Construction begins on Water Street project apartment towers

- Dirt has started moving at the massive Water Street project in downtown Tampa.  Strategic Property Partners held a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday for an apartment building that is going up just east of Amalie Arena.

Drawings show two towers with a ground-level grocery at what will become 815 Water Street.

"It is a fantastic thing," said one passerby.

The towers are the first of four residences Jeff Vinik's SPP group is planning for the Water Street district. 
The 26- and 21-story towers will have 420 apartments and a green roof.

"This is going to change the landscape, not just in a physical sense, but an emotional sense," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "It is going to square off our downtown."

This is just the fourth of 10 groundbreakings planned for the next year. 

The hotel to the west of the arena is going up, USF Health is almost done, Sparkman Wharf is opening in weeks, and other parking lots are sectioned off, ready for apartments, stores and offices. 

A project once slated to cost $1-billion and have three million square feet is now $3-billion and consists of nine million square feet. 

They also just bought the Con-Agra property just to the north of the new USF building.

"We've changed things nonstop, it's the nature of the beast," said Vinik. "We are happy to say it has gotten bigger, better and bolder as we have gone along."

All of this is being injected into a Tampa that's already growing. The mayor's signature Riverwalk project was named by the American Planning Association as the "people's choice" for "Best Place in America." 

"This plan has been 30 years in the making, but all of the plans and vision in the world don't matter if you have someone willing to believe and someone willing to invest," said Buckhorn.

As far as the grocery store goes, the name of the store has not been released but they are targeting a wellness-oriented store.

The 815 Water Street building is slated to open in 2020.

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