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Encore Tampa: A Lesson for Urban Jacksonville

While LaVilla, Brooklyn, and the Shipyards remain in ruins, a major urban infill project, partially funded with federal stimulus dollars as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, recently broke ground in downtown Tampa. What can Jacksonville learn and apply from our neighbor to the South?

Published May 19, 2010 in Urban Issues      37 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

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CENTRAL PARK HISTORY


Project Timeline: http://www.encoretampa.com/rich-history.php

Central Avenue was Tampa's version of Jacksonville's LaVilla and Ashley Street.  It was the epicenter of the city's African-American community prior to desegregation.

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Without question, the Central Park area is one of Tampa’s most culturally and historically rich neighborhoods. With Central Avenue serving as the economic engine, Central Park was once a thriving African-American business and entertainment district. The late Ray Charles recorded his first song, Found My Baby There, while residing at 813 Short Emery St. It was during a Central Park performance that Hank Ballard and the Midnighters asked the kids in the audience the name of the dance they were performing. The kids shouted, “The Twist.” Hank later wrote and recorded the legendary song that launched Chubby Checker into the limelight. Portions of the 1964 movie, Black Like Me, starring James Whitmore, were filmed along Central Avenue.

Despite its achievements, the neighborhood could not escape the racial and economic struggles that prevailed in many inner-city neighborhoods during the 1960’s. A racial disturbance in 1967 helped seal the demise of the Central Avenue business corridor. Since then, neglect and disenfranchisement have largely characterized the area.

In an effort to stimulate growth, Tampa City Council adopted the Central Park Community Redevelopment Plan in June 2006. The plan identifies measures to foster public/private partnerships that will help maximize redevelopment investment in a manner that respects the unique history and is inclusive of the community’s vision for the neighborhood.
http://www.tampagov.net/dept_economic_and_urban_development/programs_and_services/Community_redevelopment_areas/Central_Park/History.asp



ABOUT ENCORE TAMPA


Encore Tampa development site:  This project will be developed between Downtown Tampa, the Channel District and Ybor City.

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With vistas of and easy access to Downtown, Ybor City and Channelside, the Central Park area promises to become a new urban neighborhood of residents, restaurants, shops, parks, and businesses. Our long-term redevelopment efforts continue to focus on supporting the vision of Bank of America and the Tampa Housing Authority to transform the former Central Park Village public housing complex into a new 28 acre mixed-use, mixed-income community called Encore. By embracing the culturally rich history of the neighborhood's past and the best principles of high density urban living, Encore will set the direction for a distinctive rebirth of the Central Park area.
http://www.tampagov.net/dept_economic_and_urban_development/programs_and_services/Community_redevelopment_areas/Central_Park/

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Tuesday's groundbreaking represents one of the first major projects in a part of downtown that's likely to look vastly different in five years. It's just blocks from a planned high-speed rail station and, possibly, a light-rail stop.

The seed for Encore was planted about seven years ago, when for-profit developers sought to include an overhaul of Central Park Village in a massive 157-acre community on the edge of downtown.

The project, called Civitas, went down in flames in 2004. With the deadline for a federal grant application looming, Hillsborough County commissioners refused to create a special taxing district to help pay for construction.

The Housing Authority came back with a smaller concept just for its 30-acre property, and commissioners approved the special taxing district in 2006.

More than 1,000 people were moved out of blighted Central Park Village apartments and promised an opportunity to return to new homes. The apartments were razed in 2007.

As the economy faltered, the project ground to a halt.

It got new life in January when HUD said the Tampa Housing Authority would receive stimulus money for Encore.
http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/realestate/redevelopment-at-edge-of-downtown-tampa-gets-under-way/1094150



LESSONS FOR JACKSONVILLE

The development of Encore Tampa should be used as a good example for our community of how to make a massive urban redevelopment project a reality.


1. Diversify Ownership


The Encore Tampa site plan converts one mega site into several individual square block parcels. This plan gives the community a fair chance to plan and set aside integrated public space, street grid connectivity, and increase property tax rolls by setting aside key sites for private purchase and development.

Initial large scale urban redevelopment projects are difficult to get off the ground. In Jacksonville, this is evidenced by the death of the Shipyards and Brooklyn Park projects. Despite the recession, Encore Tampa has been able to move forward because the city created a plan that created individual parcels for multiple complementing projects, to be developed by both public and private entities.



2. Incorporating New & Old



Cities such as Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans have benefited tremendously from historic preservation. On the other hand, Jacksonville's downtown and unique urban history have suffered as a result of haphazard demolition. Despite being one of the few remaining buildings in Jacksonville and surviving the Great Fire of 1901, the Mount Moriah Church (above right) was demolished in anticipation of the now aborted Brooklyn Park project. With no infill development on the way, the Mount Moriah site is now another vacant overgrown lot in downtown Jacksonville.

Encore Tampa has taken another route. Instead of complete site demolition, a similar sized church (above left) has been preserved and will become a new African American history museum, anchoring the development's central park.



3. Stimulating Urban Redevelopment with Stimulus Money


Stimulus funds will be used to construct the initial mixed-use affordable housing buildings at Encore Tampa.

Jacksonville missed an opportunity to promote continued downtown redevelopment with stimulus funds. Instead, major highways and suburban road expansions were our primary focus when the stimulus opportunity presented itself.

On the other hand, stimulus money in Tampa will be used on a number of significant urban development projects. These include the urban grid road network and initial affordable housing buildings for Encore Tampa, as well as extending the existing streetcar line into downtown Tampa.

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Encore is part of the remake of Central Park Village, an old public housing complex between downtown and Ybor City that has been in the works since 2003.

The economy stalled construction, but an influx of money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has allowed work to begin on the first building. Dubbed Trio, it will hold 132 affordable housing units.

The final plan calls for housing for more than 1,700 people, a hotel, grocery store, offices, shops, a middle school, African-American history museum and park.
http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/realestate/redevelopment-at-edge-of-downtown-tampa-gets-under-way/1094150



4. Walkable Community



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Central Park Village Masterplan
NEW CONSTRUCTION: Mixed-Use Development on 12 city blocks. Collman & Karsky Architects, Inc. provided a master plan for this redevelopment area that covers approximately 12 city blocks on the edge of downtown Tampa. Located in the Central Park district, the mixed use plan calls for 2,000+ affordable and market rate residential units; retail, office, restaurants, hotel and grocery; and redesign of Perry Harvey Park. A new street grid will provide for 10 foot wide sidewalks and pedestrian friendly streetscape. A new linear park will connect Perry Harvey Park to the development and will include the renovation of a historic church to a museum showcasing the musical history of historical Central Park.

In Jacksonville, the Shipyards fate came down to the health of one developer, LandMar. With LandMar in charge, the Shipyard's plan became one that resembled a gated high density development with little interaction with the area surrounding 44-acre site. In addition, the thought of properly integrating public space became an afterthought.

On the other hand, Encore Tampa's plan promotes the idea of connectivity by including a street grid that provides multiple connections with the surrounding area and the creation of a publicly funded central park.

Once Encore Tampa is fully developed, it will be difficult to see the demarcation between it and the surrounding neighborhoods because it has been designed to be fully integrated with the community.

Article by Ennis Davis







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37 Comments

tufsu1

May 19, 2010, 08:16:58 AM
The Encore project is quite well designed...but make no mistake, it has had many false starts

This site used to be the Central Park public housing complex....first, there was a proposal for redevelopment of the site for athlete's housing with the 2012 Tampa-Orlando Olympics bid....then there was an even larger redevelopoment plan called Civitas, which  was killed by the Hillsborough County Commission in 2004 (they were asked to approve something with 2 days notice)....all of which prompted the 2006 plan changes discussed in the article.

Also, as stated in the article, the current opportunity was jump-started through stimulus funds for affordable housing.

thelakelander

May 19, 2010, 08:28:06 AM
More reason to take note with the product in where it is today.  The lesson would be to attempt to avoid the mistakes and take advantage of the successes.  What has been developed at this point and the method of finally moving it forward should be paid attention to.

tufsu1

May 19, 2010, 08:54:25 AM
agreed Lake.

One other thing to note from the article....in terms of stimulus, Jacksonville did apply for and receive funding for many urban projects (just like Tampa).

On the transportation front, our high profile stimulus projects are 9B and US 301 in Nassau County.....Tampa also pooled their transportation stimulus dollars to build a new highway....a $400 million one-mile expressway connecting I-4 and the Crosstown ($100 million comes from stimuls)....just think how much rail that would build!

thelakelander

May 19, 2010, 09:13:04 AM
^Thanks for reminding me.  I meant to include 9B as an example of a local project that received stimulus dollars.  I wonder if Brooklyn's proposed grid/park or any of the neighborhood town center streetscape projects would have been eligible?

Jason

May 19, 2010, 09:27:47 AM
Also, this the what happens when the mega-development project pays off.  Ours (the Shipyards, Jea Site, Bay Street Station, Brooklyn Park, etc.) faced the same fate as Encore's predesessors.

IMO, if this thing gets built out as planned it will merely be a lucky break for Tampa.  We need to stop focusing on the mega-sites and worry about a few smaller ones at a time.

thelakelander

May 19, 2010, 09:57:23 AM
^It looks like that is the best lesson from Encore.  Outside of public infrastructure, What's moving forward is smaller development, yet its being done to fit within an overall vision/scale for that area.

Jason

May 19, 2010, 11:03:12 AM
Brooklyn Park (if used as a master plan) would be a fantastic smaller scale version of this.  Building our BP one block at a time, starting with the Hallmark Partners development, would be a much larger sucess versus expecting one developer to throw in all their chips for the long shot.

Was the BP plan created in such a way to allow multiple parties in on the buil-out one building or block at a time and still dictate the manner in which it is developed?

DemocraticNole

May 19, 2010, 11:22:27 AM
The difference is leadership.

Jacksonville mayor = John Peyton
Tampa mayor = Pam Iorio

Pam is a real believer in mass transit and urban redevelopment. She is an outstanding public servant and has staked her reputation and career on getting mass transit. Even the Republicans I know in Jacksonville think John Peyton is an incompetent moron who has spent his time trying to help family friends instead of doing what's best for the city of Jacksonville. Hopefully one day Jax gets good leadership, because it is sad to see a city with so much potential let it go to waste.

Keith-N-Jax

May 19, 2010, 11:24:20 AM
^^^ This

fieldafm

May 19, 2010, 11:30:46 AM
Lake, what's a realistic configuration of parcels that could be split up at the Shipyards?
Are there any zoning restrictions on setbacks, lot sizes, etc in that area?
I'm just not as familiar with the dimensions of the Shipyards site.

Ted Pappas

May 19, 2010, 11:50:58 AM
La Villa is doing quite well, thank you. In the last decade, more has been constructed in La Villa than the rest of Northbank. Like all districts in Jacksonville, La Villa has had a delay in construction projects because of the tight credit environment and  low real estate demand. But quite to the contrary, La Villa does not "lay in ruin".

stephendare

May 19, 2010, 12:03:30 PM
La Villa is doing quite well, thank you. In the last decade, more has been constructed in La Villa than the rest of Northbank. Like all districts in Jacksonville, La Villa has had a delay in construction projects because of the tight credit environment and  low real estate demand. But quite to the contrary, La Villa does not "lay in ruin".

Metrojacksonville welcomes one of the legends of this city, Ted Pappas, to the forums.  Pappas is an architect who has tirelessly promoted the principles of architecture and design in the historic districts, and its nice to hear from you.

I remember my first charettes with Ted to discuss the landscaping of Park and King and the Five points district back in the early 90s.

However, Ted, we have to disagree with you on La Villa,  The area does lie in ruins despite the Ritz Theatre district buildngs, the La Villa School of the Arts and the Courthouse.  Most of the historic fabric was bulldozed, leaving a vast urban prairie extending over the many many blocks that were demolished.

thelakelander

May 19, 2010, 12:27:04 PM
Its not about the tight credit environment and real estate demand.  A complete neighbohrood and important part of Jacksonville's history was simply eradicated from existence.  So what was known as LaVilla does not lay in ruin.  LaVilla doesn't exist anymore.

thelakelander

May 19, 2010, 12:31:46 PM
In addition, the development that replaced the community has been piecemeal and not constructed to pedestrian scale.  This has converted a district that was once mixed-use and architecturally unique into a place that feels more like a quiet office park.

Keith-N-Jax

May 19, 2010, 12:45:26 PM
Yep and everything is fenced in or appears to be. Looks very boring over there.

Jason

May 19, 2010, 02:08:57 PM
I'm looking forward to what will become of the area once the courthouse is finished.  It should go a long way towards sparking some infill around its perimeters.  We just need to lobby for an enhanced push for pedestrian friendly developments.

heights unknown

May 19, 2010, 02:48:20 PM
Much applause to Tampa.  We can learn from what they have accomplished from the acquisition NOW of those stimulus dollars; don't care what happened in the past; this project is now ready to move forward.  Wake up Jax!

"HU"

heights unknown

May 19, 2010, 02:50:20 PM
LaVilla is ruined...to the extent that it no longer exist with almost no buildings, houses, and many vacant lots...so it was, and is ruined but only in a sense.

"HU"

fsujax

May 19, 2010, 02:54:06 PM
There may have been buildings built in Lavilla that is true, too bad they are of a suburban design and do not create an urban, walkable area.

tufsu1

May 19, 2010, 03:34:20 PM
The difference is leadership.

Jacksonville mayor = John Peyton
Tampa mayor = Pam Iorio

Pam is a real believer in mass transit and urban redevelopment. She is an outstanding public servant and has staked her reputation and career on getting mass transit. Even the Republicans I know in Jacksonville think John Peyton is an incompetent moron who has spent his time trying to help family friends instead of doing what's best for the city of Jacksonville. Hopefully one day Jax gets good leadership, because it is sad to see a city with so much potential let it go to waste.

Having lived there, I can assure you that Ms. Iorio did virtually nothing in her first term....and if the transit vote doesn't happen this year, she won't have much to show for Term #2 either.

DemocraticNole

May 19, 2010, 03:55:20 PM
The difference is leadership.

Jacksonville mayor = John Peyton
Tampa mayor = Pam Iorio

Pam is a real believer in mass transit and urban redevelopment. She is an outstanding public servant and has staked her reputation and career on getting mass transit. Even the Republicans I know in Jacksonville think John Peyton is an incompetent moron who has spent his time trying to help family friends instead of doing what's best for the city of Jacksonville. Hopefully one day Jax gets good leadership, because it is sad to see a city with so much potential let it go to waste.

Having lived there, I can assure you that Ms. Iorio did virtually nothing in her first term....and if the transit vote doesn't happen this year, she won't have much to show for Term #2 either.

I have lived in both Jax and Tampa. Are you going to tell me Pam is not a better mayor than John Peyton? Also, how can you say she has done nothing? There has been significant development in downtown since she became mayor, they have extended the streetcar line, opened up a beautiful new art museum on the river with a waterfront park, and increased the connectivity of the Tampa Riverwalk. The crime rates have also gone down and she has done a good job of keeping the city's finance in order in a very difficult economic time.

Pam is an outstanding public servant who carries herself with a high degree of integrity. We could use more pols like her.

Keith-N-Jax

May 19, 2010, 04:22:07 PM
I wonder how Tampa would have handle the Landing situation? I visit Tampa quite often and sure they have set backs, but there not do to poor vision or lack there of, unwise spending, and just plain being dumb.

urbanlibertarian

May 19, 2010, 06:02:36 PM
Has City of Tampa used eminent domain at all for Encore?

Jaxson

May 19, 2010, 06:22:41 PM
In 2008, I went to Tampa for a union convention.  I enjoyed the city's convention center as well as my hotel and the surrounding area.  The convention delegates and I did not lack for amenities like restaurants and entertainment and we took advantage of the street cars to venture out into Ybor City.  I cannot understand how Jacksonville cannot get their act together.

DemocraticNole

May 19, 2010, 09:39:52 PM
Has City of Tampa used eminent domain at all for Encore?
I am not sure if they have used it for Encore, but historically the city shies away from using eminent domain. They attempt to attract private investors to front the bill. The St. Pete Times Forum on the river is a prime example of that philosophy.

urbanlibertarian

May 19, 2010, 10:08:24 PM
Good. Thanks for the response.

tufsu1

May 19, 2010, 10:12:50 PM
The difference is leadership.

Jacksonville mayor = John Peyton
Tampa mayor = Pam Iorio

Pam is a real believer in mass transit and urban redevelopment. She is an outstanding public servant and has staked her reputation and career on getting mass transit. Even the Republicans I know in Jacksonville think John Peyton is an incompetent moron who has spent his time trying to help family friends instead of doing what's best for the city of Jacksonville. Hopefully one day Jax gets good leadership, because it is sad to see a city with so much potential let it go to waste.

Having lived there, I can assure you that Ms. Iorio did virtually nothing in her first term....and if the transit vote doesn't happen this year, she won't have much to show for Term #2 either.

I have lived in both Jax and Tampa. Are you going to tell me Pam is not a better mayor than John Peyton? Also, how can you say she has done nothing? There has been significant development in downtown since she became mayor, they have extended the streetcar line, opened up a beautiful new art museum on the river with a waterfront park, and increased the connectivity of the Tampa Riverwalk. The crime rates have also gone down and she has done a good job of keeping the city's finance in order in a very difficult economic time.

Pam is an outstanding public servant who carries herself with a high degree of integrity. We could use more pols like her.

I said she did nothing in her first term, which is true...the 3-block streetcar extension is just now under construction, the riverwalk is not finished (even though she said it would be done by the Super Bowl in 2/2009), and a much-scaled-down art museum (thanks in part to her refusal to fund it fully) just opened.

btw, I'm not saying Peyton is better than Iorio (after all I am a Democrat)....but using your logic, Peyton presided over opening of the new baseball stadium, arena, and library in the dowtown area....and the new courthoue is under construction.

tufsu1

May 19, 2010, 10:15:21 PM
Has City of Tampa used eminent domain at all for Encore?
I am not sure if they have used it for Encore, but historically the city shies away from using eminent domain. They attempt to attract private investors to front the bill. The St. Pete Times Forum on the river is a prime example of that philosophy.

no...because the site was a former public houing complex (torn down in 2007).

as to the SP Times Forum, which private investors built the arena?

thelakelander

May 19, 2010, 10:32:17 PM
I wonder how Tampa would have handle the Landing situation? I visit Tampa quite often and sure they have set backs, but there not do to poor vision or lack there of, unwise spending, and just plain being dumb.

A gigantic parking garage was constructed that serves the aquarium and Channelside.  Shoppers at Channelside also can get their parking validated.



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A parking garage is conveniently located opposite Channelside Bay Plaza. This garage now operates with a new coin chip system. Take your coin chip to any Channelside Bay Plaza business to receive parking discounts with any purchase. For additional information call 813-905-5072. On site Valet services are also available daily after 4PM.
http://www.channelsidebayplaza.com/parking.html



Btw, Channelside is anchored by Splitsville Luxury Lanes & Dinner Lounge and Channelside Cinemas & IMAX.  Either type of entertainment anchor would be a huge boost for a struggling retail center like the Landing.

Jaxson

May 19, 2010, 10:41:26 PM
Thank you, tufsu1, for the clarification.  I was afraid that you were sticking up for Mayor Peyton at a time when he is busy sticking it to us!  I loved visiting Tampa when I was there - I took the train to their Tampa Union Station and took a quick taxi ride to my hotel for less than $15.  I would like to see a railfan try doing something similar in Jax!

Keith-N-Jax

May 19, 2010, 11:40:50 PM
I been there many times for Sleep conferences,that whole area near the river front where the aquariums is very nice. Very nice hotels and the street car service. I just dont understand why we cant get it together.

DemocraticNole

May 20, 2010, 12:18:15 PM
Has City of Tampa used eminent domain at all for Encore?
I am not sure if they have used it for Encore, but historically the city shies away from using eminent domain. They attempt to attract private investors to front the bill. The St. Pete Times Forum on the river is a prime example of that philosophy.

no...because the site was a former public houing complex (torn down in 2007).

as to the SP Times Forum, which private investors built the arena?
I didn't say the arena was all a private financing project. The Forum had a public/private partnership to build the arena: http://hockey.ballparks.com/NHL/TampaBayLightning/index.htm. I said that historically the city has shied away from using eminent domain for these kinds of projects.

fieldafm

May 20, 2010, 12:57:10 PM
Quote
Btw, Channelside is anchored by Splitsville Luxury Lanes & Dinner Lounge and Channelside Cinemas & IMAX.  Either type of entertainment anchor would be a huge boost for a struggling retail center like the Landing.

Splitsville did look at the Jacksonville market two years ago.

Ocklawaha

May 20, 2010, 02:19:57 PM
...I would like to see a railfan try doing something similar in Jax!

Been done many times but the damn railfans keep getting mugged before they make it into the City core.

OCKLAWAHA

Captain Zissou

May 20, 2010, 04:31:47 PM
I been there many times for Sleep conferences,that whole area near the river front where the aquariums is very nice. Very nice hotels and the street car service. I just dont understand why we cant get it together.

What's a Sleep conference?  I think I could use a nap conference.

Keith-N-Jax

May 20, 2010, 05:15:26 PM
Sleep Medicine, people dealing with sleep disorders.Like sleep apnea its been held at the Tampa marriot the last three yrs will be in St. Pete this yr

Captain Zissou

May 20, 2010, 05:19:40 PM
^Ok.  So it was exactly what it sounded like.  Wasn't sure if sleep was an acronym... 
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