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Building Tampa's Future: Learning From the Complex Development of Water Street

By: Margarita Munoz

St. Petersburg Chamber Intern 2024 

Lakewood High School student




In my first week as an intern with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, I had the opportunity to take a trip to Tampa with 30 local business leaders.  We participated in the Chamber's Thinking Outside the Burg: Local Edition trip to the Water Street development.  There were many lessons learned during the action packed day.  Being a St. Pete native, I believe that the Water Street Tampa construction will influence other projects in surrounding areas such as the redevelopment of the Gas Plant District in St. Petersburg. Although there are downsides such as no affordable housing, I believe that the construction of Water Street will better serve Tampa as it is currently attracting tourists, talent, and new businesses based on the current and upcoming opportunities in Tampa.  Here are some other interesting facts that our group learned during the event:


How did the development of Water Street begin? 

  • In 2018, a 56-acre development for Downtown Tampa was bought by Cascade Investment LLC after Jeff Vinik noticed the potential of the surrounding area which consisted of “mostly vacant fields and parking.” 1 The development planning process was then split up into 3 stages of construction and is currently in phase 2 which is expected to be completed by spring 2025. 2 


Results from the completion of Phase 1: 

  • 5,900 new jobs within Water Street. 
  • Businesses that will impact economic development within Water Street Tampa such as 5-star hotel The Tampa EDITION, Publix Greenwise store, and luxury apartments such as the Heron. 
  • “Three hotels, half-a-million square feet of office space,1,300 apartments, 37 condominiums and space for 60 retail or restaurant businesses.” 3 
  • First neighborhood in the world to earn a benchmark as a healthy community within the WELL Community Standard. 4 


Water Street Tampa’s Economic Impact, notes from presentation by David Bevirt (Strategic Property Partners) and Chris Brown (1001 Water Street):

  • $20 million in annual economic impact. 
  • $106 million in contracts that were awarded to minority and small businesses. 
  • $7 million in annual revenue to the Hillsborough County School District 
  • $12.7 million in local impact fees which are dedicated to transportation, sewer, water, art, and schools. 
  • 2,700 jobs created per year of construction, totaling 5,900 at the end of Phase 1 construction. 


How is the foundation of Water Street Tampa designed? 

  • Connectivity: The mixed-use development implemented is designed for accessibility and mobility within Water Street Tampa. With the implementation of highways, walkable streets, bus routes, and DASH riding service visitors and residents can easily travel from Water Street Tampa to other Tampa Bay neighborhoods. 
  • Walkability: With a Walk Score of 89, residents and visitors of Water Street Tampa can easily commute within their local grocery store, coffee shop, and variety of restaurants. 
  • Technology: With world-class infrastructure each person can digitally conduct their business anywhere they would like without having to worry about their network roaming. Due to the district’s Universal Access Network “which provides the capacity to handle increasingly large amounts of bandwidth and IP-based applications.” 5 
  • Sustainability: From holding a LEED Neighborhood Designation certification to Water Street’s focus on a native landscape, there is a commitment from corporate responsibility as well as environmental sustainability to ensure sustainability is being managed. The LEED Neighborhood Designation certification was awarded to Tampa based on sustainability and well-connected neighborhoods. 
  • Wellness: Each building throughout Water Street embraces dynamic buildings and spaces, which plays a part in improving overall health and wellbeing throughout the community. 


What’s next for Phase 2 of Water Street Tampa?  

A residential condominium building, an office building, and mixed-use entertainment complex expected to be complete by 2027. 







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