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I was watching the Mayor speak the other day... He seems pro-infrastructure unlike some Tampa has had in the past.

In my view, light rail is just as important as creating a vibrant downtown. A place where one would live, work,eat, shop and the like. ...The general consensus about DT Tampa is that after 6 it shuts down, unlike St Pete where I seemed to feel a sense of a city. I have not been there since the financial/real estate bubble of 2007-2008 so I don't know how the areas have been affected.

I'm truly hoping Tampa can pull something off within 10-20 years. I would hope the center area of downtown is used for hi-rises and the surrounding area mid rises. No high-rises are officially planned yet (as far as I know)... I think growing some monsters in the CBD as well as some dense mid rise mixed use neighborhoods. I have never been to a city as un-walkable as Tampa ... I would hope to see that change.

Honestly,are we going to see much happen within 10~20 years?
 

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For one thing, many aspects of what could be a more vibrant downtown are riding on a few key things...

1) Completion of the Riverwalk and further definition of the Arts District.
2) Whatever plans Jeff Vinik has up his sleeve for the southeastern area by the forum and Channelside.
3) Whether or not the Rays commit to a move to Tampa.
4) Passage of public transit referenda (both Greenlight Pinellas and Hillsborough 2016). Passing Greenlight will no doubt spur county officials to confirm a 2016 referendum. Then, voters will need to pass it.

Going into detail now...

1) With the last few segments of the Riverwalk taking shape, as well as the gradual transformation of Zack St, I really think the Arts District is really becoming unified. Once the Riverwalk is completed, as well as the "Straz" tower, we're going to see a lot more hopping along the riverfront.

2/3) Vinik's plans will no doubt transform the void between the CBD and Channelside into a vibrant district that will attract residents and visitors alike. Whether or not these plans include a baseball stadium or not remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that the plans are going to be big. If the right incentives can bring the Rays across the bay, even better!

4) We've come a long way on the prospect of a 2016 referendum for transit in Hillsborough. Just a few months ago, county officials were still taking a back seat "let's wait for the results of Greenlight Pinellas" approach because they feared that the repercussions of the failed 2010 referendum would come back and haunt the county. However, mainly due to the efforts of transit advocates like kmthurman and Connect Tampa Bay (and Mayor Buckhorn has played a role too), many county officials have been moving forth with creating a defined transit plan that will benefit the entire county. Much work still needs to be done, but we are getting there.
 

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If the city prioritizes walking, biking, and mass transit usage, Downtown will change dramatically... and quickly. If the chief concern continues to be the automobile and its storage, we're going to keep moving at a snail's pace.

A key indicator will be how TIF revenues are spent within the CRA in a couple of years, post-Convention Center.
 

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^Legally yes... But around here, I wouldn't bet on it.

The city and county have never taken the streetcar seriously. They have never invested any significant money into improving it, or even simply making it usable to actual DT patrons, and I would be shocked if they start now.
 

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^^
My bet is that the TIF funds will wind up going to something development-related, or maybe even be part of the push to bring the Rays to town. I strongly don't think the funds will be used for transit or pedestrian type improvements at all.
 

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My guess is eventually at least half, if not all, of the TIF funds will be designated to a Rays stadium push.

But it's got the potential to be another funding source that sparks a protracted political battle, as some on the county commission think they can get away with stealing some of the TIF money from downtown, to bolster services in suburban areas, because they're too chickeshit to balance the budget by taxing their own constituents.

I think in a dream scenario, the streetcar gets some TIF dollars (maybe like $5 million, but probably spread out over a few years), but they won't get it for like 5 years. It'll be just enough to claim something is happening, but not even remotely enough to "change the city's DNA" as the city claims it knows it needs to do and is committed to doing.
 

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Another thing the city should be doing Downtown is amending its zoning code to better facilitate development. While this should happen everywhere, Downtown is a good place to start removing parking minimums. We have several half and quarter-block lots where development is not viable with our existing parking requirements. Getting those lots filled with mid-rises would make Downtown a lot more pleasant, likely accelerating construction on some of the higher profile sites.
 

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^Yeah, but anything short of a 100% commitment to the automobile would be anti-free market socialism or something.

Besides, if Tampa did what most other cities already do, then anti-transit ideologue heads all over town would explode. Once you zone for car-free housing units, transit growth is inevitable.

This is one of those key ways we know that Tampa is full of shit when they talk about "changing their DNA". When it gets down to the specific decisions which actually lead to the creation of transit-friendly urban neighborhoods, the car culture wins out every time. There is zero commitment here to real change, just platitudes from politicians fishing for votes and money. As has long been the case, the people of this region have no shared vision for the future and that's just fine by them.
 

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^^
Very well said Jason.

As I've mentioned in the other thread, we're officially on an island by ourselves in the "Lack of Transit" zone. Detroit has passed us by breaking ground on its streetcar.
 

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Knocking down the Howard franklin and gandy and replace it with a taller/wider "Golden Gate" sized bridges for passage of larger ships.... not in this universe??

Possible in,30~50 years for Tampa to look like this downtown? http://www.theodora.com/wfb/photos/...olumbia_canada_photo_wikipedia-thom_quine.jpg
Honestly, I think taking advantage of the Port could be huge, as the container business is expected to quadruple thanks to new Gantry cranes and increased acreage space for containers. If I had the numbers correct, we are serving 250,000 TEUs now, and that would increase to a million, significantly catching it up to places such as Port Everglades. But until the skyway bridge is replaced, we aren't going to be a major US east coast port city for containers, such as Savannah, and fully take advantage of the expanded Panama canal. But without a doubt, I have heard that there are distribution facilities, etc. who would benefit and choose Port of Tampa for their containers, but due to the lack of shipping options, they look elsewhere (JAX, MIA). So this should be significant, as these newer cranes will help attract more large lines, increased trade, and more jobs so close to DT. But this is my basic knowledge obtained by reading a few articles, so chime in if you feel I'm wrong or know more.

But I don't think knocking down those bridges (Howard Franklin and Gandy) will have much benefit. The Port is located to the east of this old Tampa bay, and I bet they would have struggle gaining approval to dredge up in this area, and where would a port be located, near Rocky Point?

But on a different note, when they do knock down the north span of the Howard Franklin, they better make it wider. That would sum up Tampa for you. Sitting in the past, watching people sit in traffic all day. Every interstate/expressway has been decades behind in terms of widening, and now, after sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for years, they decide it is time. I know alot of congestion is caused by the bottleneck at Westshore, but I don't think the absurd traffic will completely disappear once they widen I275 in Tampa. And also, Tampa Bay car travel is increasing by the year, not decreasing. Pinellas' population is pretty flat, but Hillsborough's is growing, and the gateway still has potential for more growth (empty toytown site, expanding Carillon, etc.). Also, tourists are heavily increasing and many travel across between Orlando and the beaches or TIA and the beaches. Just something I wanted to point out. I'm not cheering for wider highways for the sake of it, just when you are going to spend hundreds of millions, do it right, and not partially solve the problem.

But I haven't commented much in this thread since most of downtown Tampa's growth opportunities have been covered. We haven't seen much major office construction in the bay area, just filling up spaces and higher rents, so I think they are ripe for a project sooner or later. The project across the river near University of Tampa intrigued me with 1 million sq ft of office, 100K+ of retail, and the tallest building being 675 ft. That's an awful lot of both, but I'm being hopeful. It would be great seeing a skyscraper on the other side, and the retail could be attractive for students at UT and downtown residents.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
@TPAman22 ... No, I would not know of such thing any more than you would.
Yes... I see on my google earth that the current port is to the east. I was talking about building completely new/larger ones though to accompany it.
[@knocking down the bridges idea]Rocky point, perhaps that and some land in Pinellas to help the area grow into one along the new bridge/s. ...Is all of this feasible, no... but anything is possible with money, I guess.

However, I do agree with you the first priority of a major road is a new Skyway bridge. One that allows for complete passage through. I'm wondering if the land there could sustain a structure like that.
Most sunbelt cities have sprawl but some very core things were mis-planned. TIA and Mc Dill should have been built in the sticks, like east Hillsborough

For now, as an addition to these possibilities I would concentrate filling in westshore and downtown Tampa with mid-rises (expand that cluster of office parks to Downtown). I do like the current plan for rail (seems like logical places to start a light rail) ... If that ever gets built I would like to see the Bearss/Bruce B Downs area to develop urban and dense.
 

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Downtown Tampa really doesn't need much to be a success IMO.

Like DT St Pete, Tampa just needs to right mix of residents, visitors, commercial and non commercial attractions.

Transit would be a game changer but the reality is that DT Tampa really just needs more residents now and between the growth in Channelside and Harbor Island, Hyde Park it won't be long before you see enough 'boots on the ground' to activate the core.

The groundwork is being laid down in Tampa Heights, NOHO and Tempo district 'Encore' to complete the transformation.

Widewalks, trails and curb appeal with attention to the 'gaps' between each of these areas will be a key factor in unifying the DT Tampa core.

Can't wait to see this happen over the next few years...
 

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I think DT Tampa is getting there and has the potential to be better than Orlando and St. Pete just because of the size and scope of the DT. With Ybor, Channelside, CBD, it is all so spread out, which is annoying now, but bodes well for the future with just solid planning. St. Pete will also do well in the future of course because it is a beautiful city with room to grow as well once the Trop is gone.

Likewise, I like the location of TPA as it is centrally located and the Air Force got McDill way before there was a South Tampa. There was no mistake there.
 
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