It’s been three decades since a new office tower was completed in downtown Tampa.
Developer Strategic Property Partners (SPP) is confident tenants will find its 20-story Thousand & One building worth the wait.
Designed by New York-based Cookfox Architects with a “biophilic” intent to blend in with, and accentuate, the natural environment, the 1001 Water St. tower features a series of green touches — from heightened air filtration indoors to “pocket parks” just outside aimed at expanding the workplace.
“This was designed in conjunction with nature,” says Dave Bevirt, SPP’s executive vice president of corporate leasing and strategy.
“It’s the whole idea behind this building.”
The 385,000-square-foot tower, part of a multibuilding first phase within the $3.5 billion Water Street Tampa development, also features 10-foot tall, floor-to-ceiling glass to maximize natural light and a series of outdoor, landscaped terraces containing “raingardens” and outdoor awnings that enhance shade.
SPP, a joint venture between investor and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment LLC, is hoping the environmental push will allow Thousand & One to achieve both a LEED certification for construction and be among the first in the U.S. to obtain a WELL certification from the International WELL Building Institute for building systems.
“The entire WELL certification is based on science,” says Johan Koch, a SPP senior vice president. “One of the ideas is that more natural light increases activity and productivity.”
SPP is aiming to convince tenants that Thousand & One’s space will help them recruit and retain high-quality employees, which in turn will allow them to generate more revenue and boost their internal return on investments.
The linking of employee wellness to the physical workspace won’t come cheap, though.
Even after SPP decided to whittle down its asking rental rates late last year from about $55 per square foot, Thousand & One remains the most expensive office space in Tampa Bay.
Bevirt says asking rents are now “in the low $50s” per square foot, though commercial real estate experts say they believe the developer will pare that figure considerably in an effort to be aggressive in courting prospects.
To date, the 1001 Water St. offering has landed three tenants: Chicago-based accounting firm RSM US LLP, Suffolk Construction and Sila Realty Trust Inc. Collectively, the trio has committed to 34,700 square feet.
RSM and Suffolk are expected to move into Thousand & One in September, with Sila Realty relocating from the Westshore suburbs in January.
Bevirt and agents from commercial real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield, which is marketing the office space, say they are “very encouraged” by the leasing activity in the new building.
“We’re negotiating with tenants that would take roughly 100,000 square feet,” Bevirt says. “We’re hopeful that within about 30 days we’ll have some pretty exciting news.
“Leasing activity is exceeding our expectations.”
Although Thousand & One leasing stalled amid the pandemic, as companies nationwide shrank their office requirements in favor of work-from-home models, Bevirt says occupiers today are re-establishing their space footprint needs.
“The market is waking up,” he says. “And wellness is starting to resonate with national tenants.”
He notes that companies from states as far away as California and urban centers like Chicago are considering Tampa and Thousand & One for new offices or relocations, and that roughly one-third of the tower’s prospects are local firms.
To land them, Thousand & One will have to compete with the 300,000-square-foot Heights Union building outside downtown and office space in Midtown Tampa, a $500 million, mixed-use project on 22 acres in Westshore, among other projects.
As might be expected in the years since 1992, when the 42-story 100 N. Tampa St. skyscraper and the 36-story SunTrust Financial Centre debuted, Thousand & One contains design advancements that will likely appeal to tenants navigating a post-pandemic work world.
Most notably, perhaps, Thousand & One’s 21,000-square-foot floorplates have been designed to require fewer columns that interrupt space flow. A series of touchless, Mitsubishi elevators speed tenants and visitors throughout the building at 700-feet per minute.
And the building’s tenant-only fitness center and top-floor amenity deck — both also with floor-to-ceiling glass — look out on the view of Water Street Tampa.
A centralized cooling building also has reduced on-site air conditioning equipment at 1001 Water St. — leaving more room for open terraces.
More traditionally, Bevirt says tenants will have access to three parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of rentable space, in an adjacent garage and a surface parking lot, and ground-floor retail — including a Naked Farmer eatery slated to open this fall — will accent the office space.
The Tampa office of commercial real estate firm Colliers, which is handling retail leasing, is finalizing terms with a sit-down restaurant and another tenant in Thousand & One, Bevirt says.
But perhaps the biggest amenity Thousand & One offers is Water Street Tampa itself.
SPP is literally developing a new neighborhood on its 56-acre, the first phase of which will contain three hotels — the renovated Marriott Water Street, the 26-story JW Marriott and the 173-room Marriott Edition, Tampa’s first five-star property — along with retail space anchored by a Publix Greenwise market and hundreds of apartments and condominiums when completed in early 2022.
Also this fall, SPP is expected to complete Cora, a 388-unit apartment project at 1011 E. Cumberland Ave. with an outdoor kitchen and a 24-hour lobby concierge.
“The building brings a unique art deco and modernist influence reminiscent of the architectural history of Florida and its nautical roots.” says Lee Schaffler, SPP’s chief portfolio officer, who joined the company from investment giant JP Morgan & Co. last year.
In all, the first phase will contain 12 buildings with four million square feet of space and amenities such as Amalie Arena.
From inside Thousand & One, for instance, there are views of open expanses of water along with city vistas of Bank of America Plaza, Tampa City Center, the USF Morsani College of Medicine next door, the Tampa Aquarium and other properties.
SPP’s Koch notes that such view corridors could only be possible in a master-planned development, one that takes surrounding buildings into account in design.
“We have an obligation to perform for our investors, and we think we’re doing that,” Bevirt says.