Rome Yard will be a major game changer in the city of Tampa. In spring of 2021, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and her administration announced Related Urban Development Group, in partnership with the Tampa Housing Authority, would develop the Rome Yard multi-use project. Plans for the 18-acre Rome Yard Development Project, a $300 million joint venture, include a brick observation “cigar tower” to honor the cigar factories that were an indelible part of West Tampa’s Latin history. The company also will work with local historians on a cultural and arts center.
The project is one of the administration’s critical economic drivers and will add more than 600 mixed-income housing units in West Tampa to align with the City’s strategic housing affordability goals.
It will also drive opportunities for place-making, retail services and community investment that complements the surrounding community, while accounting for transportation and sustainability goals. The city and the company have an established working relationship and a shared interest in building a quality community.
Rome Yard drives economic opportunity in Tampa
“When I committed to T3 goals to advance the City’s affordable housing options and drive economic opportunity across all our neighborhoods, we could never have known that a global pandemic was lying ahead of us” said Mayor Castor. “But this administration does not let obstacles get in our way. Despite the unique circumstances of 2020, our Development Services team adapted to enable vital construction projects to continue. And our Economic Development team completed the bid process for Rome Yard, a project that will transform West Tampa for generations to come.”
The Related team’s commitment to exceeding the affordable housing and workforce diversity goals established for the project emerged as a critical advantage for the developer. Their proposal included a range of income-qualifying levels in addition to market rate and ‘for-sale’ options as well. Related also earmarked a minimum of 40% of the project budget estimated at $75 million for minority and woman-owned local businesses.
Major residential developments in West Tampa
The Rome Yard development project represents an opportunity to bring additional residential development to West Tampa, while providing workforce and apprenticeship opportunities. The plan also includes dozens of community-centric features including a Cultural Center & Art Pavilion highlighting the rich history of West Tampa and a Workforce Training Center focused on providing community services such as free resume building, budget management and interview training classes.
The site is located on 18-acres of City-owned property immediately west of the Hillsborough River, east of Rome Avenue, south of Columbus Drive and north of Spruce Street in the West Tampa Community Redevelopment Area (CRA).
This recent announcement comes as the Castor administration discloses its fiscal year 2020 permitting numbers, which is valued at $4.5 billion in development during the pandemic — $1.4 billion more than FY2019 before the global health crisis struck.
Balancing the needs of the community and the growth of the city
“The past year has been a challenge in many ways, however it also presented opportunities to accelerate many ideas we had to make it easier to do business with the City,” said City of Tampa Administrator for Development and Economic Opportunity, Carole Post.
“With new programs that support large developers, as well as initiatives targeted at small contractors and homeowners, we’ve made incredible progress despite the pandemic. At the same time, we are focused on balancing the needs of our communities and neighborhoods, and building on an aggressive target for facilitating more affordable housing,” said Post.
The property sits on a bluff overlooking the river as it winds downtown. Conveniently located with quick and easy access to Tampa International Airport, South Tampa, and nearby Riverside, and Seminole Heights.
What to read next:
- ESPN shoots Oscar-worthy drone video around Amalie Arena
- Meatyard will create more than 50 affordable artist studios in Ybor City
- This restaurant serves up ice cream-stuffed cronuts
- Amazon partners with 9 Florida colleges to offer free tuition for students