TAMPA, Fla. - The sound of machines can be heard from one end of downtown Tampa to the other. Take a look at the city's skyline now, because big changes are underway.
"What we're doing here is going to transform not only the north end, but there's going to be a halo effect for the entire downtown area," says Eric Blankenship, chief marketing officer for The Heights District, the developer of Armature Works and other projects in the area.
Tuesday the company announced a new hotel will be part of a 25-story tower to be built near the Heights Union office building. It will be a Moxy Hotel, a boutique brand by Marriott targeting younger travelers.
The new tower will also have retail space and apartments, adding to the Pearl apartments, recently built adjacent to Armature Works.
"The Pearl is over 99% leased," says Blankenship. "And we're talking about adding another section of apartments as well, the demand is so great."
At the same time, Midtown rises to the west, demolition on Ashley Drive is making way for a gleaming, high rise residential building, two big residential buildings are under construction near the Straz Center, along with Jeff Viniik's Water Steet, the biggest of all.
Renderings of Moxy Hotel
"It's a growth period unlike anything I've ever seen in my lifetime," says Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.
She inherited the construction boom that will bring thousands of new people for already crowded roads. She says it's not gridlock yet, but it could be.
"It could be very quickly if we don't do something about it," says Castor.
She's pushing for large scale mass transit. Currently, BRT, or Bus Rapid Transit, is the leading idea. It would link different parts of the area with large buses that can look like trains that make limited stops. Castor also says keeping affordable housing is important so that diversity can be maintained and expensive new housing doesn't push current residents out.
"It;'s great to see new faces, but at the same time it's a historic neighborhood and there's a lot of people who have been here for a long time to make it what it is," says Shane Ragiel, president of the Tampa Heights Civic Association.
He says there's room to grow, but not at the expense of what's here already.