Tampa is attracting attention as a trendsetter for modern American cities. Florida’s third-largest city is in the midst of an ambitious revitalization project along the waterfront that caters to the live/work/play lifestyle. Some experts say the Water Street Tampa project will turn Tampa into a world-class global city. It’s already a hot real estate market with home prices that are rising but are still below their pre-recession peak and affordable.
Tampa Market Gains $22 Billion
A Zillow analysis shows the Tampa Bay housing market was worth an additional $22 billion dollars last year for a total value of $239 billion. That’s a big rise in value, but it’s also almost 7% less than it was worth in 2005 to 2006 so buyers can still purchase homes at a discount to their historical values. Plans for the Water Street Project will only enhance what experts expect to be another good year for the Tampa Bay area.
The Robb Report describes Tampa as a “tier 2” city that many people think of as a place to “retire.” But it says that Tampa has an average age that is “below” the national average, and is now in the midst of an upgrade that’s sure to attract people of all ages, not just retirees. (1)
Tampa as Modern City Showcase
The Robb Report covers the luxury real estate market, and says of Tampa Bay that it took a look at “future trends in American living through the lens of one of the country’s most ambitious projects.” The article says, “By 2027, downtown Tampa could be a modern showcase of sustainable, attainable living.”
The project website says it will include nine million square feet of space with everything from commercial, residential, and retail to cultural, educational, and entertainment venues. It will include 3,500 new for-sale and rental homes. That’s almost double what’s available now in downtown Tampa. Almost 13 acres will be reserved for open space and parks. (2)
The master plan will also emphasize walkability by creating pedestrian-friendly streets between major venues like the Tampa Convention Center and the Riverwalk. Trees that produce large, shady canopies will be planted along streets for shade in the summer, and to provide an accent for water features. Public art will be incorporated into the landscape.
The designers are also integrating technology into the project with free 5G WIFI, app-based parking, digital assistants and guides, and other smart building features. It’s one of the only developments of its kind in the nation that’s geared toward the now-trending dynamic urban lifestyle.
Water Street Tampa as WELL-Certified Community
The project broke ground last spring and claims to be the first WELL-certified community in the world. That’s a community that meets a number of lifestyle standards including options for healthy eating, fitness, recreation, and social activities. The project website says the WELL certification “prioritizes residents’ health with noise mitigation within the built environment, air quality controls and monitoring, and water purification and filtration.”
Developers are also hoping to get LEED certification for the Neighborhood Development category. The ranking measures sustainability and energy efficiency in a dense but walkable, and accessible urban environment.
John Rossant of the NewCities Foundation says of the project, “The people backing it financially are super smart and what’s interesting is that from the get-go, Water Street was positioned as world-class — something that could radically reposition Tampa and turn it into a global city.” Bill Gates and entrepreneur Jeff Vinik are two of those backers.
Tampa Reinvents Itself to Stay Relevant
The Robb Report says that Tampa is “another tier 2 city that’s reinventing a large swatch of land in order to stay relevant among the shifting needs of modern buyers, renters, and visitors.” Combined with the Tampa Innovation District, the city as a whole offers a look into the future of large-scale redevelopment that’s focused on quality of life. Experts say that this is what cities need to do if they want to survive — they need to adapt to the evolving needs of the 21st-century workforce, and of course, the millennial mindset. (3)
Tampa’s mayor Bob Buckhorn, says of the younger members of the workforce that they are “like baitfish.” He says, “It wasn’t the case eight years ago, but now we’ve become this place where kids want to be. Ultimately, they’ll dictate who wins this race.”
Tampa as Rising Star Among Cities
Tampa is positioning itself as a rising star among cities. It’s also a top single family rental market in our RealWealth, and the host of our annual East Coast Property Showcase coming up in just a few weeks. Many of our members will be flying to Tampa to enjoy the city, and see presentations from all our property teams.
It’s an opportunity for investors to compare all of our markets at just one event, and to enjoy some networking and mingling with other like-minded people. You can read more about the event at our website (4), and sign up if you’d like to go. We hope to see you there!