A visually and cartographically explicit narrative blog about Tampa's built history and development.
(Above banner created from photo in the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Losing hope

 Tampa will be a shining city on the sea with no visible history if our city leaders have anything to say about it.  It has been over two years since I have posted to this blog and over those two years I have seen a sharp increase in demolition throughout the city's urban core.  This trend is now branching out into the rest of the city. Let me tick off a few items.  After a prolonged fight that made me feel hopeful about the future of preservation in this city, we only have a few weeks until the Bro Bowl will be demolished.  Jeff Vinik's vision for the development of the South Downtown waterfront is moving forward at full speed.  This development led to the quiet and speedy demolition of the last remaining single family houses in downtown Tampa.  I will write about these houses more in a future post.  As developers tear down houses, sales skyrocket.  I fear, no I know, we are staring at another housing bubble in this market.  A friend of mine has meticulously started documenting all of the tear downs in the South Tampa area, where the tear down development bug has reached a fever pitch.  Perfectly good homes are being bought by developers with deep pockets days after listing or with no listing at all, only to be torn down within days for spec houses with sales prices almost three times that of the previous sales price.  It only costs $100 for a demolition permit and even if the house is over 50 years old the historic preservation permitting process is not slowing down developers.  And a new threat to our historic urban core, its historic building,s and affordable housing, has emerged in the form of FDOT's Tampa Express Lane's project.  The downtown portion of the project is estimated at over $1.8 BILLION, yes BILLION!  This is over half of the entire projected $3.3 Billion cost of the countywide express lane project.  So much to discuss, friends.  I'm back on the blogging scene!