TAMPA HEIGHTS (FOX 13) - The old Armature Works building in Tampa Heights is now a new kind of open space.
It's a destination for a unique collection of food, drinks, and places to gather.
"This space rivals any other food haul across America," says Adam Browne. "This really puts Tampa on the map."
They rolled out the venue in a soft opening to the public last week and the buzz started immediately.
The restaurants include Hemingway's, featuring new Cuban cuisine, a large deli called Inside the Box, and an upscale restaurant called Steelbach.
The building is more than 70,000 square feet, with a huge special events room called The Gathering that can accommodate more than a thousand guests.
They preserved some of the machinery used when Tampa's TECO streetcars were housed here starting in the early 1900s.
Even the old safe from the bookkeeper's office is being used to house the wine collection at Steelbach restaurant.
Future plans call for a co-working space, an office building and a hotel. The Tampa Riverwalk is right out the front door.
"We like to say we're the stop and start of the Riverwalk," says Lauren Mooser of Armature Works.
She says with lots of parking here, visitors can park, visit the Armature Works, and walk downtown on the Riverwalk.
New apartments are set to open near the Armature Works, new condos are planned, and property values in the surrounding neighborhoods have risen substantially. Ironically, the old Armature Works that fill into disrepair for decades is helping lead the renaissance in The Heights.