Why Downtown Tampa’s Encore Development Deserves a Standing Ovation
Downtown Tampa has entered into an era of redevelopment and revitalization. The city is embracing the concept of urban living and are concentrating efforts on a renewed interest in downtown’s potential for growth. There has been a push from the public and private sectors to bring downtown Tampa to the national forefront.
Most recently, Tampa has received recognition from the national sports community. Not only was it tapped as the host city for Super Bowl LV (2021), but it was also selected to host the 2018 NHL All-Star Playoffs. Much of the surrounding festivities for these events will focus on downtown, highlighting the ongoing effort to revitalize the area.
Additionally, the downtown core has seen a rise in the urban lifestyle concept. Increasingly, professionals are opting for environments like micro-apartments to optimize their exposure to the urban core while reducing economic footprints. Short term office space and coworking venues have popped up downtown to complement this shift.
While there are a lot of contributing factors that have resulted in this revitalization, its one project in particular, that we feel deserves recognition for realizing downtown’s potential: the Encore District development.
Breaking ground in 2010, the Encore development sought to re-imagine and revitalize a vastly under-served and neglected area. It has since set an example of the type of urban-centric growth that Tampa has embraced.
History of the Encore Development
Located just on the edge of downtown Tampa’s business district, Encore’s Central Avenue neighborhood is rich in cultural history. The Central Avenue neighborhood’s history dates back to Tampa’s early days, where it enjoyed a status as a thriving commerce hub for African-American businesses. It also had a prominent cultural scene, with many of the clubs serving as proving grounds for America’s most well-known jazz and R&B performers.
In the 1950s, to meet population demands, a 28-acre public housing project was developed: Central Park Village. However, the following years saw the area in decline. By the 70s, Central Avenue’s business district had been all but dismantled and Central Park Village slid into decay.
The abandoned project sat as an eyesore until 2006, when the Tampa Housing Authority began accepting bids to redevelop the area. The Encore project was unveiled in 2009 with development beginning the following year
From the start, project leaders focused on revitalizing not just real estate, but the community that it served. The Encore District provides an inclusive, community development offering senior housing, mixed-income housing as well as a growing mix of retail services.
It also lead the way in sustainable real estate development in the Tampa area, with all four residence halls carrying LEED certifications.
Here is the vision for the Encore district, including currently in-the-works projects:
4 Residential Communities
- The Ella
- First development to be completed, it is also one of the two senior-dedicated housing developments for the project
- The Trio
- Offering 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units, the Trio was completed in 2014. It serves as one of the two multi-family developments for the project
- The Reed
- The second senior-dedicated housing, the Reed was completed in 2015.
- The Tempo
- Scheduled for completion by the end of 2017, the Tempo will be the second multi-family development. It will also offer 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units.
In addition to the residential amenities available in each tower, the Encore project plans to revitalize the surrounding area. Shops, cafés, and restaurants are all planned additions for the area. Construction began on the first retail location in May, with other local businesses currently under contract. Hotel developments are also in the works.
Downtown Tampa’s business district is also just a stone’s throw from Encore. While office space in the Encore District has yet to come down the pipeline, residents can still make the most of urban living. Convenient, accessible Temporary office space is available nearby. Many locations also offer simple, day offices and hourly meeting room rentals
Building Downtown Tampa’s Future
The Encore project was really a major step for Tampa in revitalizing the downtown core. By combining the demand for mixed-income housing with a focus on urban growth, it paved the way for projects like SPP’s Channelside project and Related’s Tribune development.
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