Exciting new plans for downtown Tampa

The Port of Tampa Bay plans to develop 45 acres of property along Channelside Drive and the Ybor Channel that will include two 75-story towers, a park, a marina and an expanded cruise terminal.

It's a project that would vastly expand an already-bustling effort to redevelop downtown Tampa.

"People are looking at and imagining things happening in Tampa that we haven't ever done before," said Christine Burdick, the head of Tampa's Downtown Partnership.

The vision calls for $1.5 billion in construction costs, to be paid mostly by private developers, buffered by money from the community redevelopment agency and city taxpayers.

"You think about the buzz that's palpable," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "About the buzz that is being recognized over the country and people wake up and say, 'what is going on in Tampa, Florida?'"

Down the block, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has promised to re-do the Channelside Plaza, while also putting up twenty more buildings of shopping, hotels, a medical school and homes. 

In the northern part of downtown, several more buildings are planned. 

Right now, the downtown partnership says there are 5,700 housing units downtown, with another 6,700 promised. 

That 117% increase doesn't even include the Port's plans.

"It has the promise of creating many more jobs, and creating value in land that has been undervalued before," said Burdick. "It will change us as an employment center, it will change us as a tourism center."

While the city is paying to redo the roads and sewers, most of Tampa's new projects are being funded by private developers hoping to make money in their new city of opportunity.

"The feeling that I have over the last five years, is we are learning how to be a bigger city, comfortably," said Burdick.