You can run your Fortune 500 company or live at the doorstep of Channelside. The Towers of Channelside and Park Crest on Harbour Island are just a few of the developments that provide luxury residential, lofts, office, and retail space for you to enjoy. Have dinner at your place, or stroll over to ours.Working or living in Channelside or Harbour Island will ensure you a high quality of life full of fantastic entertainment opportunities.
Technically, there was no "Channel District" before 1994. The area had grown up early with downtown and Ybor City, and was a mix of railroad yards and warehouses serving the port channel it abutted. Practically no one lived there, but in 1930 about 7,000 people worked there according to city records. It remained an unnamed neighborhood with almost no development until the early 1990s. Industry had been declining in the area, and the proximity to downtown and to the water made it an attractive development district. In 1993 the City of Tampa ordered a plan of growth be drawn up for the district. Public meetings were held throughout 1994 to seek resident input into what should happen with the district. The district was described by county commissioners as having a "raw, funky, feel" (imagine the set of Friends ). Businesses must be adjacent to the street without large parking lots, no drive through restaurants or outside vending machines were to be allowed. In 1994 the ordinance was enacted and a special tax district setup to encourage development. In addition to that, 13th Street and Platt Street were renamed to Channelside Drive, giving the neighborhood a main street. The height limit for buildings constructed in the district in 1994 was 60 feet.
The Florida Aquarium, (originally supposed to be located in Clearwater then on Harbour Island), opened in the Channel District in March 1995, and the adjacent port terminal opened in April 1995. These two locations were the anchors for the Garrison Seaport Center, a development that now includes shops and restaurants adjacent to the street. From the onset, the entire 'mall' lost money, managed by the Tampa Port Authority, rents were cut and publicity campaigns attempted to bring in visitors. Cruise traffic was not as brisk as first expected, and people did not seem to want to make the trek all the way out there just to eat lunch. A historic streetcar connecting the area with downtown began operations in October 2002, and signalled a turnaround in the fortunes of the Channel District. New loft apartments, condos, and residences are being built at a very fast pace. The Channel District's location near downtown, the water, Ybor, and transportation links makes it a very attractive place to live. So attractive, in fact, that quite a few people want to live there now. Propertly values shot up 110% from 2002 to 2004, and in January 2004 the city council approved a project to build two 30-story towers on 12th St. Breaking the 60 foot height limit imposed earlier, and helping to kill that raw, funky, feel. The Channel District is, as of 2004, the hottest development district in Tampa.
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