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Residential Tower Would Transform Tampa's Skyline

A 36-story structure is being pitched for downtown.

A residential development planned for downtown Tampa would change the city’s skyline.

Intown/Framework Group, LLC plans on investing $85 million to build a 350-unit apartment tower near Cass and Tyler streets at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. The city last week approved a sale agreement for the property and will then have to approve the rezoning of the land.

In addition to living space, the 36-story, Art Deco tower is to include 10,000 square feet of retail space on the bottom floor.

“I think it’s going to have a very big impact on the skyline, but, more importantly, it’s going to have an impact on pedestrian- and street level-activity,” said Phillip Smith, owner and president of Framework.

The city has sold the land — the right-of-way between Cass and Tyler streets — for the project for $4 million, Smith said. The streets will be reconfigured to make both streets two-ways.

The Straz Center Board of Directors has approved the project, which is anticipated to be finished by late 2014.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn in a news release stated the tower allows the city to “make a strong physical and important visual connection between Curtis Hixon (Park) and the Arts District to the Straz Center and North Downtown.”

Turning Cass Street into a central artery is exactly what is outlined in the InVision Tampa Center City plan, the city said.

“The idea is to build on the momentum the City of Tampa has created,” Smith said, referring to the riverfront walkway, museums and park space in that area. “This is something that enhances and advances what came before.”

In addition to the intowngroup and the Framework Group, LLC, the team developing the project includes Baker Barrios Architects, Moss and Associates, and the Beck Group.

“The Straz Center is very excited about the new development,” Judith Lisi, president and chief executive officer of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, said in a news release. “Our guest experience is very important, and all of the enhancements included in the project, in particular the improvements to the road network and to our arrival plaza, will ensure that they do.”

The city last year put out a, RFP, or Request For Proposals, for development of the site.

What do you think of the idea? Tell us in the comments.

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