

Dragon Boat Race

Tampa hosted the World Dragon Boat Racing Championship bringing thousands of visitors to downtown.

Related Development breaks ground in the Channel District

Related Development broke ground on a new 360-unit apartment complex being constructed at the corner of Meridian Avenue and Whiting Street. The $55 million complex includes 4,800 square feet of retail space, four buildings, two parking garages with 630 spaces and a lineal park.

Encore in Central Park

The 160-unit Ella senior apartment complex at Encore is under construction and the installation of infrastructure continues. Additionally, Kimley-Horn and Associates was selected to provide design services for the redevelopment of Perry Harvey, Sr. Park adjacent to the Encore development.

Small Business Assistance program

One hundred Drew Park businesses received technical assistance and information through the Small Business Assistance program. The Drew Park TIF-funded program aimed to help preserve and expand businesses and create jobs.

City-wide Commercial Façade Grant Program

Ten grants were approved for a total TIF investment of $373,824 with a total project cost of almost $1.6 million, representing 24 %, or an 4 to 1 ratio of TIF to private investment.

Riverwalk Section 6B (Captrust segment)

Construction is underway for Segment 11 (6B) of the Riverwalk, an overwater section that will run from the north end of Segment 11 (6A), also currently under construction, to the south end of MacDill Park. When complete, there will be continuous riverwalk from MacDill Park down to the Channelside area.

Tampa History Museum Courtesy Docks

A 100-foot long, nine-slip, public access boat dock will be constructed as part of the overall Riverwalk development. The dock will be located near the Tampa Bay History Center. Funding for this improvement is provided by a Fish and Wildlife Grant and Friends of the Riverwalk. Construction cost for this project is $407,000 and the dock is expected to bImplementedd August 2012.

Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) Review Process Impemented

A formal Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) goal setting review process for all Purchasing Bids over $50,000 was implemented to ensure that all potential opportunities SLBE subcontracting are identified and SLBE firms are being better utilized in these solicitations, when applicable. Through Purchasing's DemandStar Quotewire Bid System, $5.2 million has been spent with SBLE vendors.

Bond Refunding and Savings

The City issued Water and Wastewater refunding bonds, which resulted in saving of over $9.1 million - Received a ratings upgrade to AA+ from AA by Standard and Poor’s.

  • Realized approximately $4.5 million in savings with the reduction of the City’s workers compensation long-term liability by issuing taxable bonds. Established a new bond credit (Covenant to Budget and Appropriate) during this issuance.
  • Issued Gulf Breeze notes to refund outstanding Occupational License Revenue bonds, which resulted in savings of over $4.2 million.

LED Bulb Conversion for Traffic and Pedestrian Signals

The Traffic Signal Section completed the conversion of incandescent bulbs to LED for both traffic signals and pedestrian crossing signals. The conversion is saving the City more than 70% on the electric cost per year by converting the 65W incandescent bulbs to 15W LEDs.

Enterprise Resource Planning System

The City signed a contract for a joint City-County ERP system. A unique example of government cooperation, this five year, $34 million project with Hillsborough County provides a fully-integrated, cloud-hosted public sector management system designed to improve the flow, flexibility and responsiveness of Tampa's back office operations.

City Website

The city’s web site web has been revised and updated to reflect contemporary practices, including access to social media sites. In addition, we have created a web site data catalogue and enhanced search tools for the site. These tools will enable citizens to search the city’s web site more efficiently and to find the information they need to access city services more easily

The Tampa Convention Center -- Economic Impact

The Tampa Convention Center is Tampa Bay’s largest hotel room demand generator directly responsible for producing $100 million in economic impact annually. TCC hosted 261 events in 2011 with approximately 440,200 attendees. Of these, 42 were city-wide events which generated 200,000 room nights. For the first time in history, the Tampa Convention Center generated over $10 million in revenue from rentals and services.

Tampa Installs 10 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Downtown

As part of Coulomb Technologies $37 million ChargePoint America program, the City of Tampa applied for and received 10 electric vehicle charging stations at no cost to the City. In exchange for the receipt of the charging stations, the City of Tampa is participating in a Department of Energy monitoring program through December 2013. The ChargePoint America program is made possible by a $15 million grant funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the Department of Energy.

Mayor Buckhorn joined Related Development to break ground on a new 356 apartment complex that will house 4,800 square feet of retail space in the Channel District

Mayor Buckhorn joined Related Properties to break ground on a new 356 apartment complex that will house 4,800 square feet of retail space in the Channel District.

The mayor traveled to Israel to meet with high-tech robotics and simulation companies in an effort to recruit them to Tampa's growing biotech cluster.

The mayor traveled to Israel to meet with high-tech robotics and simulation companies in an effort to recruit them to Tampa's growing biotech cluster.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined Mayor Buckhorn to highlight the importance of the I-4 Connector Project.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined Mayor Buckhorn to highlight the importance of the I-4 Connector Project.

Mayor Buckhorn cut the ribbon at Inside the Box Cafe & Catering, a Metropolitan Ministries Social Entrepreneurship initiative. Every meal purchased at the cafe provides a meal for a person in need.

Mayor Buckhorn cut the ribbon at Inside the Box Cafe & Catering, a Metropolitan Ministries Social Entrepreneurship initiative. Every meal purchased at the cafe provides a meal for a person in need.


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