Midtown Tampa’s construction goes vertical

After 20 years of planning and $30 million in road, drainage and other infrastructure work, contractors will start construction on several buildings more or less simultaneously.

By Richard Danielson
Published May 15
Updated May 15

TAMPA — After decades as what its owner describes as a “lost land” between downtown Tampa and West Shore, Midtown Tampa is ready to see a construction blitz intended to create a sense of identity for an area from Interstate 275 south to W Kennedy Boulevard.

The Bromley Companies of New York have spent $30 million on site work and infrastructure to prepare their 22 acres at I-275 and N Dale Mabry Highway for vertical construction.

“We started on this project 20 years ago, and what we began with is not where we are today,” said Bill Haines, chairman of the Bromley Companies, the master developer for the $500 million mixed-use project. “And what I’ve concluded is neither the city of Tampa nor the Bromley Companies was ready for where we were going.”

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Now they are, he said Wednesday. Within three weeks, Bromley will launch construction on several buildings — including a hotel with a rooftop gathering place, a 7-story office building with ground-floor retail, nearly 400 apartments, the bay area’s largest Whole Foods Market — more or less simultaneously. Instead of building one structure at a time, several contractors will work to deliver nine buildings and two parking garages before the Super Bowl returns to Tampa in February 2021.

The simultaneous construction adds a degree of difficulty to the 1.8 million-square-foot project, but Haines said it’s important that each part of the project open together, because the activity generated by the offices, stores, restaurants, apartments and hotel space is meant to be integrated and to feed off the cross-pollination of the uses.

“Our vision for Midtown is to create a unifying place for hospitality, living, working and shopping designed around 4 acres of common public spaces,” Bromley chief executive officer Nick Haines said, including a commons at the center of the project and a large pond with a fitness trail, dog parks and workout areas.

So far, almost 50 percent of the retail space and 40 percent of the office space is spoken for, Nick Haines said. Developers are talking to prospective tenants who are in the market for more than 500,000 square feet of office space about going into Midtown One, the project’s first office tower.

“This project right here is really a defining moment for our city,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said. She expects and hopes that development will ripple outward and transform the area— except, she said, for the “iconic” Village Inn on Dale Mabry, because then “the cops would have no place to eat” — and also help provide critical mass for bus rapid transit or an extension of the streetcar on W Cypress Street. “The city’s going to change more than in the next 10 years than it has in my entire lifetime.”