Even in the face of coronavirus, Midtown Tampa developer is confident in early 2021 opening

By  – Senior Reporter, Tampa Bay Business Journal

Midtown Tampa is quickly coming together at the intersection of Interstate 275 and Dale Mabry Highway — and the developer behind the $500 million project says coronavirus shouldn’t affect its opening in early 2021.

Construction sites in Tampa Bay remain active, as state and city leaders have declared construction an essential industry. Large-scale jobs sites like Midtown are subject to specific guidelines from the city of Tampa, but Bromley Cos. CEO Nicholas Haines told the Tampa Bay Business Journal that the 22-acre district remains on track.

Bromley, which began assembling the land for Midtown in the late 1990s, on Monday said it has signed Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Co. for a flagship cafe. Vertical construction on the project began in May 2019, and Midtown is aiming to be open for Super Bowl LV, which will be held at nearby Raymond James Stadium.

Coronavirus hasn’t slowed the district’s momentum, Haines said. Midtown has recently hit several construction milestones, and Haines said that in conversations with tenants, he’s found that most are looking past the pandemic. The four different contractors on the site are working well together to follow social distancing and sanitizing protocols, and there are workers on the site six days a week.

“Midtown was not built for the next two years. It’s built for the next 50,” Haines said. “All the restaurants that we signed leases for and a number we’re finalizing — we’re really heartened by the fact that everyone is thinking beyond the recent month and has a much larger term perspective.”

The office building, Midtown One, topped out in early March at eight stories; the dual-flag hotel topped out on March 26, and the apartments will top off in the coming weeks.

“With opening dates scheduled for next year, we have enough time to move on from the current state of things,” Haines said. “We have another eight or nine months until we open the project. If Midtown were going to open in June, I think there’d be a significant impact.”

Like the other mixed-use districts under construction around Tampa, Midtown is built on the premise of experience — Bromley is looking to create a place that can draw people away from their smartphones and Amazon. Commercial real estate experts say the social distancing measures put in place to slow the virus’ spread could reshape some market sectors, but Haines says the situation has reaffirmed Bromley’s commitment to experiential retailers.

“The online aspects of [retail] are becoming more entrenched,” he said, “so it behooves us to continue to focus on retailers that provide something you can’t get online.”