TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - There is a lot on the horizon for the Bay Area in 2019. The year just started, but the next 12 months will be filled with construction projects, hit performances, and new leadership.
Grab your red marker, because your calendar is going to be filled with shows and entertainment. Hamilton opens at the Straz Center on February 12 and runs through March 10, and big names like P!nk, Blake Shelton, Ariana Grande, and Elton John are performing at Amalie Arena.
If you’re more interested in high thrills, you’ll want to head to Busch Gardens this spring. The park's steel roller coaster, Tigris, will be Florida’s tallest launch coaster.
"This is just gonna be a really fun ride, and a lot of people are gonna love it," said Andrew Schaffer, leader of major attractions at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
And for the entire year, every adult guest at the park can get two free beers.
Brand new buildings will change the skyline of Tampa in 2019.
"We're really changing the property to a full resort destination casino that will really rival anything on the East Coast," Seminole Hard Rock Tampa president Joe Lupo said.
A $700 million expansion at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is set to be complete mid-2019. The heart of the project is a 15-story hotel tower, adding more than 500 rooms and suites. There will also be a new spa, more games, and additional restaurants and parking.
A 13-story building in downtown Tampa is projected to open its doors by the end of the year, transforming the city's urban core.
The USF Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute is the anchor of the $3 billion Water Street Tampa project.
"When you build that educational medical complex in the urban core, and you think about all the benefits, and how this will attract talent and young people, this will have a generational impact on downtown Tampa," Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn said.
Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's Strategic Property Partners is behind the development, and six other groundbreakings in the district are planned for this year, including a hotel, apartments, and offices.
"We are happy to say it has gotten bigger, better, and bolder as we have gone along," said Vinik.
The 22-acre Midtown Tampa project will also see its start in 2019. Construction will begin on the first of three planned office buildings at the mixed-use development near I-275 and Dale Mabry.
"Great visibility, great neighborhood, not far from the Westshore business district, not far from the airport, near a regional mall, there are a lot of components that make it a great site," city of Tampa administrator of economic opportunity Bob McDonaugh said.
In St. Petersburg, the new pier project is heading into the home stretch.
"You're starting to see real shape take place,” said Ben Kirby with the mayor’s office. “It's very exciting."
Construction is on-time and on-budget. The waterfront destination is expected to be finished by the end of the year.
Also on deck this year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will get a new head coach, a new mayor will be elected for the city of Tampa, and USF will get new leadership when President Judy Genshaft retires this summer after 18 years.