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Water Street Tampa Unveils Vision for Public Spaces


Strategic Property Partners, LLC (SPP) released its vision for Water Street Tampa’s public spaces today, showcasing a collaboration of work by a talented team of architects, planners, and landscape architects, who have together crafted the overall vision of Water Street Tampa, the 50-acre mixed-use waterfront district located on historic Hillsborough Bay.


“The public spaces woven throughout the Water Street Tampa neighborhood are a key design focus for us. We have given a tremendous amount of thought to how these spaces will be experienced – how we will make it easy and inviting to walk throughout the broader neighborhood, how we will make it comfortable to dine outdoors year-round, and how to create spaces for our neighbors to engage with one another in the community.  Because of this special emphasis, we designed the public spaces first, and the buildings second,” said James Nozar, CEO of SPP. “Water Street Tampa has been specifically designed to offer people a variety of experiences and spaces meant to be enjoyed by anyone, from those who live and work in the neighborhood to those who are visiting or passing through.”

Water Street Tampa’s vision centers around the philosophy that thoughtfully-designed buildings are only as good as the spaces between them that people will experience every day. The vibrant waterfront neighborhood will seamlessly blend a variety of buildings and experiences around lushly shaded green spaces, dynamic pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, extraordinary neighborhood shopping and culinary experiences, and a variety of cultural, educational, and entertainment venues. Water Street Tampa will offer an unparalleled lifestyle experience.


Water Street Tampa: Vision for Public Spaces from Water Street Tampa on Vimeo.

Once complete, more than 23,000 people will live, work, dine, shop and visit Water Street Tampa daily. The neighborhood will be a place where great streets and vibrant, accessible, open spaces encourage the community to come together and enjoy the outdoors.

The Public Realm Master Plan

The public realm master plan has been designed around three core values: reveal and improve connections, prioritize pedestrian comfort, and provide a diversity of public spaces.

Reveal and improve connections: The neighborhood is oriented towards the waterfront, and internal connections within the neighborhood are distinctive and walkable.

Further, Water Street Tampa ensures strong connections to the existing Central Business District of downtown Tampa and surrounding neighborhoods of Harbour Island and the Channel District. This will make it much easier and more comfortable to travel between Water Street Tampa and other close-in neighborhoods, as well as between the area’s numerous existing cultural amenities.

Prioritize pedestrian comfort:  Streets have been organized for pedestrian comfort, providing shade, improved safety, and distinctive beauty. Sidewalks within the Water Street Tampa neighborhood give priority and space to people, and range from 16 feet to 45 feet in width, regularly exceeding City of Tampa requirements.

Streets that run throughout the neighborhood focus on people, and are designed to accommodate cyclists, pedestrians, transit, and vehicles – encouraging freedom of movement and ultimately, freedom of expression.

Lighting and wayfinding are integrated for safety and ease of navigation. High-efficiency parking structures will make it easy to leave the car behind and explore the district on foot or by bicycle.

Diversify public spaces:  Public spaces throughout Water Street Tampa are generous – from Water Street, with its abundance of outdoor seating, to new open spaces, such as a public plaza at the entrance of the USF Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute, and a new park planned at Cumberland Avenue and Water Street. The streetscapes and public realm will offer people a diversity of experiences, with sidewalk cafes and unique retail kiosks, as well as spaces for public events and gatherings.

Spanning the streets and rooftops throughout the entire 50-acre site area, Water Street Tampa’s landscape will embrace the coastal ecology, incorporating an abundance of native vegetation that is a source of regional pride and makes western Florida one of America’s most beautiful landscapes. Diverse plantings will include more than 650 trees, including Southern Live Oak, Bald Cypress, Winged Elm, and American Elm. In total, more than 30,000 square feet of new planters and lawn area will be created throughout the streetscapes in the neighborhood.

Water Street: A promenade, unique to Water Street Tampa

Water Street – the namesake for the Water Street Tampa neighborhood – is a historic street that will be reborn as the heart and spine of the community.   Once completed, the extended Water Street will provide improved connections from downtown Tampa and the surrounding neighborhoods to the city’s waterfront.

As the neighborhood’s most identifiable and unique street, Water Street will feature a 45-foot- wide landscaped promenade on its eastern side, shaded by a double row of mature Live Oak trees, providing a canopy of filtered light and protection from the sun. The space will form a spine of activity with lively plazas and abundantoutdoor spaces for dining, recreation, and gathering.  While this segment of Water Street will not be finished until the fall of 2020, SPP has already begun the process of sourcing the Live Oak trees to ensure the trees will be of maturity on day one.

Along Water Street, the sight and sound of running water will be continuously present through various water features interspersed throughout the neighborhood. These features will link the imagination to the dynamic life of Tampa and its natural environments. 

Wellness and sustainability

By placing the public realm and green spaces at the forefront of its design for Water Street Tampa, SPP aims to set a new standard for wellness and sustainability in the built environment and will become the world’s first WELL-certified community under the WELL Community Standard, developed by the International WELL Building Institute. The community will feature amenities and public spaces that have been designed to improve the health and well-being of those visiting, living, and working within the neighborhood.

Water Street Tampa also intends to be LEED Neighborhood Development (ND) certified, which was created to shape more sustainable and well-connected neighborhoods.

Planting 650 trees will greatly increase the tree canopy, providing much-needed shade so everyone can enjoy the outdoors in a healthier and more comfortable way. To accomplish this, the master planning team has collaborated on the design of a unique, below-grade infrastructure that supports the vibrant and verdant public spaces of Water Street Tampa, including a selection of soil composition with deep soil volumes. Using such high-performance soils and moisture environments that far exceed the city’s standards will also reduce overall heat island effect associated with urban areas.

Permeable pavers and absorptive planting beds used throughout Water Street will allow the neighborhood to ecologically and efficiently weather severe rainfall.

Further, an innovative centralized district cooling facility, which is currently under construction, will serve the buildings in Water Street Tampa while also freeing up the rooftops that would otherwise include large individual cooling towers. These rooftops are being programmed with lushly landscaped green roofs and active amenity spaces, such as a rooftop lounge on the top of the new JW Marriott Hotel that will feature panoramic views of downtown Tampa and Hillsborough Bay. In addition, the centralized cooling facility will reduce redundant mechanical systems, provide operational efficiencies, and reduce energy consumption.


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