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C1 Bank Continues To Acquire Small Lenders

The green-and-white signage of C1 Bank, a Tampa Bay-based lending institution, seems to be popping up all over Florida.

The relative newcomer is rapidly establishing a reputation as one of the state's key community stakeholders as a result of four recent acquisitions.

The latest? C1 Bank acquired First Community Bank of Fort Myers, spreading the C1 brand deep into Southwest Florida with additional branches in Bonita Springs and Cape Coral.

"C1 Bank has grown into one of the largest and fastest-growing banks in Florida,'' says C1 Bank President Katie Pemble.

The bank now has 28 branches in Tampa Bay and southwest Florida, plus a loan production office in Miami. The bank's assets total approximately $1.3 billion.

C1 Bank CEO Trevor Burgess also won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award for 2013 in Florida in the Financial Services category for his leadership in the banking industry and in the community.

Writer: Diane Egner
Source: Trevor Burgess and Katie Pemble, C1 Bank

Tempo Picks Up As Encore! Rises Near Downtown Tampa

Construction is expected to begin in January on the Tempo, an apartment building designed for families with children as well as singles, in the growing Encore! project between downtown Tampa and Ybor City.

The Tempo is a 203-unit building with multipurpose room, a swimming pool, a theater, a parking garage and commercial space on the ground floor.

It will follow the Ella, the TRIO and the Reed as the fourth building out of the ground in the music-themed project that pays tribute to Tampa's rich musical and performance history.

The Encore! planned community is a collaborative effort by the Tampa Housing Authority and Banc of America Community Development to build mixed-use developments for mixed-income families, young professionals and seniors in an affordable urban environment. The 29-acre project will eventually include a school, outdoor recreation spaces, urban gardens, trees and sidewalks designed to encourage neighborliness and pride in community.

The Housing Authority also is looking at options for replacing North Boulevard Homes, a public housing complex on North Boulevard just west of downtown. The Authority is expected to seek federal funding through HUD to make it happen.

The investment in rebuilding and replacing the city's public housing complexes with mixed-use housing, retail and commercial is a multiyear commitment that aims to create urban neighborhoods that are more attractive, affordable and safer for moderate income households.

Writer: Diane Egner
Source: LeRoy Moore, Tampa Housing Authority

Invision Tampa Discusses Community Feedback For West River Neighborhoods

The reintroduction of the street grid in the Tampa neighborhoods along the west bank of the Hillsborough River, intense development on Main Street and greater access to the river are among key recommendations emanating from the Invision Tampa process now underway.

A community briefing on July 18, 2013 shared feedback from surveys, research and workshops for the redevelopment of the West River area near downtown Tampa. Stakeholders gathered to hear the Invision Team report back initial ideas and strategies from the input given during the last design workshop in June.

The West River area includes the western bank of the Hillsborough River and its neighborhoods according to the Invision Tampa website. The briefing is a way to continue collaboration between the design team and community stakeholders.

"The process is like a funnel," says Brenda Dohring-Hicks of The Dohring Group who attended both the West River design workshop and the community briefing. "They gather all the ideas and then narrow them down to a concept with effective strategies."

"The event had a lot of people from the neighborhood, which showed how much they care about the future redevelopment," explains Dohring-Hicks. 

The West River area redevelopment "will have a positive impact on the historic neighborhood," says Dohring-Hicks.  “Its proximity to downtown and surrounding areas will make the project even more impactful.” 

Invision Team encourages community members to share feedback on its website and through social media.  You can view the InVision Tampa Plan online or at the AIA Tampa Bay Galleria at 200 North Ashley Suite 100, until August 1, 2013.

Writer: Taryn Sabia
Source: Brenda Dohring-Hicks, The Dohring Group

Crumb & Cork Jazzes Up Franklin Street After Dark

Clusters of ribbon cuttings have brought a bustling feel to downtown Tampa as new businesses open their doors. Downtown sidewalks and restaurants are rich with activity during the work day, but Crumb & Cork, a new wine and cheese bar soon to open, will spark activity from day to night. Owner Joshua Pollick and his partner Joseph Saine are adding authenticity to downtown by jazzing up the atmosphere on Franklin Street.

"We have seen the recent resurgence of life and activity in the downtown area," says Pollick.  "We see a bright future in downtown from our landmark address at 501 North Franklin." 

Pollick chose downtown because it is well-served by public transportation, has friendly Downtown Ambassadors, a business-friendly climate, and an administration that has its listening-ears on for ways to make downtown more livable, walkable and enjoyable. 

"The close proximity of beautiful parks, the Riverwalk and gorgeous new residential buildings have reshaped the way we see our city," explains Pollick.

Crumb & Cork seeks to build a unique experience with over 130 wine selections and live jazz music. The space is designed to be comfortable, a place to relax with friends. Sidewalk lounging will accompany the stylish indoor seating. Patrons will be able to enjoy Sunday brunch, workday lunch, happy hours and evenings out.  A graduate of the University of South Florida, Pollick says he's proud to bring a locally owned USF “Bull Business" to downtown.

Writer: Taryn Sabia
Source: Joshua Pollick, owner, Crumb & Cork

Duckweed Urban Market Will Host Big Grand Reopening

For almost two years, downtown Tampa has been home to a little grocery shop called Duckweed Urban Market. Now in a new, larger location on the ground floor of the Element on Tampa Street, Duckweed offers more goodies and is more visible to more customers. A three-day grand reopening will celebrate the new space this week.

After getting to know the client market in the charming original location, Duckweed owner Michelle Deatherage, made the decision to make the move to a bigger space with great exposure. Duckweed's new home of 2,500 square feet is attached to residential and very accessible to downtown workers. The shop offers a great mix of necessities and gourmet items.  It features café seating indoors and out, a kitchen, and a nearly completed lounge on a lofted second level.

The edgy neighborhood market carries unique items and shows their sense of humor through some their merchandise. 

"We are urban," says Deatherage. "Local is awesome to us, organic is better, and we want to be that neighborhood store that caters to what you need. If you don’t see it, we’ll order it. We sell a lot of items made by other local, small businesses."

The name Duckweed has a lot of meaning. When looking for a name for the urban market, Deatherage researched some of the smallest things in the world and found the world’s smallest flowering plant, duckweed. 

"It's ubiquitous and native to Florida, a great source of protein, and we carry it at the store," explains Deatherage.

Grand reopening events begin on Thursday, June 25, with Pet-A-Palooza offering a 10 percent discount on all animal products. Friday, July 26, is your opportunity to sample 70 store products during 70s-Night. The extravaganza concludes on Saturday, July 27, with Shopping-in-the-Raw, an ode to raw food at which you're encouraged to shop in your bathrobe.

Duckweed Urban Market is open daily from 10am until 10pm. 

Writer: Taryn Sabia                   
Source: Michelle Deatherage, owner

Anise Global Gastrobar Grows Roots in Downtown Tampa

Gastrobars are popping up in urban areas across the country. The combination of elevated food selections and upscale bar atmosphere is what Anise Global Gastrobar brings to the restaurant scene in downtown Tampa. Two of the owners say they believe in downtown and that’s why they opened Anise in what they say is Tampa’s cultural epicenter.

Kevin and Suan 'Sing' Hurt have opened one previous successful restaurant in downtown and then tried their hand at a food truck endeavor, Stinky Buns. The flavors from the food truck menu have inspired some of the small plate selections featured at Anise

"The food is familiar, but something you’ve never had," says Kevin Hurt. "You can experience a lot of flavors at once. There is a global aspect to the food with a lean toward Asian tastes."

The Hurts and their partners looked for the right space for Anise for a year before they selected their location at Skypoint on Ashley Drive. 

"We were looking for something with really good bones," says Kevin Hurt. "As soon as we walked in the space, we knew this was it. A lot of talented people leave Tampa, but my wife and I have made a decision to grow roots. We are here in Tampa to stay."

"We wanted elevated bar food, great drinks, and to make the place sexy, describes Kevin Hurt. In choosing a name "we wanted something that spanned between the kitchen and the bar. We use anise in both."

Anise Global Gastrobar has been open since Gasparilla Festival of the Arts. A Mayoral Ribbon Cutting will mark its grand opening on Wednesday, July 24.

Writer: Taryn Sabia
Source: Kven Hurt and Suan Hurt, owners

New Trail Along Courtney Campbell Will Be For Bicycling, Walking

The Courtney Campbell Causeway connecting Tampa and Clearwater is undergoing resurfacing improvements and enhancements, including the addition of new pedestrian and bicycle trails physically separated from the road.

The overall $23 million project along State Road 60 is being built by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), FDOT received $14.6 million in federal funding, which is dedicated for walking and biking infrastructure, to build the nine-mile trail.

A 12-foot-wide, multiuse pedestrian trail on the south side of the Causeway is expected to be completed in October 2013.  The north side of the Causeway will host a five-foot sidewalk, which is scheduled to open in 2014. 

"The idea for the trail was generated by the Courtney Campbell Scenic Highway Corridor Advisory Committee," says Michelle Ogilvie of the Hillsborough Planning Commission.  "The committee worked with the local Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and FDOT toward producing a feasibility study for the trail concept in 2008."

The sea level Courtney Campbell Causeway received the Scenic Highway Corridor Designation in 2005. It provides a picturesque and vital link across the body of water called Old Tampa Bay. 

"It’s our brand, our identity and the trail will provide a safe place to enjoy this link," says Ogilvie. "The trail will strengthen the relationship between the counties, ecotourism will expand, and the trail will help forge a regional identity and economy."

The Courtney Campbell Trail will connect existing trail developments on both sides of the Bay, serving as a resource to the region.

Writer: Taryn Sabia
Source: Michelle Ogilvie. Hillsborough Planning Commission

Encore Rising: Downtown Tampa’s Mixed-Use Redevelopment Grows

Encore, the $425 million mixed-use redevelopment venture between the Tampa Housing Authority and the Banc of America Community Development Corporation, spans 12 city blocks of downtown Tampa, where Cass Street meets Nebraska Avenue.

The emerging neighborhood not only spans the physical distance between Ybor City and the Central Business District, it bridges generations of people while recognizing the city's rich musical history.

Four Encore residential buildings are in various stages of development. Ella, is already home to active, senior residents and nearly 100 percent occupied. Trio is designed for families with children, singles and couples. Preleasing for the mixed-income apartment homes will begin toward the end of the year. Reed, will break ground in mid-August and will be home to active seniors. Tempo, currently in design, will begin construction in early 2014 and families can choose from one, two, three or four bedroom mixed-income apartment homes.

Young professionals, families and active seniors alike will be moving into downtown Tampa’s Encore development. Of the combined 649 units, 305 are dedicated for active seniors.   

"We welcome our first residents, and look forward to having many others join them as this vibrant downtown neighborhood continues to take shape," says Senior VP Eileen Pope of Banc of America Community Development Corporation.  The project will continue over the next seven to nine years and when complete, more than 2,500 people will call Encore home.

From environmentally sustainable construction and public art to a new park and public middle school, Encore brings together Tampa's history with vibrant redevelopment, serves as a catalyst for economic investment and creates an enduring future through a multigenerational neighborhood.

Writier: Taryn Sabia
Source: Eileen Pope, Banc of America Community Development Corporation

Grants Encourage Street Scene In Downtown Tampa

Downtown Tampa's public realm has seen vast improvements over the past few years. New parks, restaurants, museums, well-planned events and Riverwalk improvements are generating activity in public spaces like never before.   

Now the Tampa Downtown Partnership is offering businesses grants up to $2,500 to help make the urban street scene even livelier.

The Storefront and Sidewalk Cafe Grant Program supports enhancements to exterior, ground floor storefront properties.

"The purpose of the Tampa Downtown Storefront and Sidewalk Cafe Grant Program is to create a more attractive pedestrian atmosphere, and commercially vibrant environment through street level storefront improvements and inviting sidewalk cafe settings," says Shaun Drinkard, Director of Placemaking for the Tampa Downtown Partnership. "The program began in March of this year and the applications are seeking improvements that are engaging and pedestrian oriented.''

Kurdi's Fresh Mediterranean Grill, located on the corner of Tampa Street and Polk Street at Skypoint, is one of the first storefront businesses to qualify for program funding. The restaurant, which offers a healthy and unique fusion of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine used the reimbursable grant "to expand their available seating to the outside through cafe tables, and planters were used to create an inviting experience for their patrons and passersby," says Adam Fritz, an urban designer with Baker Barrios Architects and grant chair. Duckweed Urban Market, Taps and the CI Group have also been approved.  

The maximum amount a storefront improvement project can receive is 50 percent of the total project budget, up to $2,500. The grant may be used for design, labor, materials or permitting fees related to façade improvements, cafe furniture, landscaping, signage, lighting and more. 

"The greater the connection between the life of the street and the activity at the base [of buildings], the more inviting the street and hence the more memorable experience of the city," Fritz says.

Writer: Taryn Sabia
Sources: Shaun Drinkard, Tampa Downtown Partnership; Adam Fritz, Baker Barrios Architects

Tampa Heights Riverfront Adds Restaurant, Park

The Tampa Heights neighborhood will soon be home to a much talked about new restaurant, Ulele and the city’s next special events destination, Waterworks Park. The historic Waterworks building and park will work together, integrate with the neighborhood and connect to the Riverwalk. 

The new Ulele Restaurant will emerge from the renovated city Water Works Building. The Gonzmart family, which owns the Columbia Restaurant, is expected to open Ulele in the winter of 2014. The name comes from the bubbling spring that flows into the Hillsborough River in Tampa Heights, and was once Tampa’s first source of drinking water. Ulule Spring is undergoing restoration as part of the Waterworks Park renovation.

The design of the park is "a modern interpretation that is respectful of the historic Waterworks Building and other park structures," explains Angela Hendershot, an architect with Rowe Architects, Inc.  Rowe Architects is part of the Design Build Team for the Waterworks Park renovation with Biltmore Construction

"The series of contemporary park structures have folded roof plains in which the geometry is a takeoff of the historic Waterworks Building roof pitch," describes Principal Rick Rowe of Rowe Architects.

The park will include play space for children, a playground, interactive water features, pavilions, docks, a kayak launch and stage and "will serve as an anchor and terminus of the Riverwalk," says Hendershot.

Special markers will draw attention to Tampa historic features, such as the Scottish Chief, a Civil War era vessel that sank at the southern end of Waterworks Park, and the Clara Frye Garden.  Clara Frye was a nurse who opened the first, free African-American Hospital in Tampa on the site now occupied by Blake High School which will be in view from the garden and Riverwalk. 

"Importantly, both projects will enhace the waterfront and you will be able to access the park and Ulele from the water," says Rowe.

Waterworks Park and Ulele will bring an important sense of history to the city and will share it with the Tampa Heights adding to the neighborhood’s character, revitalization and economic vitality.   

Writer: Taryn Sabia
Sources: Angela Hendershot and Rick Rowe, Rowe Architects

The Birchwood Blends Character Of Past With Future In Downtown St. Pete

Beach Drive in the city of St. Petersburg is host to a variety of activities from outdoor dining and storefront shopping to park-side walks with waterfront views. The Birchwood, formally the Grayl Hotel, is bringing new life to an historic building.  The recent renovation of the 1924 Lantern Lane Apartments into an 18-room boutique hotel adds to the authentic spirit of this evolving district. 

The Birchwood's Spanish Mission-style building, which houses the guest rooms, grand ball room, signature restaurant and rooftop lounge, is on the list of the National Registry of Historic Places. It is a blend of old and new.

"The interior design is an updated interpretation that reflects what was in the past, important to the historic era of the hotel," says Jim Santamour of Urban Studio Architects, the firm responsible for the interior renovation.

Birch and Vine, The Birchwood's signature restaurant, features farm-to-table fine dining that can be enjoyed indoors or seated at a sidewalk table. The design concept was motivated by the farm-to-table experience and, as Santamour says,, "inspired the finishes such as the raspberry color of the walls based on fresh radishes." 

The posh rooftop lounge offers a view of Tampa Bay and the downtown skyline.  "This vista from the roof impacts the atmosphere the most giving a bird's eye view of activity below," says Nicole Sayers also of Urban Studio Architects.     
The revitalization of The Birchwood will further the vitality of Beach Drive, fill the public space with local cuisine and help to maintain the historic character, sparking new energy for the district.  

Writer: Taryn Sabia
Source: Jim Santamour and Nicole Sayers, Urban Studio Architects

Taking Stake In Tampa's "West River" Neighborhoods

Invision Tampa, the city’s master planning effort that started in 2010, is now focusing on the "West River" neighborhoods along the HIllsborough River in downtown Tampa.  During a public workshop June 11, Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced that the Tampa Housing Authority would be a partner in this work.  "This is the beginning of the plan right here, it starts with you," the Mayor told community members. 

The total planning area is 128 acres in which approximately 80 percent is owned by various government agencies. The remaining 44 acres is owned by the Tampa Housing Authority and is occupied by the North Boulevard Apartments.  The planning team leaders, Peter Sechler of AECOM, Barry Long of Urban Design Associates, and Sandra Moore of Urban Strategies, presented notions of new development, redevelopment, improved safety, added retail amenities, an increase in the potential for jobs, and a more pedestrian friendly neighborhood environment. The overall conversation focused on the "West River" area becoming a “choice community.” 

Invision Tampa, the Center City Plan, will serve as a blue print for the next 25 years. The overarching theme is the river at the center of the city surrounded by strong neighborhoods.  "If you’re going to have a healthy downtown, you have to have healthy neighborhoods -- like spokes on a wheel," says Buckhorn. 

The inclusion of participatory public outreach in the planning and design of neighborhoods is growing in popularity across the country. It is important for citizens to share their vision for the future of their communities and to build consensus for future development in order to take stake in the city’s future.

Citizens will have an opportunity to share comments for the Center City Plan at a City Council Workshop
Thursday, June 20.  Community feedback about the "West River" will be discussed at Blake High School on July 18.  Comments and ideas for Invision Tampa can be made through the Virtual Town Hall.

Writer: Taryn Sabia
Source: Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Invision Tampa

Renovations Begin On Public Pool On Davis Islands

After nearly two years of public meetings and planning, construction has begun on renovations to Davis Islands' Roy Jenkins Pool.

The 94-year-old pool, located at 154 Columbia Dr., closed in 2008 when the pool failed to meet public health and safety guidelines, but is now slated to reopen within one year, donning a $2.5 million facelift.

The Davis Islands Civic Association authorized $500,000 to go toward renovations with the remainder coming from the City of Tampa.

“The renovation of this pool has been a community effort. We are making much-needed improvements so that the pool can be a safe and fun place for the entire Davis Islands community to enjoy,” says Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

In June 2011, information from a $50,000 Davis Islands Recreational Area and Roy Jenkins Pool Study was released, targeting areas of demand for the pool.

The study documented existing conditions and evaluated the requirements to meet Department of Health codes. Since, public meetings for Island residents have been held, gaining input and approval of funds; residents have agreed with the Davis Islands Civic Association to authorize funds to go toward the pool's improvement.

“Residents were given an opportunity to comment on study concepts and make recommendations so their voices could be heard before decisions for project improvements were made,” says Laurie Potier-Brown, project manager for the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department.

Pillar Construction Group will work on renovations and, once complete, the pool will include a new operating system, piping, shell, deck and façade; new restrooms are among some of the added features for visitors to enjoy.

Completion is expected by April 2014.

“Next summer, I expect there will be hundreds of kids learning to swim and playing with friends in Roy Jenkins Pool,” Buckhorn says.

Roy Jenkins Pool will be open seasonally throughout the summer.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Mayor Bob Buckhorn & Laurie Potier-Brown, City of Tampa

Riverwalk Connection Enhances Tampa's Sense Of Place

The groundbreaking of the Kennedy Plaza Riverwalk connection marks a fundamental link between downtown Tampa's recreational, residential, commercial, cultural, institutional and employment amenities -- the spaces that help define great cities.

The Riverwalk is perhaps the only vision for the city that has spanned six different mayoral administrations as a major element in Tampa's developing urban fabric. 

"This segment of The Riverwalk is much more than a connection or walkway,'' says Keith Greminger, senior planning and urban design manager at Kimley-Horn and Associates. "It is transformational, not only for The Riverwalk, but for downtown.'' 

The construction of this segment will provide a continuous walkway at the water's edge from the Florida Aquarium to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. It is one of Tampa's most prominent and place specific public realm features. The Riverwalk is the space between the natural environment and the built environment, and gives people access to both. 

The Kennedy Plaza connection will take people close to the water. The design of the deck and structural hoops serve as "portals emphasizing the 'on the water feature' of the new segment,'' says Greminger. The hoops expand on both sides of the bridge to accentuate the gateway into downtown.

The design of the hoops not only provides for different levels of shade, but the egg-shaped hoop solves structural issues by reducing the stress from uplift found in typical pole and fabric structures. The deck and hoop combination are designed to be climate-sensitive by addressing both sun and wind. 

A next phase may bring light beams, which extend from the largest hoops, over Kennedy Boulevard serving as a threshold into downtown.

Source: Keith Greminger, Kimley-Horn Associates, Inc.
Writer: Taryn Sabia

Trammell Crow Spreads Sustainable Development Worldwide

Trammell Crow Company started its focus on sustainable design and development in 2005. Since 2006, the company has completed over 20 million square feet of LEED certified projects, with more in the pipeline.

About 85 percent of the company’s projects are LEED certified, which are 30-40 percent more efficient than traditional buildings.

"The whole idea is to leverage knowledge. To see the best of what’s going on around the country and make sure that we are constantly building on top of the best of what we see done when we take on a new development," says Robert Abberger, Senior Managing Director and Chief Sustainability Officer for Trammell Crow Company.

One such concept is the use of potable water to fuel cooling systems so the condensed water generated can then be pumped back into the water and sewer system, creating a multiplier effect.

Abberger notes that the biggest energy user in the world is commercial buildings (even more so than cars or residences), creating huge implications for the impact on human health and the environment.

Projects in Tampa Bay include the Marriott Waterside in downtown Tampa, an intermodal facility at the Port of Ybor and Posner Commons on I-4.

A flagship project is Darden's global headquarters in Orlando. Since Trammell Crow Company developed the building, the company has taken sustainability to the next level, reducing potable water consumption by more than 1 billion gallons per year throughout its 1,700 restaurants.

Abberger says his job is particularly rewarding when clients share his passion and excitement for sustainability. "The things that we’re doing have a national impact, which is then carried to international activities. It’s pretty rewarding."

The company is one of 13 local businesses honored recently with The University of Tampa's Earth Charter Sustainable Business Awards. The awards were based on three criteria: people (employee and community wellbeing), planet (environmental health) and profit (economic viability).

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Robert Abberger, Trammell Crow Company
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