Hotels booming in downtown Tampa

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Another turn of the shovel signaled another new project in downtown Tampa.

Tuesday's groundbreaking at 325 N. Florida Ave. marked the start of a pair of Hyatt hotels scheduled to open in the Fall of 2020.

The sight is right across the street from City Hall in the heart of downtown.

"What this project does is add to the live, work, stay, and play mix," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "It exposes guests who don't live here to the Riverwalk and downtown." 

The 17-story project will include a 239-room Hyatt Place for business travelers and a 106-room Hyatt House for longer stays. The ground floor will also include retail space.

More than 100 public parking spaces will also be included in addition to parking for the development. Hyatt's Julienne Smith said the brands seek to locate near business, residential, and restaurants.

"Across from city hall knocks it out of the park," she said. 

The site has recently been used as a parking lot. It's near the place where the historic Hotel Tampa Terrace stood from 1926-1965 and is the latest entry into a move back downtown for hotels.

Marriott will build a new J.W. Marriott Hotel and a 5-star boutique New Edition Hotel along with several others which have announced plans. 

"We just did an analysis. Over the past six years, we only added 790 hotel rooms," said Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. "Over the next several years we'll add 2,000. This is part of that 2000."  

Corrada says those additional hotel rooms will help Tampa attract big events like national political conventions and Super Bowls.