FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Tampa Rising: Water Street Tampa Reimagines the City’s Downtown

by Terry Ward

Feb 27, 2024

© Strategic Property Partners

February 2024

It’s impossible to talk about Florida right now without mentioning Tampa. Once a sleepy backwater of a city, it’s boomed of late into a hot spot for millennials and Generation Z, tech startups, and people of all ages and ilk who’ve moved here from around the country and world for an enviable quality of life served up with plenty of sunshine (not to mention water, water, everywhere).

At the heart of downtown’s renaissance sits the landmark $3.5 billion Water Street Tampa project, financially backed by Bill Gates and Jeffrey Vinik (owner of the city’s professional hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning). The 55-acre mixed-use development project at the heart of the city’s downtown corridor recently received designation as North America’s first WELL Certified Community, thanks to its sustainability and livability standards. And Water Street Tampa plays a key role in redefining what was once a languishing downtown that now booms with restaurants, retail, urban parks and food halls that take advantage of the city’s prime waterfront setting.

Josh Taub, CEO, Strategic Property Partners, Water Street Tampa’s developer, called 2023 a “monumental year” for the project.

yoga on the lawn

© Strategic Property Partners

“Many of our retailers opened this year, from beautifully designed sit-down restaurants to creative grab-and-go lunch spots to rooftop cocktail bars and more,” he said. “We also hosted even more community events and programming, including our incredibly successful monthly local vendors and farmers markets and our Arts in Motion pop-up event, which brought two world-renowned art installations to Florida for the first time.”

Visitors of the leisure and meeting and conventions variety flock to new hotels in the district such as The Tampa EDITION — the city’s first true 5-star property, designed by Ian Schrager — and linger over meals at diverse restaurants like French brasserie Boulon; The Pearl (a fabulous import from Ohio’s Cameron Mitchell Restaurants); and Lona by Chef Richard Sandoval, known for its authentic Oaxacan flair.

Water Street Tampa is also home to the waterfront park and street food/beer garden hangout Sparkman Wharf; the largest collection of hotel rooms and meeting space in the Tampa Bay area as well as the region’s largest hotel ballroom, at JW Marriott Tampa Water Street; and the Tampa Marriott Water Street. Visitors should bookmark dinner reservations at the city’s first Michelin-starred restaurant here, too — Lilac, inside The Tampa EDITION.

Quality-of-urban-life-enhancing elements define the district, such as double-wide sidewalks, bike lanes and plazas that form the neighborhood’s foundation, with a focus on infrastructure that makes sense for the future. “It was vital for us to invest in placemaking and ensure the neighborhood that we were creating could not only support, but also enhance, a downtown live-work-play experience,” Taub said. “The result is a beautifully crafted yet functional place that balances a lively urban environment with lush landscaping and moments for respite [in order] to create thoughtful spaces where people actually want to spend their time.”

Santiago C. Corrada, president and CEO, Visit Tampa Bay, said Water Street Tampa is part of a “remarkable renaissance” in the city that’s expanding Tampa’s cachet to a diverse range of travelers. And there’s much more to come in 2024 as SPP unveils initial plans for upcoming buildings that will expand the neighborhood and continue to attract new residents, tenants and visitors with the promise of vibrant, walkable urban life.

Tampa

© Strategic Property Partners

“Water Street Tampa continues to stand out for its transfor- mative lifestyle offerings,” he said.

SCENIC DRIVES

Drive just south of Water Street Tampa and downtown along Bayshore Boulevard — a waterfront thoroughfare that hugs Hillsborough Bay — for a tour of some of the city’s most stately and iconic mansions within the leafy neighborhoods of historic Hyde Park and Ballast Point. A wide sidewalk lining Bayshore Boulevard runs right along the water, too, stretching for 4.5 miles and popular with Sunday strollers, joggers and people pedaling bikes, roller skating and pushing skateboards (if you’re on foot, scan the shallow waters for stingrays and passing dolphins). At Ballast Point Park in Bayshore Boulevard’s southernmost reaches, detour to spend time at a pretty park thick with oak trees and featuring a playground, splash pad and fishing pier.

The scenic drive between South Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg across the Gandy Bridge features the sparkling waters of Tampa Bay all around and pelicans often flying in formation alongside cars. Once you’ve crossed onto the St. Pete side of the bridge, you’ll find pull-offs with sandy beaches where people wade into the water along Gandy Beach to fish or cool off. Stop for fish tacos and mangrove views at The Getaway, a colorful little open-air restaurant fronting the water where you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Key West, so tropical is the setting.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Explore Excursions

#globility

Insta Feed
Slideshow
Apr 19, 2024

7 Reasons to Put Curaçao on Your Travel List

It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Curaçao with us.

Hit the High Notes in Nashville

Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.

Daily
Apr 19, 2024

The Iconic Bayeux Tapestry in France to Get New Home

Under the direction of the Town of Bayeux, France, in close collaboration with the French government, the Normandy Region and the Department of Calvados, the project to move the famous 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry to a new space has been approved.

Daily
Apr 19, 2024

Turtle Bay Resort Partners with Salesforce

Turtle Bay Resort and Salesforce recently announced a partnership. Salesforce will help the O’ahu-based resort augment service agents with AI and personalize the entire guest experience. Salesforce’s Einstein 1 Platform will help the resort with its efforts to reinvent itself, heighten awareness of its offerings and establish new customer relationships.

Unearth Seoul’s Hidden Gems

Filled with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered, Seoul invites travelers to unearth its many gems, and Seoul Tourism Organization is here to help travelers do just that. Through thoughtfully created initiatives like the Theme Tourism County Competition, Seoul Tourism Organization works closely with local districts to identify and showcase what makes each district unique and charming in all seasons.

Daily
Apr 18, 2024

Fort George Hotel & Spa Transforms Belize City from Gateway to Destination

Belize City is better known as a business center and a stop en route to Belize’s lush rural destinations, but Fort George Hotel & Spa promises to change things up and reframe the nation’s capital as a destination in its own right. Located in the city’s Fort George neighborhood, the hotel debuted as the first luxury hotel in Belize City, boasting sophisticated design, elevated culinary offerings, expansive guestrooms and an inspiring wellness program. The hotel also features a branded fitness center, plunge pool and K’IN Spa.

eFlyer News
Apr 17, 2024

Icelandair, Expedia Launch New Rewards Program

Icelandair and Expedia officially partnered to launch a new rewards program. Travelers can now earn more rewards from bookings.

Tips to Plan a Destination Event Worth the Trip

It's time to shake things up and inject some serious excitement into your next gathering. Whether  planning a corporate conference, black-tie gala or milestone celebration, choosing the right venue can make all the difference. City Winery shares some tips to make your next gathering a rockin' success.

eFlyer News
Apr 17, 2024

Swiss International Air Lines Begins New Service from Washington, D.C., to Zürich

Swiss International Air Lines recently launched daily flights from Washington, D.C. (IAD), to Zürich (ZRH). The daily flight is one of three new international routes SWISS launches this summer season, with Toronto (YYZ) and Seoul (ICN) slated in the coming months.