Tampa’s Super Bowl Win Signals Downtown as Economic Growth Generator

This week’s announcement that Tampa will serve as the host city for Super Bowl LV (2021), further signals the area’s rise as a major economic generator for the southeast region. The focal point for this emergence as a growth hub? Downtown Tampa.

As indicated by Mayor Bob Buckhorn in his Super Bowl announcement, downtown Tampa will serve as the centerpiece for the Super Bowl festivities. Barring the actual game itself, all events and functions will be held at various downtown venues, including the convention center and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

Much like the college football national championships the city hosted lasted fall, events will be held downtown to showcase the city’s redevelopment progress, namely featuring downtown’s River Walk and surrounding amenities.

Downtown Tampa’s Economic Growth Factor

The revitalization of Tampa’s downtown has been a major focus for the city’s Economic Development Council. They have been actively pushing for redevelopment and new construction projects to make the area more of a draw. Additionally, the city has been making moves to promote downtown as a major commercial hub.

Now, we are seeing the fruits of all this labor. Downtown is rapidly positioning itself as prime destination for commercial growth. Major corporations relocating here along with start-up companies finding their footing has jump-started a demand for urban living. 

Downtown, for it’s part, is embracing the urban living trend. Collaborative work spaces and business incubators are popping-up to meet incoming mixed-use projects. Businesses are beginning to work together and share ideas. A cohesive downtown community is forming.

Here a few projects and developments-in various stages of completion-that mark downtown as a major economic growth generator for the region.

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

If you live in Tampa, chances are you’ve made your way out to Curtis Hixon. The park may be the first “success story” igniting downtown’s economic growth. It is a great example of a neglected parcel of land that was otherwise prime for redevelopment. Now, it serves as a visual centerpiece for downtown’s riverfront, complementing the Tampa Museum of Modern Art.

Since it’s completion, it has been a favorite choice of venue for many events and festivities, including:

Channelside Redevelopment

This project has been the talk of the town for some time now, mainly for the big-name players attached to it. Tampa Bay Lightning owner, Jeff Vinik is a big proponent of making downtown a major economic growth generator. He, and the Vinik Family Foundation have been active in promoting growth and redevelopment of the area.

Now, he’s teaming up with Cascade Investment Group (a private investment firm launched by Bill Gates), to introduce a major revitalization project to the Channelside district of Tampa’s downtown. The project, estimated at $2 billion, will be a highly intensive redevelopment. Not only will we see an influx of commercial, retail and residential developments, but the project will also effect major infrastructure reworkings for the area.

Centered around Amalie Arena, the redevelopment will link Channelside with the rest of the River Walk. The project is rooted in a health-friendly initiative in tandem with a focus on urban living. Complementing this development will be the addition of USF’s new College of Medicine.

Downtown River Arts District/N. Franklin

Another major area of focus for revitalization is the Downtown River Arts Neighborhood on downtown’s northern edge. There has been a strong push from residents and businesses in the area to bring in new retail and commerce and it’s paying off. Now the area is heralding major economic growth.

A major milestone for the area was the completion of Water Works park.

The area, chiefly along N. Franklin Ave., is now home to a diverse mixture of residential, retail and commercial activity.


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