Injecting New Life Into Tampa’s Western Waterfront
BTI Partners’ Scott Andersen talks about Westshore Marina District, a master-planned, mixed-use community set to transform a vacant industrial land in the Tampa Bay area.
Sitting on 52 acres of formerly industrial land, the $600 million Westshore Marina District project is a master-planned community overlooking one of the largest yacht basins of Tampa Bay, off Westshore and Gandy boulevards and across from St. Petersburg, Fla. The large-scale project consists of several commercial and residential developments, including Marina Pointe, which is now underway. Scott Andersen, vice president of the West Coast for BTI Partners, explains what makes this development unique and how it will act as a catalyst for additional investments in the area.
Right before the pandemic hit the U.S., you broke ground on Marina Pointe. How has the new economic situation impacted this part of the project?
Andersen: We celebrated our formal groundbreaking ceremony at the end of February, but preliminary marina and site work commenced in late 2019. Construction is well underway for Marina Pointe’s luxury condominiums, as well as the 159-slip marina and retail town center for Westshore Marina District. We are fortunate to still be on schedule, with initial tower move-in anticipated to take place 24 months from groundbreaking and the retail component delivery expected in the fourth quarter this year.
For many in the U.S., it is more important than ever to have access to open spaces. Not only do our luxury condominiums offer plenty of interior space, but there is also access to the waterfront and a variety of outdoor activities. As a result of initial stay-at-home orders confining many people to their homes, we have seen renewed interest from buyers in the Northeast looking to relocate not only for access to larger spaces but also for the benefits of Florida having no income tax.
The first of the three 17-story condominium buildings is expected to open in 2022. How is the presale process going?
Andersen: More than 40 percent of the 120 condos in the first tower are presold. Designed by world-renowned architect Kobi Karp, Marina Pointe underlines the new level of sophistication that the Tampa condo/multifamily market is seeing in this real estate cycle and is attracting buyers from around the world.
How would you describe the typical Westshore Marina District resident?
Andersen: For the most part, BTI Partners is catering to buyers in the Tampa market looking to upgrade their quality of life. Marina Pointe provides a unique luxury waterfront lifestyle with direct access to boating services, boutique shopping and dining, and high-end retail. Another portion of the buyers is coming from California, New York and outside the country.
The area is attracting starchitects who are behind some of Miami’s most spectacular waterfront condominiums. Many of these architects are known around the world, so their brand is helping us bring international buyers to a market that has been traditionally dominated by local buyers.
Residential developers, such as the Related Group and Bainbridge, have already welcomed their first residents to their new market-rate apartment buildings within the district. WCI Communities also opened its townhome project within Westshore Marina District last year.
Once the master-planned community and neighboring residential projects are completed, the area will have nearly 2,400 new residences, injecting new life into the waterfront. Many buyers are still intending to work, as opposed to retiring, and they are looking for a residence that enables them to work and play without having to travel far or commute.
What elements of the Westshore Marina District project set it apart from other waterfront developments in Florida?
Andersen: Our project offers specialty retail, restaurants, luxury water-inspired living, access to 1.5 scenic miles of waterfront, green space, a marina and an open bay. The magnificent view has been the inspiration behind the design of Marina Pointe.
Marina Pointe is a new marina-front development under construction in Tampa Bay, with prices currently ranging from the mid-$800,000s to over $2 million. Each contemporary, flow-through floorplan features floor-to-ceiling glass walls and windows with breathtaking views of the bay and city, as well as premium European-style cabinetry, world-class Sub-Zero and Wolf kitchen appliances, spa-like owner’s suites and much more.
Residents of Marina Pointe will enjoy exclusive amenities such as an elevated pool deck, world-class fitness center, private club and entertaining room. The ideal location at the intersection of Gandy and South West Shore boulevards places residents a few moments away from the vibrant downtowns of both Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Marina Landings, the retail town center of Westshore Marina District, places Tampa’s finest in-town, on-the-water lifestyle just moments from residents’ doorsteps. It includes Cru Cellars wine bar and restaurant, Duckweed Urban Grocery, DRNK coffee shop + QWENCH juice bar, Crave Spa, Salon Color Bar, Sand Surf Co. and more. A boat-up dining destination will also be a short stroll away from the condominiums via a waterfront promenade.
Tell us about the health and wellness components of the master-planned project.
Andersen: Westshore Marina District offers three community parks with miles of waterfront trails and a full-service marina, allowing residents to embrace an outdoor lifestyle. Unrestricted access to Tampa Bay provides endless opportunities for water-inspired recreation, from Tampa’s western shoreline to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. People are increasingly interested in driving less and enjoying life more. That means they want to live in areas where they can work, live and play without having to get in a car and fight traffic. People want to live and walk down the street to shop or dine.
What do you most like about this project?
Andersen: Finding inspiration in the breathtaking views of the bay, Kobi Karp designed the condos to feature expansive open living areas with floor-to-ceiling windows, deep terraces and verandas offering panoramic sunrise and sunset views from nearly every residence. We also designed state-of-the-art amenities to include elegant clubrooms and social areas, fitness facilities, spa treatment rooms and a tropical resort-style pool.
When we acquired the vacant industrial land, we had a vision for what it would be, and seeing that transformation happen has been very fulfilling. We are excited to provide a connection to the waterfront with all of the activities and experiences that it offers.
How much do you expect the Westshore Marina District to influence the surrounding neighborhoods?
Andersen: I think it is fair to say that the success of Westshore Marina District has sparked a residential construction boom south of the district along West Shore Boulevard. This wave of construction in south Tampa highlights the demand for market-rate housing opportunities close to downtown Tampa and MacDill Air Force Base.
How do you imagine this area of the metro 10 years from now?
Andersen: Tampa has grown tremendously in the last five years and the current construction boom is transforming areas that had been neglected for decades. There is currently $13 billion in new development underway that will transform the Tampa Bay area in the next few years and create a more urban environment, according to the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council. Most of these long-term investments are happening along the waterfront, which until recently had gone largely untapped. The demand for housing in this area will continue to grow in the next 10 years.