A few takeaways from those stop-the-presses headlines showcasing Tampa’s future as “Soaring and Luxe.” That’s what you get when you announce that the massive downtown makeover now well underway will include, but hardly be limited to, two new Marriott hotels, one a presumed, 5-star Edition brand, plus the imminent opening of a sales center for the 50-plus story Riverwalk Place.
* From its sleek, towering design, Riverwalk Place looks more Dubai than downtown Tampa, but its mixed-use composition could be catalytic, and it would further distance the city from the days of Trump Tower Tampa buzz.
* The combination of Jeff Vinik, Bill Gates, hotelier Ian Schrager and the tandem of Feldman Equities of Tampa and Two Roads Development of South Florida amount to a Tampa vote of confidence in the multi billions.
* We all remember September’s close call with Hurricane Irma–and those ominous Bob Buckhorn quotes. Had it hit, it could have set Tampa back by decades. But that dodged bullet has not deterred investors. Tampa is still prime real estate reality. “We’re long-term owners,” underscored James Nozar, CEO of Strategic Property Partners, the development company launched by Vinik and Gates.
* Imagine all this commitment, all this investment and Tampa still lacks serious, major-metro mass transit?