Traditional recipes

Abandoned Fruitcake Forces Police to Evacuate Seattle Ferry Terminal

Abandoned Fruitcake Forces Police to Evacuate Seattle Ferry Terminal

The unmarked package was deemed suspicious

subjug / istockphoto.com

A fruitcake found in a ferry terminal forced authorities to shut down and evacuate Seattle’s Colman Dock mid-morning on December 26. According to a local Fox affiliate, state troopers with K9 units were notified of a suspicious gift-wrapped package under a decorative Christmas tree in the pedestrian waiting area around 10:10 a.m.

A bomb squad arrived on scene to investigate the lone, unmarked item, which was found to be a harmless fruitcake.

“The suspicious package was a wrapped present located underneath a Christmas tree in the terminal’s lobby. The Christmas tree itself was a decoration, and there had not been any presents located under the tree during its time displayed,” police said in a release. “Furthermore, there was no address label on the box itself which was concerning for responding emergency personnel.”

Once the mysterious package was deemed safe, the ferry terminal reopened around 10:50 a.m.

“What it looks like is the intention was good by whoever left it,” Trooper Kevin Fortino told the Seattle Times. “I don’t know if it was left for the ferry personnel, or whatever.”

Perhaps the traditional holiday dessert was abandoned. Although it was once considered a “grand indulgence” in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it has since become “the most hated cake in the existence of baking,” according to the Huffington Post. Here are the 9 funniest things ever said about fruitcake.


Tampasphere

As we have discussed previously, TBARTA has a “BRT” plan.

Last week, we got an idea of just how weak it is.

Let’s drill a little deeper:

(note, this is “job accessibility” not ridership, connections to other activity centers, etc.)

Scenario B has no rail and no “BRT” plan. Scenario C appears to have the “BRT” plan (“regional rapid transit” is the TBARTA rebranding effort). The increase in access is around 15%. That is all you need to know about TBARTA’s $100-300 million plans. (HART’s budget for 2021 is $151,114,097.) However, Scenario D adds rail and makes logical investments in real transit and basically triples access (and with properly executed TOD it could go even higher).

We have been saying for years that the TBARTA plans are lack value (and, really, sense), and this report supports that point.

It is not really news that proper transit systems need a solid bus feeder system. And, with any transit, you need frequency and reliability. The real news is how poor TBARTA’s plan is and how much having a proper, real transit system with proper bus network (but it seems no “regional rapid transit” aka “BRT” plan) increases accessibility.


— The Old, New Smaller, Still Expensive Plan

That brings us back to TBARTA’s attempts to tweak its plan. Having realized that its “BRT” plan was not very good, TBARTA looked into a very expensive version of an express bus (rather than just running an express bus). Now,

First, we do not know the reason why the Board lacked a quorum, but, barring an unusual coincidence of emergencies, it is odd that a regional agency has a major decision to make and lacks a quorum. In any event,

For what this newest idea provides (and, really, all the previous iterations), $90 million is too much. But beyond that, why does Hillsborough only have three stations? What kind of spine has only three stations in the biggest (by far) county in the region with the longest segment of the line going through the biggest city? Clearly TBARTA has abandoned the spine idea. And given that, what is the purpose of this plan and why should Hillsborough pay? TBARTA really seems to be simply doing something to be seen to do something.

A pipeline may be an asset, but a thin, expensive straw is not necessarily worth it. (And the second paragraph really makes us wonder what HART is thinking. There is nothing in any of TBARTA’s plans that would make anyone think people will use the bus to come to Tampa to “shop and dine” unless absolutely necessary.)

The TBARTA Board’s bad case of indecision probably developed because the plans are all quite bad.

It seems that Pasco is playing tee ball because that is hardly ambitious. Wasteful, but not ambitious. And maybe Pasco should actually show interest in some decent planning and transit in Pasco County before trying to spend other people’s money.

As we have noted many times, we see no reason to spend much money on TBARTA’s ideas. The benefits of any TBARTA plan do not justify the expense. There is already express bus (with bus on shoulder when needed) service from St. Pete to Tampa. Pasco can be served by a simple, normal express bus service. It is time to move on to real transit, arterial, real BRT and rail, proper bus systems, and getting proper funding for our local agencies that complies with State law. TBARTA can decide to be useful or just be ignored.

Moving on to South County:

We are resigned to Big Bend Road not being safe for bicyclists and pedestrians (and, really, probably not for motorists either), especially to cross the street or the numerous curb cuts. As we have said before, the design of the entire surrounding area (here) is antithetical to pedestrian and bicycle use. The best the County can reasonably expect to do is build essentially a bike/pedestrian bypass to get people away from the road (though there is no way to avoid the curb cuts and distracted, angry drivers using them), but even that is of limited utility because people are not going to walk or bike in large numbers around the entirely car-centric, sprawling mess in the area.

We applaud the intention, but, unless the County is prepared to rebuild the whole road and change the planning radically (or a major project that is completely out of character for the area is built), any change will likely be an incremental improvement.


— High Speed Rail

There was an article in the Times regarding whether Florida could get high speed rail from the proposed infrastructure bill. It is odd because as the article mentions:

We are not really clear about the Federal funding of a private company idea.

Then again, maybe the State and its strange requirements will keep Tampa isolated from the Brightline. Brightline’s expansion came up in a separate Times editorial, sort of:

We are still not sure what that footing would entail? PPP? Loan? What?

Aside: while we are all for high-speed rail done properly, we have doubts about the government paying for a train from downtown Tampa to Orlando’s airport. If a private company wants to do that, fine. But we do not favor creating a supply to Orlando’s airport that neither supplies our airport nor connects Tampa to Orlando proper. The fact that previous local officials in the Tampa Bay area did not advocate properly when the first HSR ideas were being prepared is no reason to make the mistake again.

In any event, if and when an infrastructure bill passes, we will see what is in it.


Brandon – Not Quite

There was news about a relatively large project in Brandon:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This is a rendering from 2019:

From the Times – click on picture for article

URBN Tampa Bay’s had this to say:

We agree. The project should have connected/created the Brandon grid. Moreover, while we like the commercial, the way it is arranged does is not a natural corridor. In fact, right now, the commercial street dead ends at the east end of the property (though there is separate land that could one day be developed by someone). Moreover, there is no natural north-south commercial corridor. Nor does there seem to be land set aside for any expansion or more intense development.

In other words, despite the branding, this is not a downtown or even a simulated downtown. It is a street with commercial on it that does not connect to anything and with some apartments around it. It may be a nice street and the commercial may be built nicely, but, as it is planned now, that is all it is.


West Tampa – Cigar Factories

There was a bit of news regarding cigar factories this week.

First, you may remember a the controversy over the Santaella Cigar Factory’s renovation work (see here and here, and a related item regarding the Pendez & Alvarez factory here). We never met the main character in the stories so we cannot say whether it is an accurate depiction, but let’s just say that the articles in the Times made it seem unlikely that he had studied the collected works of Dale Carnegie. In any event,

As with most legal issues, we are not going to opine about the case or try to sort out the facts, but it is interesting. And, as noted above, the Santaella work generated opposition, so there are likely many who would like to see some change.

That brings us to news about another cigar factory:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

It may not be perfect, but, from what we can see, it looks like a pretty nice project.

The bottom line is that the cigar factories are community assets. We would like them renovated properly and put to good use. Who does it is not really our concern.


Tampa Heights – 209 East Oak

There was news about a new proposal in Tampa Heights. Per URBN Tampa Bay:

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

This is URBN Tampa Bay’s take:

We generally agree. In that location, Florida should definitely be the focus of commercial, though a public-ish space like a “clubhouse” on Florida is better than just apartments, even walk-ups. (though we agree that the ground floor apartments should be walk-ups) Additionally, we like having some commercial on Seventh.

Speaking of Florida, we are curious about the reasoning behind putting transformers in the middle of the Florida façade. If it is absolutely necessary for some reason, then so be it (and that reason should be examined closely), but it seems unusual.

More broadly, from what we have seen so far, we like proposal overall. We think it has to potential to help push the area along. In fact, we are surprised it has taken so long to bring more projects to this area. We actually would like to see denser development there.


Hyde Park – No

URBN Tampa Bay also noted this:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

This is Hyde Park, not Riverview (and even there it would be bad design). We do not care if the use is a bank, but it needs to be a properly designed bank.


USF Area – Moffitt

The expansion of the main Moffitt campus has reached a milestone:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

As we always say: we are glad this area has Moffitt, but we wish we did not need it.


South Tampa – Altura

You may remember that Altura is a condo project just north of Bay to Bay a block off of Bayshore.

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This project does not ignore its west façade as much as some other recent projects. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

There was an interesting article in the Times regarding taxes in Florida.

Of course, we know that Florida is a low tax state, but we also know that is not the end of the discussion.

The article included this interesting chart:

From the Times – click on picture for article

It is interesting that the average income in Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia is higher than Florida and that, in many higher tax states, people still take home more money than Floridians. Moreover, based on the description, the numbers do not include the “fees” that Florida governments use to make up for the lack of taxes and they do not seem to include the cost to residents of the lack of services.

As usual, there is news from the housing sector.

It seems to us this is not a healthy situation long term. Nor is this:

Second homes and profits from flipping are fine, but having a large portion of the population frozen out of the market is not.


Economic Development – Warehouses

For any government entity that is tempted to subsidize or give incentives to a warehouse, just a friendly reminder:


Airport – Odds and Ends

As we discussed last week, Breeze began service on May 27 with a flight from Tampa to Charleston. (for more background see here and here) Because we were not sure of the routes last week, we thought we would just put the route map.

From Breeze Airways – click on picture for website

It will be interesting to see how they expand in Tampa.

Meanwhile, there was another airport development:

The base is an indication that Frontier plans to focus on development in Tampa.


Port – Cruises

We have been covering the issue of when cruises could restart for a while. This week there is interesting news:

Those are good signs, though there still is this:

It just makes us think of this:


St. Pete – Trop Land

Last week, we agreed with St. Pete mayoral candidates that the next mayor should deal with the developer selection for the Trop land. Not that we thought that would actually happen.

Setting aside that we think there are only one or two proposals that really fit, we still think it should be left for the next administration, regardless of the Rays. They have had a long time to propose something for that land if they really wanted to be there.

Les actualités de Rays de cette semaine sont ici, ici, ici, ici et ici. Et le grand article ici. Et vous Stu? Montrez-nous l’argent.

Et ici. (mettez 514 à la place)


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

As we discussed recently, the streetcar needs to find some spare change to keep functioning from free. The free transit idea is not a new one or isolated to Tampa. For instance,

Admittedly, it is a short pilot project, but it will be interesting to see how it goes. You can read more here.

Here are some links to government resources:

Florida Health, Hillsborough (where you can get some vaccine info)

Florida Vaccine Registration (works for Hillsborough but not some other counties)

This week we have a couple of nice shots from Eagle 8 WFLA:

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet


Tampasphere

As we have discussed previously, TBARTA has a “BRT” plan.

Last week, we got an idea of just how weak it is.

Let’s drill a little deeper:

(note, this is “job accessibility” not ridership, connections to other activity centers, etc.)

Scenario B has no rail and no “BRT” plan. Scenario C appears to have the “BRT” plan (“regional rapid transit” is the TBARTA rebranding effort). The increase in access is around 15%. That is all you need to know about TBARTA’s $100-300 million plans. (HART’s budget for 2021 is $151,114,097.) However, Scenario D adds rail and makes logical investments in real transit and basically triples access (and with properly executed TOD it could go even higher).

We have been saying for years that the TBARTA plans are lack value (and, really, sense), and this report supports that point.

It is not really news that proper transit systems need a solid bus feeder system. And, with any transit, you need frequency and reliability. The real news is how poor TBARTA’s plan is and how much having a proper, real transit system with proper bus network (but it seems no “regional rapid transit” aka “BRT” plan) increases accessibility.


— The Old, New Smaller, Still Expensive Plan

That brings us back to TBARTA’s attempts to tweak its plan. Having realized that its “BRT” plan was not very good, TBARTA looked into a very expensive version of an express bus (rather than just running an express bus). Now,

First, we do not know the reason why the Board lacked a quorum, but, barring an unusual coincidence of emergencies, it is odd that a regional agency has a major decision to make and lacks a quorum. In any event,

For what this newest idea provides (and, really, all the previous iterations), $90 million is too much. But beyond that, why does Hillsborough only have three stations? What kind of spine has only three stations in the biggest (by far) county in the region with the longest segment of the line going through the biggest city? Clearly TBARTA has abandoned the spine idea. And given that, what is the purpose of this plan and why should Hillsborough pay? TBARTA really seems to be simply doing something to be seen to do something.

A pipeline may be an asset, but a thin, expensive straw is not necessarily worth it. (And the second paragraph really makes us wonder what HART is thinking. There is nothing in any of TBARTA’s plans that would make anyone think people will use the bus to come to Tampa to “shop and dine” unless absolutely necessary.)

The TBARTA Board’s bad case of indecision probably developed because the plans are all quite bad.

It seems that Pasco is playing tee ball because that is hardly ambitious. Wasteful, but not ambitious. And maybe Pasco should actually show interest in some decent planning and transit in Pasco County before trying to spend other people’s money.

As we have noted many times, we see no reason to spend much money on TBARTA’s ideas. The benefits of any TBARTA plan do not justify the expense. There is already express bus (with bus on shoulder when needed) service from St. Pete to Tampa. Pasco can be served by a simple, normal express bus service. It is time to move on to real transit, arterial, real BRT and rail, proper bus systems, and getting proper funding for our local agencies that complies with State law. TBARTA can decide to be useful or just be ignored.

Moving on to South County:

We are resigned to Big Bend Road not being safe for bicyclists and pedestrians (and, really, probably not for motorists either), especially to cross the street or the numerous curb cuts. As we have said before, the design of the entire surrounding area (here) is antithetical to pedestrian and bicycle use. The best the County can reasonably expect to do is build essentially a bike/pedestrian bypass to get people away from the road (though there is no way to avoid the curb cuts and distracted, angry drivers using them), but even that is of limited utility because people are not going to walk or bike in large numbers around the entirely car-centric, sprawling mess in the area.

We applaud the intention, but, unless the County is prepared to rebuild the whole road and change the planning radically (or a major project that is completely out of character for the area is built), any change will likely be an incremental improvement.


— High Speed Rail

There was an article in the Times regarding whether Florida could get high speed rail from the proposed infrastructure bill. It is odd because as the article mentions:

We are not really clear about the Federal funding of a private company idea.

Then again, maybe the State and its strange requirements will keep Tampa isolated from the Brightline. Brightline’s expansion came up in a separate Times editorial, sort of:

We are still not sure what that footing would entail? PPP? Loan? What?

Aside: while we are all for high-speed rail done properly, we have doubts about the government paying for a train from downtown Tampa to Orlando’s airport. If a private company wants to do that, fine. But we do not favor creating a supply to Orlando’s airport that neither supplies our airport nor connects Tampa to Orlando proper. The fact that previous local officials in the Tampa Bay area did not advocate properly when the first HSR ideas were being prepared is no reason to make the mistake again.

In any event, if and when an infrastructure bill passes, we will see what is in it.


Brandon – Not Quite

There was news about a relatively large project in Brandon:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This is a rendering from 2019:

From the Times – click on picture for article

URBN Tampa Bay’s had this to say:

We agree. The project should have connected/created the Brandon grid. Moreover, while we like the commercial, the way it is arranged does is not a natural corridor. In fact, right now, the commercial street dead ends at the east end of the property (though there is separate land that could one day be developed by someone). Moreover, there is no natural north-south commercial corridor. Nor does there seem to be land set aside for any expansion or more intense development.

In other words, despite the branding, this is not a downtown or even a simulated downtown. It is a street with commercial on it that does not connect to anything and with some apartments around it. It may be a nice street and the commercial may be built nicely, but, as it is planned now, that is all it is.


West Tampa – Cigar Factories

There was a bit of news regarding cigar factories this week.

First, you may remember a the controversy over the Santaella Cigar Factory’s renovation work (see here and here, and a related item regarding the Pendez & Alvarez factory here). We never met the main character in the stories so we cannot say whether it is an accurate depiction, but let’s just say that the articles in the Times made it seem unlikely that he had studied the collected works of Dale Carnegie. In any event,

As with most legal issues, we are not going to opine about the case or try to sort out the facts, but it is interesting. And, as noted above, the Santaella work generated opposition, so there are likely many who would like to see some change.

That brings us to news about another cigar factory:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

It may not be perfect, but, from what we can see, it looks like a pretty nice project.

The bottom line is that the cigar factories are community assets. We would like them renovated properly and put to good use. Who does it is not really our concern.


Tampa Heights – 209 East Oak

There was news about a new proposal in Tampa Heights. Per URBN Tampa Bay:

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

This is URBN Tampa Bay’s take:

We generally agree. In that location, Florida should definitely be the focus of commercial, though a public-ish space like a “clubhouse” on Florida is better than just apartments, even walk-ups. (though we agree that the ground floor apartments should be walk-ups) Additionally, we like having some commercial on Seventh.

Speaking of Florida, we are curious about the reasoning behind putting transformers in the middle of the Florida façade. If it is absolutely necessary for some reason, then so be it (and that reason should be examined closely), but it seems unusual.

More broadly, from what we have seen so far, we like proposal overall. We think it has to potential to help push the area along. In fact, we are surprised it has taken so long to bring more projects to this area. We actually would like to see denser development there.


Hyde Park – No

URBN Tampa Bay also noted this:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

This is Hyde Park, not Riverview (and even there it would be bad design). We do not care if the use is a bank, but it needs to be a properly designed bank.


USF Area – Moffitt

The expansion of the main Moffitt campus has reached a milestone:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

As we always say: we are glad this area has Moffitt, but we wish we did not need it.


South Tampa – Altura

You may remember that Altura is a condo project just north of Bay to Bay a block off of Bayshore.

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This project does not ignore its west façade as much as some other recent projects. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

There was an interesting article in the Times regarding taxes in Florida.

Of course, we know that Florida is a low tax state, but we also know that is not the end of the discussion.

The article included this interesting chart:

From the Times – click on picture for article

It is interesting that the average income in Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia is higher than Florida and that, in many higher tax states, people still take home more money than Floridians. Moreover, based on the description, the numbers do not include the “fees” that Florida governments use to make up for the lack of taxes and they do not seem to include the cost to residents of the lack of services.

As usual, there is news from the housing sector.

It seems to us this is not a healthy situation long term. Nor is this:

Second homes and profits from flipping are fine, but having a large portion of the population frozen out of the market is not.


Economic Development – Warehouses

For any government entity that is tempted to subsidize or give incentives to a warehouse, just a friendly reminder:


Airport – Odds and Ends

As we discussed last week, Breeze began service on May 27 with a flight from Tampa to Charleston. (for more background see here and here) Because we were not sure of the routes last week, we thought we would just put the route map.

From Breeze Airways – click on picture for website

It will be interesting to see how they expand in Tampa.

Meanwhile, there was another airport development:

The base is an indication that Frontier plans to focus on development in Tampa.


Port – Cruises

We have been covering the issue of when cruises could restart for a while. This week there is interesting news:

Those are good signs, though there still is this:

It just makes us think of this:


St. Pete – Trop Land

Last week, we agreed with St. Pete mayoral candidates that the next mayor should deal with the developer selection for the Trop land. Not that we thought that would actually happen.

Setting aside that we think there are only one or two proposals that really fit, we still think it should be left for the next administration, regardless of the Rays. They have had a long time to propose something for that land if they really wanted to be there.

Les actualités de Rays de cette semaine sont ici, ici, ici, ici et ici. Et le grand article ici. Et vous Stu? Montrez-nous l’argent.

Et ici. (mettez 514 à la place)


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

As we discussed recently, the streetcar needs to find some spare change to keep functioning from free. The free transit idea is not a new one or isolated to Tampa. For instance,

Admittedly, it is a short pilot project, but it will be interesting to see how it goes. You can read more here.

Here are some links to government resources:

Florida Health, Hillsborough (where you can get some vaccine info)

Florida Vaccine Registration (works for Hillsborough but not some other counties)

This week we have a couple of nice shots from Eagle 8 WFLA:

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet


Tampasphere

As we have discussed previously, TBARTA has a “BRT” plan.

Last week, we got an idea of just how weak it is.

Let’s drill a little deeper:

(note, this is “job accessibility” not ridership, connections to other activity centers, etc.)

Scenario B has no rail and no “BRT” plan. Scenario C appears to have the “BRT” plan (“regional rapid transit” is the TBARTA rebranding effort). The increase in access is around 15%. That is all you need to know about TBARTA’s $100-300 million plans. (HART’s budget for 2021 is $151,114,097.) However, Scenario D adds rail and makes logical investments in real transit and basically triples access (and with properly executed TOD it could go even higher).

We have been saying for years that the TBARTA plans are lack value (and, really, sense), and this report supports that point.

It is not really news that proper transit systems need a solid bus feeder system. And, with any transit, you need frequency and reliability. The real news is how poor TBARTA’s plan is and how much having a proper, real transit system with proper bus network (but it seems no “regional rapid transit” aka “BRT” plan) increases accessibility.


— The Old, New Smaller, Still Expensive Plan

That brings us back to TBARTA’s attempts to tweak its plan. Having realized that its “BRT” plan was not very good, TBARTA looked into a very expensive version of an express bus (rather than just running an express bus). Now,

First, we do not know the reason why the Board lacked a quorum, but, barring an unusual coincidence of emergencies, it is odd that a regional agency has a major decision to make and lacks a quorum. In any event,

For what this newest idea provides (and, really, all the previous iterations), $90 million is too much. But beyond that, why does Hillsborough only have three stations? What kind of spine has only three stations in the biggest (by far) county in the region with the longest segment of the line going through the biggest city? Clearly TBARTA has abandoned the spine idea. And given that, what is the purpose of this plan and why should Hillsborough pay? TBARTA really seems to be simply doing something to be seen to do something.

A pipeline may be an asset, but a thin, expensive straw is not necessarily worth it. (And the second paragraph really makes us wonder what HART is thinking. There is nothing in any of TBARTA’s plans that would make anyone think people will use the bus to come to Tampa to “shop and dine” unless absolutely necessary.)

The TBARTA Board’s bad case of indecision probably developed because the plans are all quite bad.

It seems that Pasco is playing tee ball because that is hardly ambitious. Wasteful, but not ambitious. And maybe Pasco should actually show interest in some decent planning and transit in Pasco County before trying to spend other people’s money.

As we have noted many times, we see no reason to spend much money on TBARTA’s ideas. The benefits of any TBARTA plan do not justify the expense. There is already express bus (with bus on shoulder when needed) service from St. Pete to Tampa. Pasco can be served by a simple, normal express bus service. It is time to move on to real transit, arterial, real BRT and rail, proper bus systems, and getting proper funding for our local agencies that complies with State law. TBARTA can decide to be useful or just be ignored.

Moving on to South County:

We are resigned to Big Bend Road not being safe for bicyclists and pedestrians (and, really, probably not for motorists either), especially to cross the street or the numerous curb cuts. As we have said before, the design of the entire surrounding area (here) is antithetical to pedestrian and bicycle use. The best the County can reasonably expect to do is build essentially a bike/pedestrian bypass to get people away from the road (though there is no way to avoid the curb cuts and distracted, angry drivers using them), but even that is of limited utility because people are not going to walk or bike in large numbers around the entirely car-centric, sprawling mess in the area.

We applaud the intention, but, unless the County is prepared to rebuild the whole road and change the planning radically (or a major project that is completely out of character for the area is built), any change will likely be an incremental improvement.


— High Speed Rail

There was an article in the Times regarding whether Florida could get high speed rail from the proposed infrastructure bill. It is odd because as the article mentions:

We are not really clear about the Federal funding of a private company idea.

Then again, maybe the State and its strange requirements will keep Tampa isolated from the Brightline. Brightline’s expansion came up in a separate Times editorial, sort of:

We are still not sure what that footing would entail? PPP? Loan? What?

Aside: while we are all for high-speed rail done properly, we have doubts about the government paying for a train from downtown Tampa to Orlando’s airport. If a private company wants to do that, fine. But we do not favor creating a supply to Orlando’s airport that neither supplies our airport nor connects Tampa to Orlando proper. The fact that previous local officials in the Tampa Bay area did not advocate properly when the first HSR ideas were being prepared is no reason to make the mistake again.

In any event, if and when an infrastructure bill passes, we will see what is in it.


Brandon – Not Quite

There was news about a relatively large project in Brandon:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This is a rendering from 2019:

From the Times – click on picture for article

URBN Tampa Bay’s had this to say:

We agree. The project should have connected/created the Brandon grid. Moreover, while we like the commercial, the way it is arranged does is not a natural corridor. In fact, right now, the commercial street dead ends at the east end of the property (though there is separate land that could one day be developed by someone). Moreover, there is no natural north-south commercial corridor. Nor does there seem to be land set aside for any expansion or more intense development.

In other words, despite the branding, this is not a downtown or even a simulated downtown. It is a street with commercial on it that does not connect to anything and with some apartments around it. It may be a nice street and the commercial may be built nicely, but, as it is planned now, that is all it is.


West Tampa – Cigar Factories

There was a bit of news regarding cigar factories this week.

First, you may remember a the controversy over the Santaella Cigar Factory’s renovation work (see here and here, and a related item regarding the Pendez & Alvarez factory here). We never met the main character in the stories so we cannot say whether it is an accurate depiction, but let’s just say that the articles in the Times made it seem unlikely that he had studied the collected works of Dale Carnegie. In any event,

As with most legal issues, we are not going to opine about the case or try to sort out the facts, but it is interesting. And, as noted above, the Santaella work generated opposition, so there are likely many who would like to see some change.

That brings us to news about another cigar factory:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

It may not be perfect, but, from what we can see, it looks like a pretty nice project.

The bottom line is that the cigar factories are community assets. We would like them renovated properly and put to good use. Who does it is not really our concern.


Tampa Heights – 209 East Oak

There was news about a new proposal in Tampa Heights. Per URBN Tampa Bay:

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

This is URBN Tampa Bay’s take:

We generally agree. In that location, Florida should definitely be the focus of commercial, though a public-ish space like a “clubhouse” on Florida is better than just apartments, even walk-ups. (though we agree that the ground floor apartments should be walk-ups) Additionally, we like having some commercial on Seventh.

Speaking of Florida, we are curious about the reasoning behind putting transformers in the middle of the Florida façade. If it is absolutely necessary for some reason, then so be it (and that reason should be examined closely), but it seems unusual.

More broadly, from what we have seen so far, we like proposal overall. We think it has to potential to help push the area along. In fact, we are surprised it has taken so long to bring more projects to this area. We actually would like to see denser development there.


Hyde Park – No

URBN Tampa Bay also noted this:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

This is Hyde Park, not Riverview (and even there it would be bad design). We do not care if the use is a bank, but it needs to be a properly designed bank.


USF Area – Moffitt

The expansion of the main Moffitt campus has reached a milestone:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

As we always say: we are glad this area has Moffitt, but we wish we did not need it.


South Tampa – Altura

You may remember that Altura is a condo project just north of Bay to Bay a block off of Bayshore.

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This project does not ignore its west façade as much as some other recent projects. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

There was an interesting article in the Times regarding taxes in Florida.

Of course, we know that Florida is a low tax state, but we also know that is not the end of the discussion.

The article included this interesting chart:

From the Times – click on picture for article

It is interesting that the average income in Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia is higher than Florida and that, in many higher tax states, people still take home more money than Floridians. Moreover, based on the description, the numbers do not include the “fees” that Florida governments use to make up for the lack of taxes and they do not seem to include the cost to residents of the lack of services.

As usual, there is news from the housing sector.

It seems to us this is not a healthy situation long term. Nor is this:

Second homes and profits from flipping are fine, but having a large portion of the population frozen out of the market is not.


Economic Development – Warehouses

For any government entity that is tempted to subsidize or give incentives to a warehouse, just a friendly reminder:


Airport – Odds and Ends

As we discussed last week, Breeze began service on May 27 with a flight from Tampa to Charleston. (for more background see here and here) Because we were not sure of the routes last week, we thought we would just put the route map.

From Breeze Airways – click on picture for website

It will be interesting to see how they expand in Tampa.

Meanwhile, there was another airport development:

The base is an indication that Frontier plans to focus on development in Tampa.


Port – Cruises

We have been covering the issue of when cruises could restart for a while. This week there is interesting news:

Those are good signs, though there still is this:

It just makes us think of this:


St. Pete – Trop Land

Last week, we agreed with St. Pete mayoral candidates that the next mayor should deal with the developer selection for the Trop land. Not that we thought that would actually happen.

Setting aside that we think there are only one or two proposals that really fit, we still think it should be left for the next administration, regardless of the Rays. They have had a long time to propose something for that land if they really wanted to be there.

Les actualités de Rays de cette semaine sont ici, ici, ici, ici et ici. Et le grand article ici. Et vous Stu? Montrez-nous l’argent.

Et ici. (mettez 514 à la place)


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

As we discussed recently, the streetcar needs to find some spare change to keep functioning from free. The free transit idea is not a new one or isolated to Tampa. For instance,

Admittedly, it is a short pilot project, but it will be interesting to see how it goes. You can read more here.

Here are some links to government resources:

Florida Health, Hillsborough (where you can get some vaccine info)

Florida Vaccine Registration (works for Hillsborough but not some other counties)

This week we have a couple of nice shots from Eagle 8 WFLA:

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet


Tampasphere

As we have discussed previously, TBARTA has a “BRT” plan.

Last week, we got an idea of just how weak it is.

Let’s drill a little deeper:

(note, this is “job accessibility” not ridership, connections to other activity centers, etc.)

Scenario B has no rail and no “BRT” plan. Scenario C appears to have the “BRT” plan (“regional rapid transit” is the TBARTA rebranding effort). The increase in access is around 15%. That is all you need to know about TBARTA’s $100-300 million plans. (HART’s budget for 2021 is $151,114,097.) However, Scenario D adds rail and makes logical investments in real transit and basically triples access (and with properly executed TOD it could go even higher).

We have been saying for years that the TBARTA plans are lack value (and, really, sense), and this report supports that point.

It is not really news that proper transit systems need a solid bus feeder system. And, with any transit, you need frequency and reliability. The real news is how poor TBARTA’s plan is and how much having a proper, real transit system with proper bus network (but it seems no “regional rapid transit” aka “BRT” plan) increases accessibility.


— The Old, New Smaller, Still Expensive Plan

That brings us back to TBARTA’s attempts to tweak its plan. Having realized that its “BRT” plan was not very good, TBARTA looked into a very expensive version of an express bus (rather than just running an express bus). Now,

First, we do not know the reason why the Board lacked a quorum, but, barring an unusual coincidence of emergencies, it is odd that a regional agency has a major decision to make and lacks a quorum. In any event,

For what this newest idea provides (and, really, all the previous iterations), $90 million is too much. But beyond that, why does Hillsborough only have three stations? What kind of spine has only three stations in the biggest (by far) county in the region with the longest segment of the line going through the biggest city? Clearly TBARTA has abandoned the spine idea. And given that, what is the purpose of this plan and why should Hillsborough pay? TBARTA really seems to be simply doing something to be seen to do something.

A pipeline may be an asset, but a thin, expensive straw is not necessarily worth it. (And the second paragraph really makes us wonder what HART is thinking. There is nothing in any of TBARTA’s plans that would make anyone think people will use the bus to come to Tampa to “shop and dine” unless absolutely necessary.)

The TBARTA Board’s bad case of indecision probably developed because the plans are all quite bad.

It seems that Pasco is playing tee ball because that is hardly ambitious. Wasteful, but not ambitious. And maybe Pasco should actually show interest in some decent planning and transit in Pasco County before trying to spend other people’s money.

As we have noted many times, we see no reason to spend much money on TBARTA’s ideas. The benefits of any TBARTA plan do not justify the expense. There is already express bus (with bus on shoulder when needed) service from St. Pete to Tampa. Pasco can be served by a simple, normal express bus service. It is time to move on to real transit, arterial, real BRT and rail, proper bus systems, and getting proper funding for our local agencies that complies with State law. TBARTA can decide to be useful or just be ignored.

Moving on to South County:

We are resigned to Big Bend Road not being safe for bicyclists and pedestrians (and, really, probably not for motorists either), especially to cross the street or the numerous curb cuts. As we have said before, the design of the entire surrounding area (here) is antithetical to pedestrian and bicycle use. The best the County can reasonably expect to do is build essentially a bike/pedestrian bypass to get people away from the road (though there is no way to avoid the curb cuts and distracted, angry drivers using them), but even that is of limited utility because people are not going to walk or bike in large numbers around the entirely car-centric, sprawling mess in the area.

We applaud the intention, but, unless the County is prepared to rebuild the whole road and change the planning radically (or a major project that is completely out of character for the area is built), any change will likely be an incremental improvement.


— High Speed Rail

There was an article in the Times regarding whether Florida could get high speed rail from the proposed infrastructure bill. It is odd because as the article mentions:

We are not really clear about the Federal funding of a private company idea.

Then again, maybe the State and its strange requirements will keep Tampa isolated from the Brightline. Brightline’s expansion came up in a separate Times editorial, sort of:

We are still not sure what that footing would entail? PPP? Loan? What?

Aside: while we are all for high-speed rail done properly, we have doubts about the government paying for a train from downtown Tampa to Orlando’s airport. If a private company wants to do that, fine. But we do not favor creating a supply to Orlando’s airport that neither supplies our airport nor connects Tampa to Orlando proper. The fact that previous local officials in the Tampa Bay area did not advocate properly when the first HSR ideas were being prepared is no reason to make the mistake again.

In any event, if and when an infrastructure bill passes, we will see what is in it.


Brandon – Not Quite

There was news about a relatively large project in Brandon:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This is a rendering from 2019:

From the Times – click on picture for article

URBN Tampa Bay’s had this to say:

We agree. The project should have connected/created the Brandon grid. Moreover, while we like the commercial, the way it is arranged does is not a natural corridor. In fact, right now, the commercial street dead ends at the east end of the property (though there is separate land that could one day be developed by someone). Moreover, there is no natural north-south commercial corridor. Nor does there seem to be land set aside for any expansion or more intense development.

In other words, despite the branding, this is not a downtown or even a simulated downtown. It is a street with commercial on it that does not connect to anything and with some apartments around it. It may be a nice street and the commercial may be built nicely, but, as it is planned now, that is all it is.


West Tampa – Cigar Factories

There was a bit of news regarding cigar factories this week.

First, you may remember a the controversy over the Santaella Cigar Factory’s renovation work (see here and here, and a related item regarding the Pendez & Alvarez factory here). We never met the main character in the stories so we cannot say whether it is an accurate depiction, but let’s just say that the articles in the Times made it seem unlikely that he had studied the collected works of Dale Carnegie. In any event,

As with most legal issues, we are not going to opine about the case or try to sort out the facts, but it is interesting. And, as noted above, the Santaella work generated opposition, so there are likely many who would like to see some change.

That brings us to news about another cigar factory:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

It may not be perfect, but, from what we can see, it looks like a pretty nice project.

The bottom line is that the cigar factories are community assets. We would like them renovated properly and put to good use. Who does it is not really our concern.


Tampa Heights – 209 East Oak

There was news about a new proposal in Tampa Heights. Per URBN Tampa Bay:

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

This is URBN Tampa Bay’s take:

We generally agree. In that location, Florida should definitely be the focus of commercial, though a public-ish space like a “clubhouse” on Florida is better than just apartments, even walk-ups. (though we agree that the ground floor apartments should be walk-ups) Additionally, we like having some commercial on Seventh.

Speaking of Florida, we are curious about the reasoning behind putting transformers in the middle of the Florida façade. If it is absolutely necessary for some reason, then so be it (and that reason should be examined closely), but it seems unusual.

More broadly, from what we have seen so far, we like proposal overall. We think it has to potential to help push the area along. In fact, we are surprised it has taken so long to bring more projects to this area. We actually would like to see denser development there.


Hyde Park – No

URBN Tampa Bay also noted this:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

This is Hyde Park, not Riverview (and even there it would be bad design). We do not care if the use is a bank, but it needs to be a properly designed bank.


USF Area – Moffitt

The expansion of the main Moffitt campus has reached a milestone:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

As we always say: we are glad this area has Moffitt, but we wish we did not need it.


South Tampa – Altura

You may remember that Altura is a condo project just north of Bay to Bay a block off of Bayshore.

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This project does not ignore its west façade as much as some other recent projects. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

There was an interesting article in the Times regarding taxes in Florida.

Of course, we know that Florida is a low tax state, but we also know that is not the end of the discussion.

The article included this interesting chart:

From the Times – click on picture for article

It is interesting that the average income in Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia is higher than Florida and that, in many higher tax states, people still take home more money than Floridians. Moreover, based on the description, the numbers do not include the “fees” that Florida governments use to make up for the lack of taxes and they do not seem to include the cost to residents of the lack of services.

As usual, there is news from the housing sector.

It seems to us this is not a healthy situation long term. Nor is this:

Second homes and profits from flipping are fine, but having a large portion of the population frozen out of the market is not.


Economic Development – Warehouses

For any government entity that is tempted to subsidize or give incentives to a warehouse, just a friendly reminder:


Airport – Odds and Ends

As we discussed last week, Breeze began service on May 27 with a flight from Tampa to Charleston. (for more background see here and here) Because we were not sure of the routes last week, we thought we would just put the route map.

From Breeze Airways – click on picture for website

It will be interesting to see how they expand in Tampa.

Meanwhile, there was another airport development:

The base is an indication that Frontier plans to focus on development in Tampa.


Port – Cruises

We have been covering the issue of when cruises could restart for a while. This week there is interesting news:

Those are good signs, though there still is this:

It just makes us think of this:


St. Pete – Trop Land

Last week, we agreed with St. Pete mayoral candidates that the next mayor should deal with the developer selection for the Trop land. Not that we thought that would actually happen.

Setting aside that we think there are only one or two proposals that really fit, we still think it should be left for the next administration, regardless of the Rays. They have had a long time to propose something for that land if they really wanted to be there.

Les actualités de Rays de cette semaine sont ici, ici, ici, ici et ici. Et le grand article ici. Et vous Stu? Montrez-nous l’argent.

Et ici. (mettez 514 à la place)


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

As we discussed recently, the streetcar needs to find some spare change to keep functioning from free. The free transit idea is not a new one or isolated to Tampa. For instance,

Admittedly, it is a short pilot project, but it will be interesting to see how it goes. You can read more here.

Here are some links to government resources:

Florida Health, Hillsborough (where you can get some vaccine info)

Florida Vaccine Registration (works for Hillsborough but not some other counties)

This week we have a couple of nice shots from Eagle 8 WFLA:

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet


Tampasphere

As we have discussed previously, TBARTA has a “BRT” plan.

Last week, we got an idea of just how weak it is.

Let’s drill a little deeper:

(note, this is “job accessibility” not ridership, connections to other activity centers, etc.)

Scenario B has no rail and no “BRT” plan. Scenario C appears to have the “BRT” plan (“regional rapid transit” is the TBARTA rebranding effort). The increase in access is around 15%. That is all you need to know about TBARTA’s $100-300 million plans. (HART’s budget for 2021 is $151,114,097.) However, Scenario D adds rail and makes logical investments in real transit and basically triples access (and with properly executed TOD it could go even higher).

We have been saying for years that the TBARTA plans are lack value (and, really, sense), and this report supports that point.

It is not really news that proper transit systems need a solid bus feeder system. And, with any transit, you need frequency and reliability. The real news is how poor TBARTA’s plan is and how much having a proper, real transit system with proper bus network (but it seems no “regional rapid transit” aka “BRT” plan) increases accessibility.


— The Old, New Smaller, Still Expensive Plan

That brings us back to TBARTA’s attempts to tweak its plan. Having realized that its “BRT” plan was not very good, TBARTA looked into a very expensive version of an express bus (rather than just running an express bus). Now,

First, we do not know the reason why the Board lacked a quorum, but, barring an unusual coincidence of emergencies, it is odd that a regional agency has a major decision to make and lacks a quorum. In any event,

For what this newest idea provides (and, really, all the previous iterations), $90 million is too much. But beyond that, why does Hillsborough only have three stations? What kind of spine has only three stations in the biggest (by far) county in the region with the longest segment of the line going through the biggest city? Clearly TBARTA has abandoned the spine idea. And given that, what is the purpose of this plan and why should Hillsborough pay? TBARTA really seems to be simply doing something to be seen to do something.

A pipeline may be an asset, but a thin, expensive straw is not necessarily worth it. (And the second paragraph really makes us wonder what HART is thinking. There is nothing in any of TBARTA’s plans that would make anyone think people will use the bus to come to Tampa to “shop and dine” unless absolutely necessary.)

The TBARTA Board’s bad case of indecision probably developed because the plans are all quite bad.

It seems that Pasco is playing tee ball because that is hardly ambitious. Wasteful, but not ambitious. And maybe Pasco should actually show interest in some decent planning and transit in Pasco County before trying to spend other people’s money.

As we have noted many times, we see no reason to spend much money on TBARTA’s ideas. The benefits of any TBARTA plan do not justify the expense. There is already express bus (with bus on shoulder when needed) service from St. Pete to Tampa. Pasco can be served by a simple, normal express bus service. It is time to move on to real transit, arterial, real BRT and rail, proper bus systems, and getting proper funding for our local agencies that complies with State law. TBARTA can decide to be useful or just be ignored.

Moving on to South County:

We are resigned to Big Bend Road not being safe for bicyclists and pedestrians (and, really, probably not for motorists either), especially to cross the street or the numerous curb cuts. As we have said before, the design of the entire surrounding area (here) is antithetical to pedestrian and bicycle use. The best the County can reasonably expect to do is build essentially a bike/pedestrian bypass to get people away from the road (though there is no way to avoid the curb cuts and distracted, angry drivers using them), but even that is of limited utility because people are not going to walk or bike in large numbers around the entirely car-centric, sprawling mess in the area.

We applaud the intention, but, unless the County is prepared to rebuild the whole road and change the planning radically (or a major project that is completely out of character for the area is built), any change will likely be an incremental improvement.


— High Speed Rail

There was an article in the Times regarding whether Florida could get high speed rail from the proposed infrastructure bill. It is odd because as the article mentions:

We are not really clear about the Federal funding of a private company idea.

Then again, maybe the State and its strange requirements will keep Tampa isolated from the Brightline. Brightline’s expansion came up in a separate Times editorial, sort of:

We are still not sure what that footing would entail? PPP? Loan? What?

Aside: while we are all for high-speed rail done properly, we have doubts about the government paying for a train from downtown Tampa to Orlando’s airport. If a private company wants to do that, fine. But we do not favor creating a supply to Orlando’s airport that neither supplies our airport nor connects Tampa to Orlando proper. The fact that previous local officials in the Tampa Bay area did not advocate properly when the first HSR ideas were being prepared is no reason to make the mistake again.

In any event, if and when an infrastructure bill passes, we will see what is in it.


Brandon – Not Quite

There was news about a relatively large project in Brandon:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This is a rendering from 2019:

From the Times – click on picture for article

URBN Tampa Bay’s had this to say:

We agree. The project should have connected/created the Brandon grid. Moreover, while we like the commercial, the way it is arranged does is not a natural corridor. In fact, right now, the commercial street dead ends at the east end of the property (though there is separate land that could one day be developed by someone). Moreover, there is no natural north-south commercial corridor. Nor does there seem to be land set aside for any expansion or more intense development.

In other words, despite the branding, this is not a downtown or even a simulated downtown. It is a street with commercial on it that does not connect to anything and with some apartments around it. It may be a nice street and the commercial may be built nicely, but, as it is planned now, that is all it is.


West Tampa – Cigar Factories

There was a bit of news regarding cigar factories this week.

First, you may remember a the controversy over the Santaella Cigar Factory’s renovation work (see here and here, and a related item regarding the Pendez & Alvarez factory here). We never met the main character in the stories so we cannot say whether it is an accurate depiction, but let’s just say that the articles in the Times made it seem unlikely that he had studied the collected works of Dale Carnegie. In any event,

As with most legal issues, we are not going to opine about the case or try to sort out the facts, but it is interesting. And, as noted above, the Santaella work generated opposition, so there are likely many who would like to see some change.

That brings us to news about another cigar factory:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

It may not be perfect, but, from what we can see, it looks like a pretty nice project.

The bottom line is that the cigar factories are community assets. We would like them renovated properly and put to good use. Who does it is not really our concern.


Tampa Heights – 209 East Oak

There was news about a new proposal in Tampa Heights. Per URBN Tampa Bay:

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

This is URBN Tampa Bay’s take:

We generally agree. In that location, Florida should definitely be the focus of commercial, though a public-ish space like a “clubhouse” on Florida is better than just apartments, even walk-ups. (though we agree that the ground floor apartments should be walk-ups) Additionally, we like having some commercial on Seventh.

Speaking of Florida, we are curious about the reasoning behind putting transformers in the middle of the Florida façade. If it is absolutely necessary for some reason, then so be it (and that reason should be examined closely), but it seems unusual.

More broadly, from what we have seen so far, we like proposal overall. We think it has to potential to help push the area along. In fact, we are surprised it has taken so long to bring more projects to this area. We actually would like to see denser development there.


Hyde Park – No

URBN Tampa Bay also noted this:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

This is Hyde Park, not Riverview (and even there it would be bad design). We do not care if the use is a bank, but it needs to be a properly designed bank.


USF Area – Moffitt

The expansion of the main Moffitt campus has reached a milestone:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

As we always say: we are glad this area has Moffitt, but we wish we did not need it.


South Tampa – Altura

You may remember that Altura is a condo project just north of Bay to Bay a block off of Bayshore.

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This project does not ignore its west façade as much as some other recent projects. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

There was an interesting article in the Times regarding taxes in Florida.

Of course, we know that Florida is a low tax state, but we also know that is not the end of the discussion.

The article included this interesting chart:

From the Times – click on picture for article

It is interesting that the average income in Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia is higher than Florida and that, in many higher tax states, people still take home more money than Floridians. Moreover, based on the description, the numbers do not include the “fees” that Florida governments use to make up for the lack of taxes and they do not seem to include the cost to residents of the lack of services.

As usual, there is news from the housing sector.

It seems to us this is not a healthy situation long term. Nor is this:

Second homes and profits from flipping are fine, but having a large portion of the population frozen out of the market is not.


Economic Development – Warehouses

For any government entity that is tempted to subsidize or give incentives to a warehouse, just a friendly reminder:


Airport – Odds and Ends

As we discussed last week, Breeze began service on May 27 with a flight from Tampa to Charleston. (for more background see here and here) Because we were not sure of the routes last week, we thought we would just put the route map.

From Breeze Airways – click on picture for website

It will be interesting to see how they expand in Tampa.

Meanwhile, there was another airport development:

The base is an indication that Frontier plans to focus on development in Tampa.


Port – Cruises

We have been covering the issue of when cruises could restart for a while. This week there is interesting news:

Those are good signs, though there still is this:

It just makes us think of this:


St. Pete – Trop Land

Last week, we agreed with St. Pete mayoral candidates that the next mayor should deal with the developer selection for the Trop land. Not that we thought that would actually happen.

Setting aside that we think there are only one or two proposals that really fit, we still think it should be left for the next administration, regardless of the Rays. They have had a long time to propose something for that land if they really wanted to be there.

Les actualités de Rays de cette semaine sont ici, ici, ici, ici et ici. Et le grand article ici. Et vous Stu? Montrez-nous l’argent.

Et ici. (mettez 514 à la place)


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

As we discussed recently, the streetcar needs to find some spare change to keep functioning from free. The free transit idea is not a new one or isolated to Tampa. For instance,

Admittedly, it is a short pilot project, but it will be interesting to see how it goes. You can read more here.

Here are some links to government resources:

Florida Health, Hillsborough (where you can get some vaccine info)

Florida Vaccine Registration (works for Hillsborough but not some other counties)

This week we have a couple of nice shots from Eagle 8 WFLA:

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet


Tampasphere

As we have discussed previously, TBARTA has a “BRT” plan.

Last week, we got an idea of just how weak it is.

Let’s drill a little deeper:

(note, this is “job accessibility” not ridership, connections to other activity centers, etc.)

Scenario B has no rail and no “BRT” plan. Scenario C appears to have the “BRT” plan (“regional rapid transit” is the TBARTA rebranding effort). The increase in access is around 15%. That is all you need to know about TBARTA’s $100-300 million plans. (HART’s budget for 2021 is $151,114,097.) However, Scenario D adds rail and makes logical investments in real transit and basically triples access (and with properly executed TOD it could go even higher).

We have been saying for years that the TBARTA plans are lack value (and, really, sense), and this report supports that point.

It is not really news that proper transit systems need a solid bus feeder system. And, with any transit, you need frequency and reliability. The real news is how poor TBARTA’s plan is and how much having a proper, real transit system with proper bus network (but it seems no “regional rapid transit” aka “BRT” plan) increases accessibility.


— The Old, New Smaller, Still Expensive Plan

That brings us back to TBARTA’s attempts to tweak its plan. Having realized that its “BRT” plan was not very good, TBARTA looked into a very expensive version of an express bus (rather than just running an express bus). Now,

First, we do not know the reason why the Board lacked a quorum, but, barring an unusual coincidence of emergencies, it is odd that a regional agency has a major decision to make and lacks a quorum. In any event,

For what this newest idea provides (and, really, all the previous iterations), $90 million is too much. But beyond that, why does Hillsborough only have three stations? What kind of spine has only three stations in the biggest (by far) county in the region with the longest segment of the line going through the biggest city? Clearly TBARTA has abandoned the spine idea. And given that, what is the purpose of this plan and why should Hillsborough pay? TBARTA really seems to be simply doing something to be seen to do something.

A pipeline may be an asset, but a thin, expensive straw is not necessarily worth it. (And the second paragraph really makes us wonder what HART is thinking. There is nothing in any of TBARTA’s plans that would make anyone think people will use the bus to come to Tampa to “shop and dine” unless absolutely necessary.)

The TBARTA Board’s bad case of indecision probably developed because the plans are all quite bad.

It seems that Pasco is playing tee ball because that is hardly ambitious. Wasteful, but not ambitious. And maybe Pasco should actually show interest in some decent planning and transit in Pasco County before trying to spend other people’s money.

As we have noted many times, we see no reason to spend much money on TBARTA’s ideas. The benefits of any TBARTA plan do not justify the expense. There is already express bus (with bus on shoulder when needed) service from St. Pete to Tampa. Pasco can be served by a simple, normal express bus service. It is time to move on to real transit, arterial, real BRT and rail, proper bus systems, and getting proper funding for our local agencies that complies with State law. TBARTA can decide to be useful or just be ignored.

Moving on to South County:

We are resigned to Big Bend Road not being safe for bicyclists and pedestrians (and, really, probably not for motorists either), especially to cross the street or the numerous curb cuts. As we have said before, the design of the entire surrounding area (here) is antithetical to pedestrian and bicycle use. The best the County can reasonably expect to do is build essentially a bike/pedestrian bypass to get people away from the road (though there is no way to avoid the curb cuts and distracted, angry drivers using them), but even that is of limited utility because people are not going to walk or bike in large numbers around the entirely car-centric, sprawling mess in the area.

We applaud the intention, but, unless the County is prepared to rebuild the whole road and change the planning radically (or a major project that is completely out of character for the area is built), any change will likely be an incremental improvement.


— High Speed Rail

There was an article in the Times regarding whether Florida could get high speed rail from the proposed infrastructure bill. It is odd because as the article mentions:

We are not really clear about the Federal funding of a private company idea.

Then again, maybe the State and its strange requirements will keep Tampa isolated from the Brightline. Brightline’s expansion came up in a separate Times editorial, sort of:

We are still not sure what that footing would entail? PPP? Loan? What?

Aside: while we are all for high-speed rail done properly, we have doubts about the government paying for a train from downtown Tampa to Orlando’s airport. If a private company wants to do that, fine. But we do not favor creating a supply to Orlando’s airport that neither supplies our airport nor connects Tampa to Orlando proper. The fact that previous local officials in the Tampa Bay area did not advocate properly when the first HSR ideas were being prepared is no reason to make the mistake again.

In any event, if and when an infrastructure bill passes, we will see what is in it.


Brandon – Not Quite

There was news about a relatively large project in Brandon:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This is a rendering from 2019:

From the Times – click on picture for article

URBN Tampa Bay’s had this to say:

We agree. The project should have connected/created the Brandon grid. Moreover, while we like the commercial, the way it is arranged does is not a natural corridor. In fact, right now, the commercial street dead ends at the east end of the property (though there is separate land that could one day be developed by someone). Moreover, there is no natural north-south commercial corridor. Nor does there seem to be land set aside for any expansion or more intense development.

In other words, despite the branding, this is not a downtown or even a simulated downtown. It is a street with commercial on it that does not connect to anything and with some apartments around it. It may be a nice street and the commercial may be built nicely, but, as it is planned now, that is all it is.


West Tampa – Cigar Factories

There was a bit of news regarding cigar factories this week.

First, you may remember a the controversy over the Santaella Cigar Factory’s renovation work (see here and here, and a related item regarding the Pendez & Alvarez factory here). We never met the main character in the stories so we cannot say whether it is an accurate depiction, but let’s just say that the articles in the Times made it seem unlikely that he had studied the collected works of Dale Carnegie. In any event,

As with most legal issues, we are not going to opine about the case or try to sort out the facts, but it is interesting. And, as noted above, the Santaella work generated opposition, so there are likely many who would like to see some change.

That brings us to news about another cigar factory:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

It may not be perfect, but, from what we can see, it looks like a pretty nice project.

The bottom line is that the cigar factories are community assets. We would like them renovated properly and put to good use. Who does it is not really our concern.


Tampa Heights – 209 East Oak

There was news about a new proposal in Tampa Heights. Per URBN Tampa Bay:

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

This is URBN Tampa Bay’s take:

We generally agree. In that location, Florida should definitely be the focus of commercial, though a public-ish space like a “clubhouse” on Florida is better than just apartments, even walk-ups. (though we agree that the ground floor apartments should be walk-ups) Additionally, we like having some commercial on Seventh.

Speaking of Florida, we are curious about the reasoning behind putting transformers in the middle of the Florida façade. If it is absolutely necessary for some reason, then so be it (and that reason should be examined closely), but it seems unusual.

More broadly, from what we have seen so far, we like proposal overall. We think it has to potential to help push the area along. In fact, we are surprised it has taken so long to bring more projects to this area. We actually would like to see denser development there.


Hyde Park – No

URBN Tampa Bay also noted this:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

This is Hyde Park, not Riverview (and even there it would be bad design). We do not care if the use is a bank, but it needs to be a properly designed bank.


USF Area – Moffitt

The expansion of the main Moffitt campus has reached a milestone:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

As we always say: we are glad this area has Moffitt, but we wish we did not need it.


South Tampa – Altura

You may remember that Altura is a condo project just north of Bay to Bay a block off of Bayshore.

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This project does not ignore its west façade as much as some other recent projects. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

There was an interesting article in the Times regarding taxes in Florida.

Of course, we know that Florida is a low tax state, but we also know that is not the end of the discussion.

The article included this interesting chart:

From the Times – click on picture for article

It is interesting that the average income in Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia is higher than Florida and that, in many higher tax states, people still take home more money than Floridians. Moreover, based on the description, the numbers do not include the “fees” that Florida governments use to make up for the lack of taxes and they do not seem to include the cost to residents of the lack of services.

As usual, there is news from the housing sector.

It seems to us this is not a healthy situation long term. Nor is this:

Second homes and profits from flipping are fine, but having a large portion of the population frozen out of the market is not.


Economic Development – Warehouses

For any government entity that is tempted to subsidize or give incentives to a warehouse, just a friendly reminder:


Airport – Odds and Ends

As we discussed last week, Breeze began service on May 27 with a flight from Tampa to Charleston. (for more background see here and here) Because we were not sure of the routes last week, we thought we would just put the route map.

From Breeze Airways – click on picture for website

It will be interesting to see how they expand in Tampa.

Meanwhile, there was another airport development:

The base is an indication that Frontier plans to focus on development in Tampa.


Port – Cruises

We have been covering the issue of when cruises could restart for a while. This week there is interesting news:

Those are good signs, though there still is this:

It just makes us think of this:


St. Pete – Trop Land

Last week, we agreed with St. Pete mayoral candidates that the next mayor should deal with the developer selection for the Trop land. Not that we thought that would actually happen.

Setting aside that we think there are only one or two proposals that really fit, we still think it should be left for the next administration, regardless of the Rays. They have had a long time to propose something for that land if they really wanted to be there.

Les actualités de Rays de cette semaine sont ici, ici, ici, ici et ici. Et le grand article ici. Et vous Stu? Montrez-nous l’argent.

Et ici. (mettez 514 à la place)


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

As we discussed recently, the streetcar needs to find some spare change to keep functioning from free. The free transit idea is not a new one or isolated to Tampa. For instance,

Admittedly, it is a short pilot project, but it will be interesting to see how it goes. You can read more here.

Here are some links to government resources:

Florida Health, Hillsborough (where you can get some vaccine info)

Florida Vaccine Registration (works for Hillsborough but not some other counties)

This week we have a couple of nice shots from Eagle 8 WFLA:

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet


Tampasphere

As we have discussed previously, TBARTA has a “BRT” plan.

Last week, we got an idea of just how weak it is.

Let’s drill a little deeper:

(note, this is “job accessibility” not ridership, connections to other activity centers, etc.)

Scenario B has no rail and no “BRT” plan. Scenario C appears to have the “BRT” plan (“regional rapid transit” is the TBARTA rebranding effort). The increase in access is around 15%. That is all you need to know about TBARTA’s $100-300 million plans. (HART’s budget for 2021 is $151,114,097.) However, Scenario D adds rail and makes logical investments in real transit and basically triples access (and with properly executed TOD it could go even higher).

We have been saying for years that the TBARTA plans are lack value (and, really, sense), and this report supports that point.

It is not really news that proper transit systems need a solid bus feeder system. And, with any transit, you need frequency and reliability. The real news is how poor TBARTA’s plan is and how much having a proper, real transit system with proper bus network (but it seems no “regional rapid transit” aka “BRT” plan) increases accessibility.


— The Old, New Smaller, Still Expensive Plan

That brings us back to TBARTA’s attempts to tweak its plan. Having realized that its “BRT” plan was not very good, TBARTA looked into a very expensive version of an express bus (rather than just running an express bus). Now,

First, we do not know the reason why the Board lacked a quorum, but, barring an unusual coincidence of emergencies, it is odd that a regional agency has a major decision to make and lacks a quorum. In any event,

For what this newest idea provides (and, really, all the previous iterations), $90 million is too much. But beyond that, why does Hillsborough only have three stations? What kind of spine has only three stations in the biggest (by far) county in the region with the longest segment of the line going through the biggest city? Clearly TBARTA has abandoned the spine idea. And given that, what is the purpose of this plan and why should Hillsborough pay? TBARTA really seems to be simply doing something to be seen to do something.

A pipeline may be an asset, but a thin, expensive straw is not necessarily worth it. (And the second paragraph really makes us wonder what HART is thinking. There is nothing in any of TBARTA’s plans that would make anyone think people will use the bus to come to Tampa to “shop and dine” unless absolutely necessary.)

The TBARTA Board’s bad case of indecision probably developed because the plans are all quite bad.

It seems that Pasco is playing tee ball because that is hardly ambitious. Wasteful, but not ambitious. And maybe Pasco should actually show interest in some decent planning and transit in Pasco County before trying to spend other people’s money.

As we have noted many times, we see no reason to spend much money on TBARTA’s ideas. The benefits of any TBARTA plan do not justify the expense. There is already express bus (with bus on shoulder when needed) service from St. Pete to Tampa. Pasco can be served by a simple, normal express bus service. It is time to move on to real transit, arterial, real BRT and rail, proper bus systems, and getting proper funding for our local agencies that complies with State law. TBARTA can decide to be useful or just be ignored.

Moving on to South County:

We are resigned to Big Bend Road not being safe for bicyclists and pedestrians (and, really, probably not for motorists either), especially to cross the street or the numerous curb cuts. As we have said before, the design of the entire surrounding area (here) is antithetical to pedestrian and bicycle use. The best the County can reasonably expect to do is build essentially a bike/pedestrian bypass to get people away from the road (though there is no way to avoid the curb cuts and distracted, angry drivers using them), but even that is of limited utility because people are not going to walk or bike in large numbers around the entirely car-centric, sprawling mess in the area.

We applaud the intention, but, unless the County is prepared to rebuild the whole road and change the planning radically (or a major project that is completely out of character for the area is built), any change will likely be an incremental improvement.


— High Speed Rail

There was an article in the Times regarding whether Florida could get high speed rail from the proposed infrastructure bill. It is odd because as the article mentions:

We are not really clear about the Federal funding of a private company idea.

Then again, maybe the State and its strange requirements will keep Tampa isolated from the Brightline. Brightline’s expansion came up in a separate Times editorial, sort of:

We are still not sure what that footing would entail? PPP? Loan? What?

Aside: while we are all for high-speed rail done properly, we have doubts about the government paying for a train from downtown Tampa to Orlando’s airport. If a private company wants to do that, fine. But we do not favor creating a supply to Orlando’s airport that neither supplies our airport nor connects Tampa to Orlando proper. The fact that previous local officials in the Tampa Bay area did not advocate properly when the first HSR ideas were being prepared is no reason to make the mistake again.

In any event, if and when an infrastructure bill passes, we will see what is in it.


Brandon – Not Quite

There was news about a relatively large project in Brandon:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This is a rendering from 2019:

From the Times – click on picture for article

URBN Tampa Bay’s had this to say:

We agree. The project should have connected/created the Brandon grid. Moreover, while we like the commercial, the way it is arranged does is not a natural corridor. In fact, right now, the commercial street dead ends at the east end of the property (though there is separate land that could one day be developed by someone). Moreover, there is no natural north-south commercial corridor. Nor does there seem to be land set aside for any expansion or more intense development.

In other words, despite the branding, this is not a downtown or even a simulated downtown. It is a street with commercial on it that does not connect to anything and with some apartments around it. It may be a nice street and the commercial may be built nicely, but, as it is planned now, that is all it is.


West Tampa – Cigar Factories

There was a bit of news regarding cigar factories this week.

First, you may remember a the controversy over the Santaella Cigar Factory’s renovation work (see here and here, and a related item regarding the Pendez & Alvarez factory here). We never met the main character in the stories so we cannot say whether it is an accurate depiction, but let’s just say that the articles in the Times made it seem unlikely that he had studied the collected works of Dale Carnegie. In any event,

As with most legal issues, we are not going to opine about the case or try to sort out the facts, but it is interesting. And, as noted above, the Santaella work generated opposition, so there are likely many who would like to see some change.

That brings us to news about another cigar factory:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

It may not be perfect, but, from what we can see, it looks like a pretty nice project.

The bottom line is that the cigar factories are community assets. We would like them renovated properly and put to good use. Who does it is not really our concern.


Tampa Heights – 209 East Oak

There was news about a new proposal in Tampa Heights. Per URBN Tampa Bay:

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

This is URBN Tampa Bay’s take:

We generally agree. In that location, Florida should definitely be the focus of commercial, though a public-ish space like a “clubhouse” on Florida is better than just apartments, even walk-ups. (though we agree that the ground floor apartments should be walk-ups) Additionally, we like having some commercial on Seventh.

Speaking of Florida, we are curious about the reasoning behind putting transformers in the middle of the Florida façade. If it is absolutely necessary for some reason, then so be it (and that reason should be examined closely), but it seems unusual.

More broadly, from what we have seen so far, we like proposal overall. We think it has to potential to help push the area along. In fact, we are surprised it has taken so long to bring more projects to this area. We actually would like to see denser development there.


Hyde Park – No

URBN Tampa Bay also noted this:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

This is Hyde Park, not Riverview (and even there it would be bad design). We do not care if the use is a bank, but it needs to be a properly designed bank.


USF Area – Moffitt

The expansion of the main Moffitt campus has reached a milestone:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

As we always say: we are glad this area has Moffitt, but we wish we did not need it.


South Tampa – Altura

You may remember that Altura is a condo project just north of Bay to Bay a block off of Bayshore.

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This project does not ignore its west façade as much as some other recent projects. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

There was an interesting article in the Times regarding taxes in Florida.

Of course, we know that Florida is a low tax state, but we also know that is not the end of the discussion.

The article included this interesting chart:

From the Times – click on picture for article

It is interesting that the average income in Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia is higher than Florida and that, in many higher tax states, people still take home more money than Floridians. Moreover, based on the description, the numbers do not include the “fees” that Florida governments use to make up for the lack of taxes and they do not seem to include the cost to residents of the lack of services.

As usual, there is news from the housing sector.

It seems to us this is not a healthy situation long term. Nor is this:

Second homes and profits from flipping are fine, but having a large portion of the population frozen out of the market is not.


Economic Development – Warehouses

For any government entity that is tempted to subsidize or give incentives to a warehouse, just a friendly reminder:


Airport – Odds and Ends

As we discussed last week, Breeze began service on May 27 with a flight from Tampa to Charleston. (for more background see here and here) Because we were not sure of the routes last week, we thought we would just put the route map.

From Breeze Airways – click on picture for website

It will be interesting to see how they expand in Tampa.

Meanwhile, there was another airport development:

The base is an indication that Frontier plans to focus on development in Tampa.


Port – Cruises

We have been covering the issue of when cruises could restart for a while. This week there is interesting news:

Those are good signs, though there still is this:

It just makes us think of this:


St. Pete – Trop Land

Last week, we agreed with St. Pete mayoral candidates that the next mayor should deal with the developer selection for the Trop land. Not that we thought that would actually happen.

Setting aside that we think there are only one or two proposals that really fit, we still think it should be left for the next administration, regardless of the Rays. They have had a long time to propose something for that land if they really wanted to be there.

Les actualités de Rays de cette semaine sont ici, ici, ici, ici et ici. Et le grand article ici. Et vous Stu? Montrez-nous l’argent.

Et ici. (mettez 514 à la place)


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

As we discussed recently, the streetcar needs to find some spare change to keep functioning from free. The free transit idea is not a new one or isolated to Tampa. For instance,

Admittedly, it is a short pilot project, but it will be interesting to see how it goes. You can read more here.

Here are some links to government resources:

Florida Health, Hillsborough (where you can get some vaccine info)

Florida Vaccine Registration (works for Hillsborough but not some other counties)

This week we have a couple of nice shots from Eagle 8 WFLA:

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet


Tampasphere

As we have discussed previously, TBARTA has a “BRT” plan.

Last week, we got an idea of just how weak it is.

Let’s drill a little deeper:

(note, this is “job accessibility” not ridership, connections to other activity centers, etc.)

Scenario B has no rail and no “BRT” plan. Scenario C appears to have the “BRT” plan (“regional rapid transit” is the TBARTA rebranding effort). The increase in access is around 15%. That is all you need to know about TBARTA’s $100-300 million plans. (HART’s budget for 2021 is $151,114,097.) However, Scenario D adds rail and makes logical investments in real transit and basically triples access (and with properly executed TOD it could go even higher).

We have been saying for years that the TBARTA plans are lack value (and, really, sense), and this report supports that point.

It is not really news that proper transit systems need a solid bus feeder system. And, with any transit, you need frequency and reliability. The real news is how poor TBARTA’s plan is and how much having a proper, real transit system with proper bus network (but it seems no “regional rapid transit” aka “BRT” plan) increases accessibility.


— The Old, New Smaller, Still Expensive Plan

That brings us back to TBARTA’s attempts to tweak its plan. Having realized that its “BRT” plan was not very good, TBARTA looked into a very expensive version of an express bus (rather than just running an express bus). Now,

First, we do not know the reason why the Board lacked a quorum, but, barring an unusual coincidence of emergencies, it is odd that a regional agency has a major decision to make and lacks a quorum. In any event,

For what this newest idea provides (and, really, all the previous iterations), $90 million is too much. But beyond that, why does Hillsborough only have three stations? What kind of spine has only three stations in the biggest (by far) county in the region with the longest segment of the line going through the biggest city? Clearly TBARTA has abandoned the spine idea. And given that, what is the purpose of this plan and why should Hillsborough pay? TBARTA really seems to be simply doing something to be seen to do something.

A pipeline may be an asset, but a thin, expensive straw is not necessarily worth it. (And the second paragraph really makes us wonder what HART is thinking. There is nothing in any of TBARTA’s plans that would make anyone think people will use the bus to come to Tampa to “shop and dine” unless absolutely necessary.)

The TBARTA Board’s bad case of indecision probably developed because the plans are all quite bad.

It seems that Pasco is playing tee ball because that is hardly ambitious. Wasteful, but not ambitious. And maybe Pasco should actually show interest in some decent planning and transit in Pasco County before trying to spend other people’s money.

As we have noted many times, we see no reason to spend much money on TBARTA’s ideas. The benefits of any TBARTA plan do not justify the expense. There is already express bus (with bus on shoulder when needed) service from St. Pete to Tampa. Pasco can be served by a simple, normal express bus service. It is time to move on to real transit, arterial, real BRT and rail, proper bus systems, and getting proper funding for our local agencies that complies with State law. TBARTA can decide to be useful or just be ignored.

Moving on to South County:

We are resigned to Big Bend Road not being safe for bicyclists and pedestrians (and, really, probably not for motorists either), especially to cross the street or the numerous curb cuts. As we have said before, the design of the entire surrounding area (here) is antithetical to pedestrian and bicycle use. The best the County can reasonably expect to do is build essentially a bike/pedestrian bypass to get people away from the road (though there is no way to avoid the curb cuts and distracted, angry drivers using them), but even that is of limited utility because people are not going to walk or bike in large numbers around the entirely car-centric, sprawling mess in the area.

We applaud the intention, but, unless the County is prepared to rebuild the whole road and change the planning radically (or a major project that is completely out of character for the area is built), any change will likely be an incremental improvement.


— High Speed Rail

There was an article in the Times regarding whether Florida could get high speed rail from the proposed infrastructure bill. It is odd because as the article mentions:

We are not really clear about the Federal funding of a private company idea.

Then again, maybe the State and its strange requirements will keep Tampa isolated from the Brightline. Brightline’s expansion came up in a separate Times editorial, sort of:

We are still not sure what that footing would entail? PPP? Loan? What?

Aside: while we are all for high-speed rail done properly, we have doubts about the government paying for a train from downtown Tampa to Orlando’s airport. If a private company wants to do that, fine. But we do not favor creating a supply to Orlando’s airport that neither supplies our airport nor connects Tampa to Orlando proper. The fact that previous local officials in the Tampa Bay area did not advocate properly when the first HSR ideas were being prepared is no reason to make the mistake again.

In any event, if and when an infrastructure bill passes, we will see what is in it.


Brandon – Not Quite

There was news about a relatively large project in Brandon:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This is a rendering from 2019:

From the Times – click on picture for article

URBN Tampa Bay’s had this to say:

We agree. The project should have connected/created the Brandon grid. Moreover, while we like the commercial, the way it is arranged does is not a natural corridor. In fact, right now, the commercial street dead ends at the east end of the property (though there is separate land that could one day be developed by someone). Moreover, there is no natural north-south commercial corridor. Nor does there seem to be land set aside for any expansion or more intense development.

In other words, despite the branding, this is not a downtown or even a simulated downtown. It is a street with commercial on it that does not connect to anything and with some apartments around it. It may be a nice street and the commercial may be built nicely, but, as it is planned now, that is all it is.


West Tampa – Cigar Factories

There was a bit of news regarding cigar factories this week.

First, you may remember a the controversy over the Santaella Cigar Factory’s renovation work (see here and here, and a related item regarding the Pendez & Alvarez factory here). We never met the main character in the stories so we cannot say whether it is an accurate depiction, but let’s just say that the articles in the Times made it seem unlikely that he had studied the collected works of Dale Carnegie. In any event,

As with most legal issues, we are not going to opine about the case or try to sort out the facts, but it is interesting. And, as noted above, the Santaella work generated opposition, so there are likely many who would like to see some change.

That brings us to news about another cigar factory:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

It may not be perfect, but, from what we can see, it looks like a pretty nice project.

The bottom line is that the cigar factories are community assets. We would like them renovated properly and put to good use. Who does it is not really our concern.


Tampa Heights – 209 East Oak

There was news about a new proposal in Tampa Heights. Per URBN Tampa Bay:

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

This is URBN Tampa Bay’s take:

We generally agree. In that location, Florida should definitely be the focus of commercial, though a public-ish space like a “clubhouse” on Florida is better than just apartments, even walk-ups. (though we agree that the ground floor apartments should be walk-ups) Additionally, we like having some commercial on Seventh.

Speaking of Florida, we are curious about the reasoning behind putting transformers in the middle of the Florida façade. If it is absolutely necessary for some reason, then so be it (and that reason should be examined closely), but it seems unusual.

More broadly, from what we have seen so far, we like proposal overall. We think it has to potential to help push the area along. In fact, we are surprised it has taken so long to bring more projects to this area. We actually would like to see denser development there.


Hyde Park – No

URBN Tampa Bay also noted this:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

This is Hyde Park, not Riverview (and even there it would be bad design). We do not care if the use is a bank, but it needs to be a properly designed bank.


USF Area – Moffitt

The expansion of the main Moffitt campus has reached a milestone:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

As we always say: we are glad this area has Moffitt, but we wish we did not need it.


South Tampa – Altura

You may remember that Altura is a condo project just north of Bay to Bay a block off of Bayshore.

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This project does not ignore its west façade as much as some other recent projects. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

There was an interesting article in the Times regarding taxes in Florida.

Of course, we know that Florida is a low tax state, but we also know that is not the end of the discussion.

The article included this interesting chart:

From the Times – click on picture for article

It is interesting that the average income in Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia is higher than Florida and that, in many higher tax states, people still take home more money than Floridians. Moreover, based on the description, the numbers do not include the “fees” that Florida governments use to make up for the lack of taxes and they do not seem to include the cost to residents of the lack of services.

As usual, there is news from the housing sector.

It seems to us this is not a healthy situation long term. Nor is this:

Second homes and profits from flipping are fine, but having a large portion of the population frozen out of the market is not.


Economic Development – Warehouses

For any government entity that is tempted to subsidize or give incentives to a warehouse, just a friendly reminder:


Airport – Odds and Ends

As we discussed last week, Breeze began service on May 27 with a flight from Tampa to Charleston. (for more background see here and here) Because we were not sure of the routes last week, we thought we would just put the route map.

From Breeze Airways – click on picture for website

It will be interesting to see how they expand in Tampa.

Meanwhile, there was another airport development:

The base is an indication that Frontier plans to focus on development in Tampa.


Port – Cruises

We have been covering the issue of when cruises could restart for a while. This week there is interesting news:

Those are good signs, though there still is this:

It just makes us think of this:


St. Pete – Trop Land

Last week, we agreed with St. Pete mayoral candidates that the next mayor should deal with the developer selection for the Trop land. Not that we thought that would actually happen.

Setting aside that we think there are only one or two proposals that really fit, we still think it should be left for the next administration, regardless of the Rays. They have had a long time to propose something for that land if they really wanted to be there.

Les actualités de Rays de cette semaine sont ici, ici, ici, ici et ici. Et le grand article ici. Et vous Stu? Montrez-nous l’argent.

Et ici. (mettez 514 à la place)


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

As we discussed recently, the streetcar needs to find some spare change to keep functioning from free. The free transit idea is not a new one or isolated to Tampa. For instance,

Admittedly, it is a short pilot project, but it will be interesting to see how it goes. You can read more here.

Here are some links to government resources:

Florida Health, Hillsborough (where you can get some vaccine info)

Florida Vaccine Registration (works for Hillsborough but not some other counties)

This week we have a couple of nice shots from Eagle 8 WFLA:

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet


Tampasphere

As we have discussed previously, TBARTA has a “BRT” plan.

Last week, we got an idea of just how weak it is.

Let’s drill a little deeper:

(note, this is “job accessibility” not ridership, connections to other activity centers, etc.)

Scenario B has no rail and no “BRT” plan. Scenario C appears to have the “BRT” plan (“regional rapid transit” is the TBARTA rebranding effort). The increase in access is around 15%. That is all you need to know about TBARTA’s $100-300 million plans. (HART’s budget for 2021 is $151,114,097.) However, Scenario D adds rail and makes logical investments in real transit and basically triples access (and with properly executed TOD it could go even higher).

We have been saying for years that the TBARTA plans are lack value (and, really, sense), and this report supports that point.

It is not really news that proper transit systems need a solid bus feeder system. And, with any transit, you need frequency and reliability. The real news is how poor TBARTA’s plan is and how much having a proper, real transit system with proper bus network (but it seems no “regional rapid transit” aka “BRT” plan) increases accessibility.


— The Old, New Smaller, Still Expensive Plan

That brings us back to TBARTA’s attempts to tweak its plan. Having realized that its “BRT” plan was not very good, TBARTA looked into a very expensive version of an express bus (rather than just running an express bus). Now,

First, we do not know the reason why the Board lacked a quorum, but, barring an unusual coincidence of emergencies, it is odd that a regional agency has a major decision to make and lacks a quorum. In any event,

For what this newest idea provides (and, really, all the previous iterations), $90 million is too much. But beyond that, why does Hillsborough only have three stations? What kind of spine has only three stations in the biggest (by far) county in the region with the longest segment of the line going through the biggest city? Clearly TBARTA has abandoned the spine idea. And given that, what is the purpose of this plan and why should Hillsborough pay? TBARTA really seems to be simply doing something to be seen to do something.

A pipeline may be an asset, but a thin, expensive straw is not necessarily worth it. (And the second paragraph really makes us wonder what HART is thinking. There is nothing in any of TBARTA’s plans that would make anyone think people will use the bus to come to Tampa to “shop and dine” unless absolutely necessary.)

The TBARTA Board’s bad case of indecision probably developed because the plans are all quite bad.

It seems that Pasco is playing tee ball because that is hardly ambitious. Wasteful, but not ambitious. And maybe Pasco should actually show interest in some decent planning and transit in Pasco County before trying to spend other people’s money.

As we have noted many times, we see no reason to spend much money on TBARTA’s ideas. The benefits of any TBARTA plan do not justify the expense. There is already express bus (with bus on shoulder when needed) service from St. Pete to Tampa. Pasco can be served by a simple, normal express bus service. It is time to move on to real transit, arterial, real BRT and rail, proper bus systems, and getting proper funding for our local agencies that complies with State law. TBARTA can decide to be useful or just be ignored.

Moving on to South County:

We are resigned to Big Bend Road not being safe for bicyclists and pedestrians (and, really, probably not for motorists either), especially to cross the street or the numerous curb cuts. As we have said before, the design of the entire surrounding area (here) is antithetical to pedestrian and bicycle use. The best the County can reasonably expect to do is build essentially a bike/pedestrian bypass to get people away from the road (though there is no way to avoid the curb cuts and distracted, angry drivers using them), but even that is of limited utility because people are not going to walk or bike in large numbers around the entirely car-centric, sprawling mess in the area.

We applaud the intention, but, unless the County is prepared to rebuild the whole road and change the planning radically (or a major project that is completely out of character for the area is built), any change will likely be an incremental improvement.


— High Speed Rail

There was an article in the Times regarding whether Florida could get high speed rail from the proposed infrastructure bill. It is odd because as the article mentions:

We are not really clear about the Federal funding of a private company idea.

Then again, maybe the State and its strange requirements will keep Tampa isolated from the Brightline. Brightline’s expansion came up in a separate Times editorial, sort of:

We are still not sure what that footing would entail? PPP? Loan? What?

Aside: while we are all for high-speed rail done properly, we have doubts about the government paying for a train from downtown Tampa to Orlando’s airport. If a private company wants to do that, fine. But we do not favor creating a supply to Orlando’s airport that neither supplies our airport nor connects Tampa to Orlando proper. The fact that previous local officials in the Tampa Bay area did not advocate properly when the first HSR ideas were being prepared is no reason to make the mistake again.

In any event, if and when an infrastructure bill passes, we will see what is in it.


Brandon – Not Quite

There was news about a relatively large project in Brandon:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This is a rendering from 2019:

From the Times – click on picture for article

URBN Tampa Bay’s had this to say:

We agree. The project should have connected/created the Brandon grid. Moreover, while we like the commercial, the way it is arranged does is not a natural corridor. In fact, right now, the commercial street dead ends at the east end of the property (though there is separate land that could one day be developed by someone). Moreover, there is no natural north-south commercial corridor. Nor does there seem to be land set aside for any expansion or more intense development.

In other words, despite the branding, this is not a downtown or even a simulated downtown. It is a street with commercial on it that does not connect to anything and with some apartments around it. It may be a nice street and the commercial may be built nicely, but, as it is planned now, that is all it is.


West Tampa – Cigar Factories

There was a bit of news regarding cigar factories this week.

First, you may remember a the controversy over the Santaella Cigar Factory’s renovation work (see here and here, and a related item regarding the Pendez & Alvarez factory here). We never met the main character in the stories so we cannot say whether it is an accurate depiction, but let’s just say that the articles in the Times made it seem unlikely that he had studied the collected works of Dale Carnegie. In any event,

As with most legal issues, we are not going to opine about the case or try to sort out the facts, but it is interesting. And, as noted above, the Santaella work generated opposition, so there are likely many who would like to see some change.

That brings us to news about another cigar factory:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

It may not be perfect, but, from what we can see, it looks like a pretty nice project.

The bottom line is that the cigar factories are community assets. We would like them renovated properly and put to good use. Who does it is not really our concern.


Tampa Heights – 209 East Oak

There was news about a new proposal in Tampa Heights. Per URBN Tampa Bay:

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

This is URBN Tampa Bay’s take:

We generally agree. In that location, Florida should definitely be the focus of commercial, though a public-ish space like a “clubhouse” on Florida is better than just apartments, even walk-ups. (though we agree that the ground floor apartments should be walk-ups) Additionally, we like having some commercial on Seventh.

Speaking of Florida, we are curious about the reasoning behind putting transformers in the middle of the Florida façade. If it is absolutely necessary for some reason, then so be it (and that reason should be examined closely), but it seems unusual.

More broadly, from what we have seen so far, we like proposal overall. We think it has to potential to help push the area along. In fact, we are surprised it has taken so long to bring more projects to this area. We actually would like to see denser development there.


Hyde Park – No

URBN Tampa Bay also noted this:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

This is Hyde Park, not Riverview (and even there it would be bad design). We do not care if the use is a bank, but it needs to be a properly designed bank.


USF Area – Moffitt

The expansion of the main Moffitt campus has reached a milestone:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

As we always say: we are glad this area has Moffitt, but we wish we did not need it.


South Tampa – Altura

You may remember that Altura is a condo project just north of Bay to Bay a block off of Bayshore.

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This project does not ignore its west façade as much as some other recent projects. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

There was an interesting article in the Times regarding taxes in Florida.

Of course, we know that Florida is a low tax state, but we also know that is not the end of the discussion.

The article included this interesting chart:

From the Times – click on picture for article

It is interesting that the average income in Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia is higher than Florida and that, in many higher tax states, people still take home more money than Floridians. Moreover, based on the description, the numbers do not include the “fees” that Florida governments use to make up for the lack of taxes and they do not seem to include the cost to residents of the lack of services.

As usual, there is news from the housing sector.

It seems to us this is not a healthy situation long term. Nor is this:

Second homes and profits from flipping are fine, but having a large portion of the population frozen out of the market is not.


Economic Development – Warehouses

For any government entity that is tempted to subsidize or give incentives to a warehouse, just a friendly reminder:


Airport – Odds and Ends

As we discussed last week, Breeze began service on May 27 with a flight from Tampa to Charleston. (for more background see here and here) Because we were not sure of the routes last week, we thought we would just put the route map.

From Breeze Airways – click on picture for website

It will be interesting to see how they expand in Tampa.

Meanwhile, there was another airport development:

The base is an indication that Frontier plans to focus on development in Tampa.


Port – Cruises

We have been covering the issue of when cruises could restart for a while. This week there is interesting news:

Those are good signs, though there still is this:

It just makes us think of this:


St. Pete – Trop Land

Last week, we agreed with St. Pete mayoral candidates that the next mayor should deal with the developer selection for the Trop land. Not that we thought that would actually happen.

Setting aside that we think there are only one or two proposals that really fit, we still think it should be left for the next administration, regardless of the Rays. They have had a long time to propose something for that land if they really wanted to be there.

Les actualités de Rays de cette semaine sont ici, ici, ici, ici et ici. Et le grand article ici. Et vous Stu? Montrez-nous l’argent.

Et ici. (mettez 514 à la place)


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

As we discussed recently, the streetcar needs to find some spare change to keep functioning from free. The free transit idea is not a new one or isolated to Tampa. For instance,

Admittedly, it is a short pilot project, but it will be interesting to see how it goes. You can read more here.

Here are some links to government resources:

Florida Health, Hillsborough (where you can get some vaccine info)

Florida Vaccine Registration (works for Hillsborough but not some other counties)

This week we have a couple of nice shots from Eagle 8 WFLA:

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet


Tampasphere

As we have discussed previously, TBARTA has a “BRT” plan.

Last week, we got an idea of just how weak it is.

Let’s drill a little deeper:

(note, this is “job accessibility” not ridership, connections to other activity centers, etc.)

Scenario B has no rail and no “BRT” plan. Scenario C appears to have the “BRT” plan (“regional rapid transit” is the TBARTA rebranding effort). The increase in access is around 15%. That is all you need to know about TBARTA’s $100-300 million plans. (HART’s budget for 2021 is $151,114,097.) However, Scenario D adds rail and makes logical investments in real transit and basically triples access (and with properly executed TOD it could go even higher).

We have been saying for years that the TBARTA plans are lack value (and, really, sense), and this report supports that point.

It is not really news that proper transit systems need a solid bus feeder system. And, with any transit, you need frequency and reliability. The real news is how poor TBARTA’s plan is and how much having a proper, real transit system with proper bus network (but it seems no “regional rapid transit” aka “BRT” plan) increases accessibility.


— The Old, New Smaller, Still Expensive Plan

That brings us back to TBARTA’s attempts to tweak its plan. Having realized that its “BRT” plan was not very good, TBARTA looked into a very expensive version of an express bus (rather than just running an express bus). Now,

First, we do not know the reason why the Board lacked a quorum, but, barring an unusual coincidence of emergencies, it is odd that a regional agency has a major decision to make and lacks a quorum. In any event,

For what this newest idea provides (and, really, all the previous iterations), $90 million is too much. But beyond that, why does Hillsborough only have three stations? What kind of spine has only three stations in the biggest (by far) county in the region with the longest segment of the line going through the biggest city? Clearly TBARTA has abandoned the spine idea. And given that, what is the purpose of this plan and why should Hillsborough pay? TBARTA really seems to be simply doing something to be seen to do something.

A pipeline may be an asset, but a thin, expensive straw is not necessarily worth it. (And the second paragraph really makes us wonder what HART is thinking. There is nothing in any of TBARTA’s plans that would make anyone think people will use the bus to come to Tampa to “shop and dine” unless absolutely necessary.)

The TBARTA Board’s bad case of indecision probably developed because the plans are all quite bad.

It seems that Pasco is playing tee ball because that is hardly ambitious. Wasteful, but not ambitious. And maybe Pasco should actually show interest in some decent planning and transit in Pasco County before trying to spend other people’s money.

As we have noted many times, we see no reason to spend much money on TBARTA’s ideas. The benefits of any TBARTA plan do not justify the expense. There is already express bus (with bus on shoulder when needed) service from St. Pete to Tampa. Pasco can be served by a simple, normal express bus service. It is time to move on to real transit, arterial, real BRT and rail, proper bus systems, and getting proper funding for our local agencies that complies with State law. TBARTA can decide to be useful or just be ignored.

Moving on to South County:

We are resigned to Big Bend Road not being safe for bicyclists and pedestrians (and, really, probably not for motorists either), especially to cross the street or the numerous curb cuts. As we have said before, the design of the entire surrounding area (here) is antithetical to pedestrian and bicycle use. The best the County can reasonably expect to do is build essentially a bike/pedestrian bypass to get people away from the road (though there is no way to avoid the curb cuts and distracted, angry drivers using them), but even that is of limited utility because people are not going to walk or bike in large numbers around the entirely car-centric, sprawling mess in the area.

We applaud the intention, but, unless the County is prepared to rebuild the whole road and change the planning radically (or a major project that is completely out of character for the area is built), any change will likely be an incremental improvement.


— High Speed Rail

There was an article in the Times regarding whether Florida could get high speed rail from the proposed infrastructure bill. It is odd because as the article mentions:

We are not really clear about the Federal funding of a private company idea.

Then again, maybe the State and its strange requirements will keep Tampa isolated from the Brightline. Brightline’s expansion came up in a separate Times editorial, sort of:

We are still not sure what that footing would entail? PPP? Loan? What?

Aside: while we are all for high-speed rail done properly, we have doubts about the government paying for a train from downtown Tampa to Orlando’s airport. If a private company wants to do that, fine. But we do not favor creating a supply to Orlando’s airport that neither supplies our airport nor connects Tampa to Orlando proper. The fact that previous local officials in the Tampa Bay area did not advocate properly when the first HSR ideas were being prepared is no reason to make the mistake again.

In any event, if and when an infrastructure bill passes, we will see what is in it.


Brandon – Not Quite

There was news about a relatively large project in Brandon:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This is a rendering from 2019:

From the Times – click on picture for article

URBN Tampa Bay’s had this to say:

We agree. The project should have connected/created the Brandon grid. Moreover, while we like the commercial, the way it is arranged does is not a natural corridor. In fact, right now, the commercial street dead ends at the east end of the property (though there is separate land that could one day be developed by someone). Moreover, there is no natural north-south commercial corridor. Nor does there seem to be land set aside for any expansion or more intense development.

In other words, despite the branding, this is not a downtown or even a simulated downtown. It is a street with commercial on it that does not connect to anything and with some apartments around it. It may be a nice street and the commercial may be built nicely, but, as it is planned now, that is all it is.


West Tampa – Cigar Factories

There was a bit of news regarding cigar factories this week.

First, you may remember a the controversy over the Santaella Cigar Factory’s renovation work (see here and here, and a related item regarding the Pendez & Alvarez factory here). We never met the main character in the stories so we cannot say whether it is an accurate depiction, but let’s just say that the articles in the Times made it seem unlikely that he had studied the collected works of Dale Carnegie. In any event,

As with most legal issues, we are not going to opine about the case or try to sort out the facts, but it is interesting. And, as noted above, the Santaella work generated opposition, so there are likely many who would like to see some change.

That brings us to news about another cigar factory:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

It may not be perfect, but, from what we can see, it looks like a pretty nice project.

The bottom line is that the cigar factories are community assets. We would like them renovated properly and put to good use. Who does it is not really our concern.


Tampa Heights – 209 East Oak

There was news about a new proposal in Tampa Heights. Per URBN Tampa Bay:

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

This is URBN Tampa Bay’s take:

We generally agree. In that location, Florida should definitely be the focus of commercial, though a public-ish space like a “clubhouse” on Florida is better than just apartments, even walk-ups. (though we agree that the ground floor apartments should be walk-ups) Additionally, we like having some commercial on Seventh.

Speaking of Florida, we are curious about the reasoning behind putting transformers in the middle of the Florida façade. If it is absolutely necessary for some reason, then so be it (and that reason should be examined closely), but it seems unusual.

More broadly, from what we have seen so far, we like proposal overall. We think it has to potential to help push the area along. In fact, we are surprised it has taken so long to bring more projects to this area. We actually would like to see denser development there.


Hyde Park – No

URBN Tampa Bay also noted this:

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

This is Hyde Park, not Riverview (and even there it would be bad design). We do not care if the use is a bank, but it needs to be a properly designed bank.


USF Area – Moffitt

The expansion of the main Moffitt campus has reached a milestone:

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

As we always say: we are glad this area has Moffitt, but we wish we did not need it.


South Tampa – Altura

You may remember that Altura is a condo project just north of Bay to Bay a block off of Bayshore.

From the Business Journal – click on picture for article

This project does not ignore its west façade as much as some other recent projects. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

There was an interesting article in the Times regarding taxes in Florida.

Of course, we know that Florida is a low tax state, but we also know that is not the end of the discussion.

The article included this interesting chart:

From the Times – click on picture for article

It is interesting that the average income in Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia is higher than Florida and that, in many higher tax states, people still take home more money than Floridians. Moreover, based on the description, the numbers do not include the “fees” that Florida governments use to make up for the lack of taxes and they do not seem to include the cost to residents of the lack of services.

As usual, there is news from the housing sector.

It seems to us this is not a healthy situation long term. Nor is this:

Second homes and profits from flipping are fine, but having a large portion of the population frozen out of the market is not.


Economic Development – Warehouses

For any government entity that is tempted to subsidize or give incentives to a warehouse, just a friendly reminder:


Airport – Odds and Ends

As we discussed last week, Breeze began service on May 27 with a flight from Tampa to Charleston. (for more background see here and here) Because we were not sure of the routes last week, we thought we would just put the route map.

From Breeze Airways – click on picture for website

It will be interesting to see how they expand in Tampa.

Meanwhile, there was another airport development:

The base is an indication that Frontier plans to focus on development in Tampa.


Port – Cruises

We have been covering the issue of when cruises could restart for a while. This week there is interesting news:

Those are good signs, though there still is this:

It just makes us think of this:


St. Pete – Trop Land

Last week, we agreed with St. Pete mayoral candidates that the next mayor should deal with the developer selection for the Trop land. Not that we thought that would actually happen.

Setting aside that we think there are only one or two proposals that really fit, we still think it should be left for the next administration, regardless of the Rays. They have had a long time to propose something for that land if they really wanted to be there.

Les actualités de Rays de cette semaine sont ici, ici, ici, ici et ici. Et le grand article ici. Et vous Stu? Montrez-nous l’argent.

Et ici. (mettez 514 à la place)


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

As we discussed recently, the streetcar needs to find some spare change to keep functioning from free. The free transit idea is not a new one or isolated to Tampa. For instance,

Admittedly, it is a short pilot project, but it will be interesting to see how it goes. You can read more here.

Here are some links to government resources:

Florida Health, Hillsborough (where you can get some vaccine info)

Florida Vaccine Registration (works for Hillsborough but not some other counties)

This week we have a couple of nice shots from Eagle 8 WFLA:

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet

From Eagle 8 WFLA – click on picture for tweet