A $3 billion development is experiencing activity across office, retail and hospitality lines, amid some key personnel moves.
Water Street Tampa, the $3 billion development that is poised to transform downtown Tampa over the next decade, is experiencing a flurry of activity in its planned hotel, office and retail space.
The 56-acre project, a joint venture between Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment LLC, also has seen movement recently in its property management and through a key hire at the company that is overseeing construction.
Perhaps most notably, developer Strategic Property Partners LLC (SPP) has officially broken ground on the first new office building downtown in a generation.
The 20-story tower at 1001 Water St. becomes the first dedicated office structure to go vertical in the city’s central business district since 1992, the year the 42-story 100 N. Tampa St. skyscraper and the 36-story SunTrust Financial Centre were completed. Together, those two buildings comprise nearly 1.1 million square feet.
SPP says the new 380,000-square-foot building, which is being constructed adjacent to the $152 million University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine from a Cookfox Architects’ design, will be completed in summer 2021.
“The timing is really good for us to come out with the two buildings we’ve presented — 1001 Water Street and Sparkman Wharf,” says David Bevirt, SPP’s executive vice president of corporate leasing and strategy.
“We’re strongly encouraged by the pre-leasing activity we’ve been seeing.”
Although 1001 Water St. has to date signed just a single tenant — Chicago-based accounting firm RSM US LLP — Bevirt says talks are underway with companies that could take down another five full floors of the office building, many of which are national firms already with a presence in Tampa.
Although SPP is hoping to leverage the newness of its offerings and their collective quality — company CEO James Nozar says in a statement that Water Street is aiming to “reimagine the workplace” with a focus on wellness through design — Bevirt acknowledges that absorption and rental rates have also played a significant role in bringing 1001 Water Street and companion project 400 Channelside Drive to market.
“A lot of this is about timing,” Bevirt says. “It’s really a build-it-and-they-will-come mentality. Today, the office vacancy rate for Class A space downtown is less than nine percent, and rental rates are higher than ever. But what sets us apart is that’s we’re really focused more than building a trophy office building on the experiences that people will have there.”
Part of that experience will come in providing retail space close by, much of it with a wellness bent.
In the latest example of that strategy, earlier this month SPP unveiled plans to add a Publix Super Markets Inc. GreenWise organic market to Water Street Tampa.
The 26,000-square-foot store will be located on the ground floor of 815 Water St., a twin-towered residential project under construction at the intersection of Water Street and Channelside Drive.
SPP, which says the store will be a “vital amenity” and reflect the “vision of creating a holistic lifestyle by prioritizing access to products that promote health and wellness,” is slated to open in 2021.
The move begin work at 1001 Water Street also comes as SPP and contractor Coastal Construction has topped off the 26-story JW Marriott Tampa, a 519-room lodging property slated to open in late 2020.
The new hotel, which is being designed to contain rooftop swimming pools and a lawn and sun terrace together with 100,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space, is being developed adjacent to the Tampa Convention Center, Amalie Arena and the newly renamed Marriott Water Street Hotel.
While the office, retail and hotel developments have understandably garnered considerable attention, Water Street Tampa also has taken significant steps in personnel outside of bricks-and-mortar building.
Perhaps most notably, Water Street Tampa general contractor Coastal Construction, of Miami, hired a Tampa division president four months ago to lead its efforts in the new neighborhood and beyond.
Craig Klingensmith joins Coastal after a 30-year career as president of the tower division chief at WCI Communities and as division president of Lennar Corp.’s Northeast urban vertical projects team, where he specialized in high-end residential high rises.
He says he’s not at all daunted by the mixed-use nature of the projects at Water Street Tampa.
“There are differences, obviously, but to an extent, a high rise is a high rise — they all have the same complexities and share similar building systems,” says Klingensmith, 52, a Maryland native who joined Coastal in March and now oversees 60 workers in the company’s Tampa office, one of four the company maintains.
“My management expertise and background is in luxury residential buildings, but that’s not an issue because here at Coastal we have a whole team of people who whose expertise is in those other product segments,” Klingensmith says.
And while Klingensmith intends to focus on Water Street Tampa for years to come, he’s also preparing for the day when Coastal Construction will look to other projects and Gulf Coast cities for work.
“We want and plan to be here a lot longer than it takes to construct Water Street Tampa,” he says. “We hope eventually to build in Clearwater, St. Petersburg and elsewhere in this community.”
Dan Whiteman, Coastal Construction’s vice chairman, says Klingensmith came on the company’s radar when he worked at WCI.
“We knew that WCI built some of the most high-quality projects of any developer, and that they demanded and expected their leaders to go above and beyond in terms of customer service and team building,” he says. “And in Craig, we found all of those qualities and others that we were looking for in a leader for our Tampa operations.”
SPP, too, says Coastal Construction’s work has been exemplary.
“Coastal is currently our construction partner on three projects, and about to begin on a fourth, totaling just over two million square feet — all under construction at one time,” says a SPP spokeswoman. “This is a tremendous undertaking, and they are doing great work.”
SPP’s decision to tap Coastal Construction for a fourth Water Street Tampa building isn’t the only personnel move it’s made of late.
Earlier this month, the developer selected commercial real estate brokerage firm JLL as its property manager for the forthcoming 1001 Water St. and 400 Channelside buildings.
JLL, whose property management work will be led by the firm’s Sean McNamara, Carol Dunn and Joe Robinson, had previously been chosen to lease both buildings, as well.
“Within Water Street Tampa, we hope to elevate the experience for tenants by providing an integrated approach to services and amenities, and we are delighted to extend our partnership with the (JLL) team to deliver on this,” Bevirt says.