The future is now: Unlock Tampa Bay in 2021
October 24, 2016 by PR@VisitTampaBay.com
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With $4 billion in new investment planned, Tampa Bay is poised to undergo Florida's Most amazing transformation. On the horizon: exciting new hotels, new parks and public spaces along the Tampa Riverwalk, new restaurants and attractions. You'll have to see it to believe it.
Downtown’s Channel District undergoes major new redesign
Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Microsoft founder Bill Gates joined forces in 2014 to bring new vitality to Tampa Bay’s downtown Channel District.
The 50 acres of former industrial land near Amalie Arena sat empty for decades. Today, it bustles with business as a wellness-focused district where residents and visitors find plenty to do.
A 450-room convention hotel, complete with 100,000 square feet of new meeting space, has transformed Tampa Bay’s convention capacity. A new science museum and medical school have made downtown a hub of learning.
New restaurants, parks, and shopping have made Vinik’s corner of downtown a vibrant hub of activity any time of day.
Hotels plant Tampa Bay flags
Tampa Bay reputation as a convention town filled with luxurious accommodations grew in recent years with the addition of new brands and new flags.
European favorite AC Hotel by Marriott (below) led the way, opening in 2017. It was followed quickly by Kimpton, which opened its seventh Florida boutique hotel in 2018.
A new Hyatt Centric (left) joined downtown’s major players in a new mixed-use tower in the heart of the Central Business District. A few blocks away, a new 450-room convention hotel, complete with 100,000 square feet of meeting space greatly expanded the city’s convention capacity.
Expanding riverfront spaces
The Hillsborough River through downtown has become the city’s centerpiece for activities large and small. New parks, including the spacious Riverfront Park, create places for free play, festivals and receptions — all in easy reach of water taxis.
The Tampa Riverwalk now extends south to a new marina and residential towers near the Florida Aquarium and redesigned Port Tampa Bay cruise ship terminal. A companion path runs along the river’s west bank.
The Florida Aquarium's new Mosaic Center adds educational and conference opportunities as well as a 4-D theater.
The Tampa Bay History Center expansion creates the Southeast's first center for cartographic research along with a new display on maritime history that lets visitors experience life on a pirate ship and explore actual treasure recovered from some of Florida's many shipwrecks.
History guides the future in Ybor City
Tampa Bay’s historic Latin Quarter continues to add new restaurants and new entertainment venues even as it keeps in touch with its roots at the former Cigar Capital of the World. A new hotel along Seventh Avenue (La Setima) takes its inspiration from the district’s distinctive iron balconies and brick streets. Despite the changes, some things stay the same: You can still catch an authentic flamenco show at the Columbia, Florida’s oldest restaurant, and smoke a hand-rolled cigar.