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Tampa Bay Area Includes Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus Counties » Transportation and Infrastructure



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Old March 5th, 2007, 02:03 AM   #1
FloridaFuture
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Park Tower- Downtown Tampa's Grande Dame

Nice write up on Park Tower.

Downtown's Grande Dame

By JANIS D. FROELICH The Tampa Tribune

Published: Mar 3, 2007


DOWNTOWN - From the outside, Park Tower is never going to be considered among Tampa's stylish skyscrapers. But a recent $3.5 million makeover is keeping up appearances inside.

When it opened in 1973 as First Financial Tower, it was fireworks-worthy. The 36-story structure was billed as Florida's tallest and the second highest in the Southeast.

Park Tower, 400 N. Tampa St., remains known for its incredible views of the region, including the mirrored towers that dwarf its plain, dark bronze fašade resting on a marble base.

"This opening was a big deal," said Claire Calzon, managing director of Colliers Arnold, which has operated the building since Sterling American Property bought the tower for $50 million in January 2006.

Calzon has assembled a display of historical photographs and information, including a note that the building already was fully leased three years before its completion.

Calzon marvels at the mere $13.5 million it cost almost 35 years ago to build the structure, commonly known as the Lykes Bros. building because the company has been a continuous tenant.

"Now we put $3.5 million into it like that," she said, snapping her fingers, "and you don't even see much."

The dozen elevators, roof and air conditioning were updated under Sterling's ownership.

"We can't do anything with the building outside," Calzon said. "But we do hope to continue making it look nice inside."

The most evident change is in the lobby with new lighting, carpets and enlarged photographs by Clearwater's Richard Riley.

Riley said he provided seven photographs of varying sizes, mostly waterfront scenes. The main lobby sports a field of sea oats he shot in Destin.

"In a high-rise, you want something relaxing," he said. "And we wanted to keep a Florida theme."

Calzon said 83 percent of the 444,681-square-foot tower is occupied, with rent at $18.75 a square foot.

Back in its salad days, Park Tower had a rooftop heliport. Now it sports an antenna farm. Calzon said the building also had a men-only lunch club, indicative of the 1970s when the sexes often were separated in social situations.

She said the building will remain a place of retail and offices, with no plans for condominium conversions.

But change is always in the works for tenants. Alessi Bakery Cafe will soon replace a sales office for the SkyPoint residential project on the ground floor.

Leighman Walker, whose Art In Gold jewelry store is an original tenant, said the tower has never been rundown.

"We've always had good owners," he said. "Each time when someone new comes in they want to spruce up the place, so it's never been without care."

Reporter Janis D. Froelich can be reached at (813) 835-2104 or jfroelich@tampatrib.com.

http://centraltampa.tbo.com/centralt...B5U7L3TYE.html
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Old March 11th, 2007, 01:22 AM   #2
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An Alessi's downtown? That would be great, it would definitely succeed, plus it is a Tampa staple.
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Old March 11th, 2007, 05:08 AM   #3
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Yep, Alessi downtown...

As I said when it was first discussed that Alessi was going downtown, I think it is GREAT that our local entrepreneurs are stepping up and filling some of these spaces downtown, before they get invaded by the corporate boxes. Local residents should step up to help patronize these businesses, to ensure that they succeed...
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Old March 11th, 2007, 02:28 PM   #4
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Right on! If you haven't had a chance to check them out, give 'em a try sometime. You won't be disappointed!
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Old March 11th, 2007, 05:02 PM   #5
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I drive a good 27 miles almost every weekend to go eat downtown!
But soon it'll be like a 5 minute walk
I think the Park Tower is pretty cool minus the actual Tower, I think that could be done away with.... Lol
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Old March 12th, 2007, 06:09 PM   #6
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The building is a landmark for Tampa and carries with it a rich history of modern times. Sure, its not made from reflective glass but neither is the Empire State Building. They have kept the building fresh inside and moved it with the times. I hope to see it for many decades to come.
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Old March 13th, 2007, 12:41 AM   #7
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When you rate buildings downtown on all the elements - height, views, aesthetics, street interaction, location, distinctiveness, etc. - it is plainly the best comprehensively - and it is only going to get more central.
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Old March 13th, 2007, 06:59 AM   #8
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Weren't they talking about replacing the facade a while ago?
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Old March 15th, 2007, 05:34 PM   #9
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About it being more central, Maybe new, nicer looking towers will surround it and block it out of skyline views. That would be good.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 05:53 PM   #10
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I really do not get propensity to hate on that building, so its older...it gives the skyline a sense of history and development. Its been there my whole life, long before many of the others and I am glad to keep it in the skyline.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 06:10 PM   #11
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Exactly Robert. And with sooooo much land downtown, why would you demolish one highrise and replace it with another when you could add a highrise right around it. It doesn't make sense to me.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 09:39 PM   #12
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I remember shortly after the Bucs got started, they had tickets printed featuring a profile of the Tampa skyline, and the dominating feature was the Park Tower. At the time it was impressive. I also remember the first time they made the playoffs and during the night before one of the playoff games, owners of the Park Tower arranged to have interior office lights on at night to spell out "BUCS" looking in from the outside. It was pretty cool. A sense of history is important for Tampa in light of the history already lost to demolition.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 11:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallaman View Post
I remember shortly after the Bucs got started, they had tickets printed featuring a profile of the Tampa skyline, and the dominating feature was the Park Tower. At the time it was impressive. I also remember the first time they made the playoffs and during the night before one of the playoff games, owners of the Park Tower arranged to have interior office lights on at night to spell out "BUCS" looking in from the outside. It was pretty cool. A sense of history is important for Tampa in light of the history already lost to demolition.
Wow, very well said.
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Old March 16th, 2007, 04:20 PM   #14
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Thanks. I guess I'm dating myself with memories like that, but I was just a teenage in the 70's.
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Old March 17th, 2007, 10:52 PM   #15
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Vertigo

I discovered my life path would not involve highrise construction thanks to that building. I spent the summer of '73 between h/s and USF hanging drywall with my step uncle in Sulpher Springs. My father worked in the Exchange Bank (the one with the lizard on it) building and one day I had to wait for him to finish working to catch a ride home to Treasure Island.
I decided to walk over to the construction site where I think it was called First National Bank had just topped off.
I looked like everyone else there and no one stopped me so I jumped in a bucket elevator and ascended to the roof. It was spectacular!
I got dumb and walked to the edge about the time a nice gust of wind hit and the next thing I knew I was crawling back to the elevator.
I have no problems inside a building (eaten a couple of meals at Windows On The World), but no way outside.
I still have vivid memories of that moment.
She's a wonderful tower.
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