Columbia Restaurant Wins Bid to Renovate Tampa Heights' Waterworks
The abandoned building will be turned into a seafood restaurant, chophouse and oyster bar with an outdoor cafe on the waterfront, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The bids are in, and a plan from the owners of Columbia Restaurant has been chosen to turn an abandoned Tampa Heights building into a new waterfront dining spot.
Columbia owner Richard Gonzmart and partner Bill Rain of Metro Bay Real Estate will transform the historic Waterworks into a seafood restaurant, chophouse and oyster bar with an outdoor cafe overlooking the Hillsborough River, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The developers and city officials must still negotiate a formal agreement for the $2 million, privately funded renovation, which will require City Council approval.
There were three other bidders on the renovation project, including the owners of Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe in Seminole Heights, who proposed an art market or gallery in addition to a restaurant.
The 48-acre Waterworks property, at 1804 N. Highland Ave., is tied up in foreclosure and Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, the Times reports.
The new restaurant won't be named after the iconic Columbia. The plan is to call it Ciao's, Gonzmart told the newspaper, a reference to Berkeley Prep and former Jesuit football coach Dominick Ciao.
"You have to honor people who have been special in other people's lives," Gonzmart told the Times.
Gonzmart said he plans to have the restaurant open in a year.
What do you think of the plan? Are you looking forward to a new waterfront restaurant? Post a comment below.