May 15, 2023 - Development

Water Street Tampa makes big economic waves, new report shows

An aerial image of Water Street Tampa.

Photo courtesy of Water Street Tampa

Water Street is only halfway done, but downtown Tampa is already reaping the benefits of its transformation, a new report shows.

Why it matters: The massive 56-acre development has nearly doubled the footprint of downtown Tampa and will be a showpiece for the future of sustainable urban waterfront design.

Driving the news: A new economic impact study of the project, provided to Axios by PFM Group Consulting, shows hundreds of millions of dollars going back to local workers, businesses and government programs.

Catch up quick: Water Street is the single largest private development investment in the history of Tampa Bay, with $4 billion of private investment projected for its total build-out combined with tax increment financing for public infrastructure.

Zoom in: Construction on the first phase began in 2018 and the project's first businesses opened in 2021.

  • Phase 1 technically concluded in October, following the opening of five-star hotel The Tampa Edition. But businesses in Water Street are still opening.

By the numbers: According to the report, Phase 1 has resulted in $520 million in annual economic output, including:

  • $106 million in contracts awarded to minority and small businesses
  • More than $23 million in annual revenue for city and county governments.
  • More than $19 million in annual sales and tourist development tax generated for the state and county.
  • $12.7 million in local impact fees dedicated to transportation, water and sewer, art and schools.

Plus: 2,700 jobs per year were created during construction and 5,900 jobs per year were permanently created.

What's ahead: Planning for Phase 2 is underway, but no timeline has been set yet for construction. Expansion will start with destruction of the old Ardent Mills flour plant.

  • The project will eventually total 9 million square feet of commercial, residential, hospitality, entertainment, cultural and retail space, all connected by a pedestrian-focused street plan and public greenbelts.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to remove a reference to True Food Kitchen, which is not located within Water Street Tampa.


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