Botero's 'Dressed Woman' watches over swanky new addition to Bayshore Boulevard

Soon the old Bay Oaks Apartments will be replaced with the Ritz Carlton Residences Tampa, just south of Bay to Bay on Bayshore Boulevard. It will be 27 stories, with luxury condos starting at $1.6 million.

"It’s a private residence, but it has all the amenities of the Ritz Carlton," offered Toni Everett, whose real estate company is selling the condominiums.

The penthouse just sold for more than $11-million.

Along with a complete list of amenities, the new property will also have interesting pieces of art and history. The first piece of art has already arrived and it’s hard to miss.

The huge, bronze statue weighs 3,000 pounds. It’s called ‘Dressed Woman,’ created by renowned Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero.

"I knew she was coming but I didn’t think she was that big," laughed Everett.

Dressed Woman stands 8 feet tall atop a stone pedestal and is an imposing presence along Bayshore.

Reporter for scale.

"She’s elegant, beautiful, beautifully dressed, and large, which is in tune with Botero’s signature style," explained Anelys Alvarez, assistant curator and collection manager for The Related Group.

The Miami-based company has a large art collection and assigns pieces of art to various properties. Senior vice president Michael Hammon says other pieces may join Dressed Woman as the project moves along.

Hammon also says a piece of history was brought to his attention in a phone call from a member of Tampa’s Centro Espanol.

"We believe there’s a fountain on this site. It’s the only thing left of this hospital that was built in 1904," he was told.

The fountain was found covered by plants. It’s one of three that stood at the Centro Espanol Hospital, which stood here from 1904 through 1970, treating immigrant cigar workers and their families.

Hammon says the fountain will be restored and placed with a plaque not far from the Dressed Woman, who is beginning to settle in. The large lady will be watching as art, history, and a new luxury tower bring more changes to Tampa’s Bayshore.

"I think it’s a beautiful addition to the property and to Tampa," Hammon added.