Tampa: A City on the Move to the Top
Tampa was recently ranked as one of the best cities in which to live, eat, and have fun, according to various articles on WalletHub.com.
In July, Tampa was rated the 16th best BIG city “to live in.” It was also ranked the 20th Best City Overall after scoring high in entertainment, nightlife and low cost. And since it’s the holiday season, it’s important to note that Tampa as the 21st Best Place to Celebrate the Holidays.
When it comes to pet-friendly living, Tampa is ranked #6. It is also home to an award-winning Humane Societies. For vegans and vegetarians, you’ve found your home, too, as Tampa ranks 12th on the Best Places for Vegans & Vegetarians list. It is also one of the greenest cities, coming in at number 38.
“In my 30 plus years in Tampa, I’ve never been more excited about our city’s managed growth and development as I am now,” says Mike Hydorn, a Realtor with Keller Williams Tampa Properties. “We are quickly becoming a city that the nation and world is paying attention to without losing the sense of community I love.”
There are several reasons that Tampa ranks high on these lists and is a desirable location to live. Tampa is walkable and beautiful, is a booming tech town, and caters to a younger generation. As a result,
Already underway as a 22-acre mixed-use project, Midtown Tampa will “deliver 1.8 million square feet of retail, residential, office, entertainment and hospitality to the surrounding neighborhood and entire city. Scheduled for completion in 2020, Midtown Tampa will redefine a neighborhood and become one of the most popular destinations in the region.”
Midtown Tampa will include a Whole Foods, 390 apartment units through Crescent Communities, and four acres of activated outdoor space. For those looking to purchase a home instead, there are several housing communities nearby that offer an ideal investment opportunity adjacent to an entirely new district connecting Westshore and Downtown.
“Midtown Tampa is a unique and exciting project that will serve as work, live, play hub for people in central Tampa that are looking for an alternative to the Channelside, Ybor and Westshore areas. From a homeowner’s perspective, this project will do a lot for the surrounding neighborhoods in terms of value and desirability,” commented Hydorn. “We are already seeing an increase in interest in these neighborhoods in terms of new construction and renovation permits submitted to the city.”
This past weekend, Nov 30-Dec 2, Sparkman Wharf celebrated its grand opening with food, games, and entertainment. Although the project is already open to the public, upon full completion in 2020, Sparkman Wharf will include about 180,000 square feet of office lofts, 65,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, plus a 1-acre outdoor space with a lawn, outdoor dining, and a beer garden.
The history of the space is part of what makes Sparkman Wharf so special. According to their website, “Sparkman Wharf is named after Stephen Sparkman, one of Tampa’s original movers and shakers. As the region’s first congressman, Sparkman secured the federal funding to dig the deep-water channels to downtown, creating Port Tampa Bay and allowing larger ships to come closer to downtown and historic Ybor City. This forever changed the economic and physical landscape of downtown Tampa.”
There are several upcoming events planned for Sparkman Wharf, including Tampa Bay Lighting games and movies at dusk displayed on the outdoor 10×17 foot LED screen, performances by the organizers of Gasparilla, and TED Talks on the large open stage.
According to the City of Tampa website, “the concept of a river walk along the downtown Tampa waterfront has been around since the mid-1970s.” In 2003, the project was moved to a top priority. With an emphasis on “accelerating the development of the waterfront to enhance the image of Tampa as a beautiful and unique destination,” the goal was to create a Riverwalk with “timeless appeal and memorable qualities that will draw people from both near and far.”
Since then, the City of Tampa has been transformed into a true waterfront city. The Riverwalk caters to nature lovers, pet lovers, and exercise buffs. It features a pathway extending from the Channelside area to Tampa Heights along the east side of the Hillsborough River. “It incorporates pedestrian amenities, art and interpretive elements, retail and restaurants, and parks and open space.”
The Riverwalk is a key developmental element and has “revitalized the heart of the city” by centering the vibrant and booming city around its most precious resource — the waterfront. The city’s vision “to create a vibrant and interactive waterfront experience for residents and visitors that reflects the spirit and uniqueness of Tampa” has become reality.
Hydorn adds, “The Riverwalk has truly transformed downtown for Tampa residents and visitors. Being able to walk or bike a little over 2 miles along the river from Armature Works to the Sparkman Wharf is an amazing win for downtown Tampa. We owe a lot to our current and former mayors for having the vision for the Riverwalk and the fortitude to make it happen. These are exciting times for Tampa.”