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Business Observer Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 7 months ago

Cold comfort: Massive development unveils cooling facility

Water Street Tampa takes another step forward with the completion of the project that will fight Florida's summer heat.

With two major ribbon-cuttings this month, Water Street Tampa’s progress has gone from trickle to steady flow.

Tampa Bay Trane designed and built the Water Street District Cooling infrastructure. Courtesy photo.

First, on Jan. 8, USF Health threw open the doors of its new, 13-story, $130 million Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute. The building will anchor Strategic Property Partners’ $3 billion mixed-use development.

Then, on Jan. 15, SPP executives, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp celebrated the opening of Water Street Tampa District Cooling, a 12,500-square-foot facility that will cool the neighborhood’s buildings via chilled water circulated through 1.7 miles of underground, insulated steel pipes.

Built by Tampa Bay Trane and Creative Contractors, the plant has been touted as an efficient, centralized and environmentally sustainable way to cool the dozens of buildings that will eventually be part of the 56-acre Water Street Tampa.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, SPP Executive Vice President Charlie Rollins noted that its output would be 30-40% more efficient than traditional air-conditioning units. It will also free up rooftop space for amenities including pools, bars and even dog-walking areas. And with no individual chillers running, Water Street’s buildings will be much less noisy.

The Water Street District Cooling building will help air condition the dozens of buildings that will be part of the 56-acre mixed-use development east of downtown Tampa. Courtesy photo.

“There are a whole host of benefits,” Rollins says. “And for us, the ownership, efficiency is good for our bottom line.”

Castor, in her comments at the event, paid tribute to former Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who, years ago, began working with Jeff Vinik and SPP on the vision for Water Street Tampa. “His footprint is all over Water Street,” she says. “Hats off to him.”

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