These days it’s a miracle you can see anything between the cranes that cover Downtown Tampa and the urban core. After 25 years without a new office tower in the central business district, no fewer than four are under construction, not to mention the residential buildings, bars, restaurants and medical facilities rising alongside them. Though much of the current work won’t come to fruition for another few years, 2020 is already shaping up to be a big year for new businesses and developments. Read on for some of the most exciting developments coming this year.
Cigar City Brewing Taproom
Possibly the only thing Tampa loves more than craft beer is the Lightning, so this team-up is a match made in heaven. Recently named by the Tampa Bay Lightning as the team’s official craft beer partner, Cigar City Brewing is opening a taproom on the ground floor of the Pam Iorio Parking Garage next to Amalie Arena. The bar, located off the Thunder Alley plaza, will face the arena entrance and be open on both event days and non-event days. In addition, the brewery’s annual Hunahpu’s Beer Festival is moving to the arena for the 2020 event, happening March 13. The taproom is slated to open in mid-December 2019, with more details to come as we move into 2020.
301 Channelside Drive
CVS is the latest major retailer to move into the Channel District, following Publix and Starbucks. The drugstore will open a 13,000-foot space on the first floor of Grand Central at Kennedy on the corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Meridian Avenue. An opening is expected early this year, according to CVS.
1120 E. Kennedy Blvd.
CW’s Gin Joint expansion
The Prohibition-inspired cocktail bar recently filed plans with the city to expand outdoors with an open-air bar and restaurant. Covered partially by a glass roof, the seating would be constructed on the east side of the building, along Franklin Street. Led by businesswoman Carolyn Wilson (the eponymous CW), the Wilson Company has not announced a completion date for the expansion project.
633 N. Franklin St.
Tampa Heights (particularly around Armature Works) is welcoming new businesses left and right. Located on the first floor of The Pearl apartments, this will be Strandhill Public’s second location. The modern Irish pub serves up traditional favorites like Shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, and an all-day Irish breakfast, plus updated offerings like the six-minute Irish egg (a twist on a Scotch egg, coated in ground pork and panko bread crumbs then fried). Opening is slated for January.
309 W. Palm Ave.
Xochitl Cocina Mexicana
Tampa’s cup overflows with taco spots, but this new Tampa Heights restaurant is promising “uniquely handcrafted Mexican cuisine” carefully selected to pair with its lineup of drinks. The restaurant will make each of its tortillas in house and plans to source its ingredients locally. Xochitl is putting the final touches on its space and is expected to open at the tail end of 2019 or in early 2020.
307 W. Palm Ave.
J.C. Newman Cigar Company Museum
The last cigar company in Tampa (and the whole country, in fact) to be owned and operated by its founding family is renovating part of its factory to share the story of Cigar City with more people. Currently under construction, the J.C. Newman Cigar Company will open an expanded museum to highlight Newman’s 125-year cigar-making history and will introduce docent-led tours, cigar tastings, cigar-making experiences and a factory store. The museum is expected to open in the spring of 2020.
2701 N. 16th St.
The newest concept from the Nocturnal Hospitality Group is an Asian fusion restaurant with a strong focus on sushi and cocktails. On social media, celebrity chef Fabio Viviani and his team have teased menu offerings like seared kobe beef in butter sauce, sweet and spicy octopus, and yellowtail belly. Shibui is expected to open on the ground floor of downtown’s Element building in early 2020.
800 N. Franklin St.
USF Morsani College of Medicine
The first new building to open in the Water Street Tampa district is the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine’s new campus, which will also house the USF Heart Institute and Taneja College of Pharmacy. Additionally, as part of its overall partnership with USF Health, Tampa General Hospital has leased around 25,000 square feet of space inside the building to use for a first-floor urgent care center and imaging center, plus an executive wellness suite. The building will open in January.
546 Channelside Drive
Michelle Faedo’s Tampeño Cuisine
Known for her devil crab and Cuban sandwiches, Michelle Faedo will open her second Downtown Tampa restaurant in the Hillsborough County Center building. Faedo will be serving her award-winning Cuban, among other dishes, beginning on a yet-to-be-announced date. After operating the successful food truck Michelle Faedo’s on the Go, Faedo and her husband opened their first brick-and-mortar restaurant at the Encore apartment community in 2018.
601 E. Kennedy Blvd.
After taking over cities like New York (seriously, walk around Manhattan and try to go more than a few blocks without seeing the WeWork logo), this coworking space is coming for Tampa with not one, but two downtown locations. WeWork bought the naming rights to 501 East Kennedy Boulevard, which is now known as WeWork Place, and occupies three floors of the tower. In the second half of this year, the company will open a space on two floors of the new Heights Union building across from Armature Works. Amenities in the spaces include business services, high-speed wifi, coffee, fruit water, and more Insta-friendly furniture and art walls than you can shake an AirPod at.
501 E. Kennedy Blvd.
2002 N. Tampa St.
Chicago’s Aparium Hotel Group is well into construction on this four-story, 178-room hotel on the 1400 block of Ybor City’s Seventh Avenue. Plans for the hotel, which is scheduled to open this spring, include an interior courtyard with a pool, a ground-floor café and restaurant, and balconies overlooking Ybor. Aparium has worked to incorporate the style of the existing building, which was the longtime home of Las Novedades restaurant.
1412 E. 7th Ave.
One of two new hotels in the Water Street Tampa project, the J.W. Marriott will be developer Strategic Property Partners’ first building to open in late 2020 — just in time for the Super Bowl in Tampa. The J.W. will feature four food and beverage options, a spa, two rooftop pools, and retail space along the first floor. Plans also call for an indoor-outdoor rooftop space on the 26th floor with 360-views of the city and Hillsborough Bay. In addition to housing the region’s largest ballroom (30,000 square feet), the J.W.’s event space will serve as an addition to the existing space at the neighboring Marriott Water Street; the two hotels will connect via skybridge over Water Street.
Water Street Tampa
Construction has been underway all year at Sparkman Wharf to build out both the second-floor loft-style office space and the first-floor retail space along Channelside Drive and the waterfront. Once completed later in 2020, the complex will have about 180,000 square feet of loft-style office space with direct access through a new two-story lobby on Channelside Drive. Developer Strategic Property Partners has announced Sparkman Wharf’s first two retail tenants, both slated to open in the spring. Semolina is an Italian restaurant by the team behind St. Petersburg’s Il Ritorno and will feature made-to-order pastas plus breads, salads, wine and beer. Free the Cork is a wine bar with small plates by chef Nelson Perkins, offering more than 150 wines by the bottle and 50-plus by the glass. Both restaurants will feature a walk-up window for grab-and-go service.
615 Channelside Drive