Plan to remake downtown takes shape on Water Street

Water Street developers say their plan to remake downtown Tampa is on track. Wednesday, they showed off stunning views from the top of the still-unfinished JW Marriott Hotel.

"Seeing it all come together is what it is all about," said Brian Lacusky of Coastal Construction.

Since April 2018, 600 workers have been at it six days a week, pouring 12 million pounds of concrete, snapping in 800,000 pounds of steel, and tightening 40,366 bolts -- creating 26 stories of potential.

"This will be a rooftop bar and lounge," Lacusky said, looking out over the Tampa Convention Center from 300 feet up. "I love seeing things get built. You have something to show, a permanent structure, something you have labored on for two years. It'll always be there."

The JW Marriott will take a leading role, as Jeff Vinik and Cascade Investment's vision of condos and stores becomes reality.

"If you really look at the opportunity here in Tampa, on the river, downtown, people want to come to Florida," said Damian Presiga of Strategic Property Partners. "They want to go to urban environments."

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The new Marriott is being joined by a twin- residential tower and grocery store, an office building, and 300,000 square feet of retail space. Developers say the soaring promises of five years ago are coming true.

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"We are going to be here for the long haul," said Presiga. "We expect some economic changes, but we are going to be here to stay, and our assets are going to prove that."

Nothing is more long-haul than brick and mortar.

"It is redefining downtown Tampa," said Lacusky. "You instantly get a feel for what the space is going to be like. How engaging it is going to be for customers. It is really awesome."

The hotel is scheduled to open in late 2020.