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Water Street Tampa brings dozens of restaurants to the new 56-acre neighborhood

Once complete, the new development project will comprise nine million square feet of Tampa Bay waterfront

Tampa, Fla. is already a bustling city with a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, but an ambitious new project is increasing options for residents and visitors. Water Street Tampa is a new mixed-use development transforming 56 contiguous acres on Tampa’s waterfront into an entirely new neighborhood.

Water Street Tampa connects Tampa Bay’s central business district to the waterfront, while linking residential neighborhoods to the city’s retail and business districts. The development includes multiple hotels, dozens of restaurants and retail shops, office space, condos and apartments, all connected by a pedestrian-focused street plan and public green space.

Several restaurants have already opened, with many more to come. Current tenants include the modern Japanese restaurant Noble Rice, the new American restaurant Naked Farmer with a menu of locally sourced seasonal ingredients, and Chill Bros. Scoop Shop.

“For Water Street Tampa’s restaurant scene, we focused on two main avenues: supporting local talent and attracting globally recognized brands that would bring something new to Tampa,”

Lee Schaffler, chief portfolio officer for Strategic Property Partners, the developer behind the project, told Restaurant Hospitality.

Strategic Property Partners’ goal was to attract unique concepts that respond to the needs of the community and enhance the cultural fabric of downtown Tampa.

Schaffler said that many local and national chefs and restaurateurs sought to expand or establish their first outpost in Tampa Bay because they wanted to be part of the Water Street community.

For example, New York chef Joe Isidori opened casual Mexican concept, JoToro, while Tampa-based chef Ferrell Alvarez of Proper House Group is opening an Italian restaurant called Ash.

Single-unit concepts will be joined by national brands, including a Wagamama location and a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams store.

“We’re creating a new culinary destination within Tampa, and we’re opening exceptional restaurants that fill the daily needs of people who live and work here,” Schaffler said. “That means coffee shops and breakfast spots, grab-and-go lunches, upscale dinners, and everything in between.”

Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, each of the restaurant spaces is designed by the tenants for their specific use and brand. They range from 800 square-feet to about 7,000 square-feet, with the average space registering approximately 2,500 square feet.

Dining is also a major component of the area’s new hotels: The 519-room JW Marriott features multiple restaurants, including a sixth-floor bistro called Six, a seafood concept called Anchor and Brine, and polished lobby bar and restaurant, Driftlight Lounge.

Water Street Tampa will soon be home to the city’s first five-star hotel, when the 172-room The Tampa Edition opens later this year. It offers seven unique food and beverage concepts, with chef John Fraser curating menus at three of the hotel’s restaurants. Fraser also runs restaurants in the Times Square Edition in New York City and the West Hollywood Edition in Los Angeles.

This is just phase one: The multi-phase development will continue over the next several years as Tampa’s waterfront undergoes a dramatic transformation.

“Tampa has experienced incredible growth over the past few years,” said Schaffler, “and Water Street Tampa has given the city more retail and better connectivity so people have more reasons to visit and stay downtown.”

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