MIDTOWN TAMPA recently unveiled plans for a dual-branded Element and Aloft hotel. Construction starts this summer, and the new seven-story hotel will include a rooftop terrace, lounge and pool. 226 rooms are expected to be available.
The CROSS-BAY FERRY service that links Downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg could make a permanent return in 2022. Originally operating between November and April, a new year-round ferry service connecting MacDill Air Force Base and south Hillsborough County during the weekdays and Downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg in the evenings and on weekends is now in the preparation stages, according to policy advisors for the ferry operator. Seasonal operation is expected to return in November 2019.
Renovations are underway at SPARKMAN WHARF, including the creation of more retail and office space. Expected to wrap up next year, construction has already begun on 150,000 square feet of new loft-style office space, plus space for 10 new ground-floor retail tenants and improvements to the waterfront wharf.
A study by Homes.com ranked Tampa fourth amongst America’s most FAMILY-FRIENDLY cities. The list took into consideration factors such as crime scores and school quality, concluding that Tampa’s notability came from quality child care and a low cost of living.
GARRISON TAVERN has officially opened at the Tampa Marriott Water Street, formerly the Marriott Waterside. The new restaurant features a menu created by chef Richard Sandoval, a full bar, an in-house butcher, an exclusive Coppertail Brewing Co. beer and Florida’s only interactive Topgolf Swing Suite, which includes two bays with simulated golf, hockey and other games.
TAMPA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT has launched a new program called TPA All Access that allows guests without scheduled flights to visit the shops and restaurants in the airsides. The program runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each Saturday, and only 25 people per airside will be admitted each day. Visitors must sign up for a free pass to their selected airside at least 24 hours before their visit. Slots for each date open three months in advance.
A new SOHO JUICE CO. location has opened in the Heights Public Market at Armature Works. The company’s fifth location offers acai bowls, smoothies, juice cleanses, cold-pressed juices and vegan eats.
Rocky Point’s newest hotel, the CURRENT HOTEL, is slated to open in June. A member of the Marriott Autograph Collection of hotels, the Current was designed to appeal to locals as well as guests and will feature a retail space curated by Oxford Exchange, a Buddy Brew coffee shop, a J.C. Newman cigar lounge and Rox, the city’s tallest rooftop bar.
Tampa restaurants OXFORD EXCHANGE and ULELE made OpenTable’s list of the 100 best brunch spots in America. The reservation website said the list was compiled using diner reviews and ratings, user clout, the total number of reviews and regional rankings.
Two neighboring restaurants have recently opened in Seminole Heights. Hot chicken spot KING OF THE COOP features spicy chicken tenders and leg quarters, as well as chicken sandwiches with sides of macaroni and cheese and collard greens. FLORIDA EATS specializes in customizable fresh, healthy bowls with vegetarian and vegan options. Locally produced kombucha is also served, courtesy of Kombucha Tampa.
The new ANNA MARIA BEACH RESORT has officially opened for business on Anna Maria Island’s Holmes Beach, featuring 31 California Coastal-style rooms with private balconies or patios for a waterfront view. An 80-foot zero-entry lagoon-style pool is also accessible on property, as well as a spacious lounge deck.