Five signature building projects driving Tampa Bay forward
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11 / 20 / 15

Here are five such building projects recently unveiled or now in the works, representing investments of hundreds of millions

Tampa Bay's economic progress can be measured by its companies, its job growth and GDP, its population, its corporate headquarters, its entrepreneurs, its graduation rates, its universities and its patents. Even its swagger.

But progress can also be captured in its latest signature buildings. The ones with substance. The ones that represent more for this area than the sum of their steel and concrete.

Here are five such building projects recently unveiled or now in the works, representing investments of hundreds of millions. They are some of the best examples of rising confidence in the breadth and depth of Tampa Bay's economic future.

The RH store: Pushing the envelope of upscale living

What IT IS: California home furnishings chain Renovation Hardware's new flagship, standalone store.

Where: Bay Street at International Plaza, Tampa.

Opened: Nov. 13.

Size: Four stories, 60,000 square feet.

Feature: Rooftop park and conservatory offer views of Tampa International Airport.

Why we care: It's a fresh example of the new "experiential retail" strategy. The first upscale RH store in Florida means Tampa Bay is winning greater visibility on the national radar as a market capable of supporting high-end lifestyles. The concept has been described as "part store, part art gallery, part restaurant, part event space and part interior design studio." RH was smart to relocate its former, old-school store from Hyde Park in order to leverage the broader upscale customer base drawn to International Plaza since it opened 14 years ago.

ONE St. Petersburg:

When you're tallest, nobody blocks your views

What it is: A condo of record height now breaking ground. At 41 stories, it will be the tallest residential tower in the Tampa Bay area, though other towers in the metro area are proposed that would top this one.

Where: 100 First Ave. N, a block off Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg.

Opening: Late 2018.

Size: 253 units priced from the high $600s $3 million.

Feature: An adjacent 174-room Hyatt Hotel will be built by 2017 next to the tower in the block bounded by Central Avenue and First Avenue N, and Second Street and First Street. It's all being handled by the Kolter Group of West Palm Beach.

Why we care: "St. Petersburg is truly becoming an international destination," says Bobby Julien, Kolter Group CEO. "It's just an incredibly compact urban setting that allows you to live a very relaxed but urban lifestyle." The mixed-use combination over an entire block of the tallest building in the city with a Hyatt means ONE St. Petersburg has the "opportunity to become the focal point of the city," says SB Architects vice president Stefano Falbo. This is one-upmanship marketing. The project seeks to position itself literally "above" the high-end but shorter condos already on Beach Drive and as an elite alternative to the surprisingly similar look of the nearby but aging Signature Place.

Moffitt McKinley Outpatient Center:

Spreading the Moffitt brand in the cancer war

What it is: A new $88 million outpatient facility for cancer care.

Where: 10920 N McKinley Drive, on 30 acres about a mile from the main Moffitt Cancer Center facility on USF's campus.

Opened: Nov. 9

Size: Six stories , 207,000 square feet.

Feature: The cancer center had about 340,000 outpatient visits last year, which means the new facility will offload a lot of folks from the already overloaded main building.

Why we care: Moffitt epitomizes a home-grown service provider at the top of its game in a field near and dear to everybody: Fighting cancer. Moffitt says it has a $2 billion impact on the Tampa Bay area. Its outpatient facility boasts 200 professionals, with half representing new positions. Moving more outpatient services to this new facility opens space in Moffitt's main building squeezed into space on the USF Tampa campus. That makes more clinical space available. And it means Moffitt can now turn to the task of what to do with its adjacent five-story, 200-room hospital that's becoming too small to meet Moffitt's needs. For Tampa Bay, the McKinley expansion is all about keeping Moffitt among the top tier of cancer-fighters in the country.

Tampa Premium Outlets:

Latest retail anchor to tap Pasco's rising economy

What it is: A retail rarity, a new shopping outlet mall catering to the growing population in Pasco County and the northern tier of the greater Tampa Bay market.

Where: Wesley Chapel, at State Road 56 just off Interstate 75.

Opened: Oct. 29.

Size: 103 stores, so far, in 441,000 square feet.

Feature: Indianapolis-based developer Simon Premium Outlets estimates 10,000 customers a day will shop at the retail complex.

Why we care: If traditional shopping malls anchored by big department stores are losing customers, value-oriented outlet malls seem to be doing just fine. Especially in Florida where both area residents and large numbers of tourists love to shop for deals. The metro area's dominant outlet mall has long been the Ellenton Premium Outlets in Manatee County, 52 miles south of the new outlet mall. Ellenton is a virtual if somewhat aging clone of the new $129 million Wesley Chapel outlet mall. Both are owned by Simon, which dominates Florida's outlet mall business. Simon originally wanted to build a mall further north in Pasco at State Road 52 but realized the location was too far ahead of the growth wave pushing into Pasco from New Tampa and northern Hillsborough County.

The Kate Tiedemann College of Business:

At long last, a business home of its own

What it is: The Kate Tiedemann College of Business will at long last have its own building to house the business school on the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus.

Where: Construction is under way between Third and Fourth streets S and between Sixth and Eighth avenues S in downtown St. Petersburg.

Opening: August 2016.

Size: Four-story, 68,000-square-foot facility on 2.5 acres, with an expected cost of more than $25 million.

Feature: The college of business is named for the $10 million gift provided by retired medical manufacturing entrepreneur Kate Tiedemann. But naming rights for the new building itself are available for about $5 million.

Why we care: USF St. Petersburg's business school should be commended for its expertise in entrepreneurship, accounting and finance. But the college has long suffered without a home base on the university campus. Lacking its own building has hurt the business school's ambitions and probably contributed to the turnover of its business deans. Nor has it helped the yin and yang balance of business education at USF St. Petersburg when compared to the permanent presence of the larger Muma College of Business at USF's main campus in Tampa. This building will represent a new cornerstone of business school education in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County. Now all it needs is a smart and charismatic business dean (the current one is temporary from the teaching staff) who can start raising its community profile just as downtown St. Petersburg experiences a surge in economic clout.

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