Your complete guide to Water Street Tampa – Tampa Bay Business Journal

Water Street Tampa hit a big milestone this week: The groundbreaking of its first phase, which will begin with the construction of a 26-story JW Marriott hotel.

But even with construction beginning, Water Street is so massive at 9 million square feet and 55-plus acres that it can still seem nebulous, especially if you haven’t been following it closely.

Here’s a primer on the project and what to expect in the months and years ahead. The developer of Water Street is Strategic Property Partners, which is controlled by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Cascade Investment LLC, Bill Gates’ investment fund.

Coastal Construction of Miami is the general contractor for the first phase.

How it breaks down
Residential: 39 percent (27 percent apartments; 12 percent condos, 3,500 total residential units)Office: 29 percent (2.2 million square feet)Hotels: 15 percent (519-key, four-star hotel with 105,000 square feet of meeting space and a 157-key, five-star lifestyle hotel with 35 condos on the upper floors)Retail: 8 percent (1 million total square feet of retail, arts and culture uses, including a potential new museumOther: 7 percentCultural: 2 percent (1 million total square feet of retail, arts and culture uses, including a potential new museum)

The beginning of phase one: Tuesday marked the official beginning of the JW Marriott and Water Street’s first phase of vertical construction, but it’s hardly the first construction in the development. A roadway realignment and infrastructure project — pegged at $35 million — has been under way since August 2016.

The University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine broke ground in September 2017. It is on an acre of land at the corner of Channelside Drive and Meridian Avenue that Vinik donated to USF.

The significance of Tuesday’s groundbreaking is that the JW is SPP’s first vertical construction within Water Street.

JW Marriott, Water Street Tampa

A map that shows the location of the JW Marriott in Water Street Tampa.


What else to expect in 2018: The second building to break ground will be 815 Water Street, a retail-and-residential building with a ground-floor grocery store at Channelside Drive and Water Street. The grocer will serve as a podium for two residential towers — 26 stories of condos and 21 stories of apartments.

The rental tower is perpendicular to Channelside Drive while the condos will be built to maximize water views. The retail will line Channelside Drive.

815 Water Street

This is the location of 815 Water Street, the first residential building in Water Street Tampa.


The 157-key Edition Tampa, which includes condominium units, is also slated to break ground before the end of the year.

The first phase consists of 12 buildings (see conceptual design below). By early 2019, SPP says it will have 20 cranes in the air.


Water Street Tampa design

Channelside Bay Plaza versus the Channel district: Channelside is used interchangeably to refer to the Channel district and Channelside Bay Plaza, but they’re two separate things.

The plaza is the enclosed waterfront mall anchored by Hooter’s. It has been a linchpin for Water Street for years; Vinik’s efforts to gain control of it began in 2012.

Work to transform the plaza began in 2017 when SPP demolished a wing of it to make way for a beer garden and shipping container restaurants. It will also be home to Vinik’s tech incubator.

Channelside Bay Plaza redevelopment

The following renderings were presented as part of a preliminary vision plan for the redevelopment of Channelside Bay Plaza. The proposed ground lease amendment is an interim step in that redevelopment process. This is a rendering of the redeveloped Channelside Bay Plaza property, looking north… more


The Channel district is the urban neighborhood on the eastern end of downtown Tampa. Channelside Bay Plaza and Port Tampa Bay are located within the Channel district; it is the southern boundary of the district. The western boundary is Meridian Avenue; the district runs north to Adamo Drive. See a map here.

What about MOSI? The possibility that the Museum of Science and Industry could move to Water Street has been public since 2015. In December, Vinik revealed that a potential spot for the museum is in a new building directly adjacent to the east side of Amalie Arena.


From left, Cissy Proctor, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik; Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn; Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson; and SPP CEO James Nozar throw shovels of ceremonial dirt at a groundbreaking celebration for Water Street.

What else you should know

Office space: Vinik and SPP are working to land a corporate or regional headquarters, bringing thousands of high-paying jobs to the downtown core. SPP has hired JLL to handle office leasing and recruited Dave Bevirt, Washington, D.C., a real estate veteran, to oversee leasing efforts.

Public art: Public art and spaces are a big focus for Water Street. The Vinik Family Foundation has already brought interactive art exhibit The Beach and the Art of the Brick to Tampa. Penny Vinik has said she will have a hand in the public art fixtures.

Retail: Water Street should be filled with engaging streetscapes, with storefronts and public art. Almost every building includes street-level retail.

Hotels: The three hotels in Water Street — the existing Marriott Waterside, the JW Marriott and the Edition — will be built as destinations for both residents and visitors, with rooftop bars, spas and multiple dining options. Read an interview with the CEO of Marriott International Inc. on the hotel giant’s push to create unique experiences, and how that fits into the vision of Water Street, here.

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