City Living

Developer wants to raze long-vacant Copperfish restaurant property to make way for townhouses

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A developer wants to demolish a long-vacant restaurant in South Tampa to make way for townhouses.

Tampa developer Jeff Craft has filed plans with the city for the project, which would build nine units in four buildings at 1502 S. Howard Ave. That property, which is just over half an acre, was once home to Copperfish Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar. The restaurant closed more than five years ago.

There are three structures on the property: Two of them, built in 1957, made up the former restaurant. The third is a single-family home built in 1922.

Of the nine proposed townhouse units, six will front South Howard and West Hills avenues, according to the rezoning application. The townhouses are three and four stories; most are around 940 square feet, and one is 1,025 square feet.

LevelUp Consulting is the engineer on the project; EBI Surveying is the surveyor. The architect is Alderman Planning Co., and Kami Corbett, a partner in Hill Ward Henderson in Tampa, is representing the developer in the rezoning process.

“The proposed project will transform the site, which is in a highly desirable area in close proximity to Bayshore Boulevard, into an attractive townhome community,” the rezoning application says.

The Copperfish site is in the heart of one of Tampa’s most walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. It is blocks from Bayshore Boulevard as well as a mix of bars and restaurants, including iconic Bern’s Steak House, the Epicurean Hotel and several concepts owned by Tampa’s Ciccio Restaurant Group.

City council will consider the rezoning request at a public hearing on July 8.

City Living Equals Market Magic

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As people are moving back into our cities, the desire to move away from cookie cutter style homes and big box retail grows stronger. It is becoming increasingly important to people that they connect with their neighbors and local businesses, making the live-work lifestyle more of an experience versus a mundane task. With this, the increasing popularity of area local markets gives city dwelling residents an opportunity to connect and hear the story behind their unique finds. Below are a few options to check out next time you’re ready to experience the reward of shopping local.

The Tampa Indie Flea

Next to the Hidden Springs Ale Works Brewery in the Historic Rialto Theater is the Tampa Indie Flea Market. “The Indie Flea is a curated event meant to showcase the amazing talent within our community. The Flea exists to promote local arts and culture and to engage and empower our community towards positive grassroots growth…At our Flea you will find makers showcasing the best of all things indie, located in the heart of the Tampa Bay Area. Our hand selected vendors feature products ranging from handmade jewelry, letterpress cards, screen printed t-shirts, vintage treasures, upcycled home goods, dry succulent gardens, artisanal jams, nonprofit groups and lots of funky. Beyond vendors, you’ll find local food and drink, live music and good vibes. Plus, it’s family and pet friendly!” The market is held every third Sunday of the month, admission is free.

St Pete Indie Market

The St Pete Indie Market is a fantastic way to spend a Saturday morning. During the summer, the market is held in the State Theater off of Central Ave and, beginning in October, the market moves to open aired Baum Ave in front of Green Bench Brewing. “Local artists, indie designers, makers, vintage sellers, horticulturists, and eclectic crafters come together at Green Bench Brewery to create a unique destination for artisans, progressives, tourists and locals to come together in an outdoor alternative to retail setting. With 100+ vendors, craft beer and live art, the St. Pete Indie Market is a vital weekend destination for those in search of local flavor and the indie spirit.” The market is held the first Saturday of every month from 11am-3pm, admission is free.

Other markets to try:

Hyde Park Fresh Market

Located in trendy Hyde Park Village, the Hyde Park Fresh Market is a perfect opportunity to grab a cup-o-joe and to rub elbows with local artesians. “This Market supports 50-70 vendors and caters to all of South Tampa, Davis Island, Harbor Island, Downtown and Hyde Park featuring local food, handcrafts and live music.” From 10 am-3 pm on the 1st Sunday of each month with free admission.

Night Market St Pete

If you are looking for a popular (and cooler) time to check out a market, give St Pete’s Night Market a try. “This high energy event features a DJ, cash bar, awesome food, and some of the best local vendors from the Tampa Bay area. Come party in the heart of the Warehouse Art’s Disctrict, located next door to 3 Daughters Brewery! Pet and Family friendly! Sept 28th.” Located in St Pete Side Lot. Follow them on Facebook @nightmarketstpete for their next event date. Free admission.

Orangetheory Fitness Planned for Downtown St. Pete

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Even through times of recession, when many storefronts became shuttered and vacant, Central Avenue has always been Downtown St. Pete’s major commercial corridor. However, in the wake of Downtown St. Pete’s economic renaissance, many new businesses have opened and flourished throughout downtown — most prominently along Central Avenue.

Lobby of the new Orangetheory Fitness & Cafe at 650 1st Ave S.

It’s simple supply and demand.  As more businesses continue to move into the neighborhood, that leaves less vacant space for future retail tenants.  As a result, retailers and restaurants are beginning to branch out from Central Ave and consider the streets adjacent to it.  One such street is 1st Avenue S.

Jeff Craft and Mike Lenhart have recognized the trend and are developing a 6,500 square foot retail building on what was once a vacant lot at 640 1st Avenue S. Currently under construction, the building will be ready in about four months. With an expected opening this summer, Orangetheory Fitness, a trendy high intensity group training gym, will occupy 3,000 square feet of the building.

Location of the new Orangetheory Fitness & Cafe at 650 1st Ave S.

The remaining 3,500 square feet will be built out for a restaurant, most likely to be filled by a new concept from a regional restaurant group. In addition, the restaurant will have 750 square feet of patio space.  While building speculative restaurant space can be risky, Craft says “We really believe in Downtown St. Pete.”

Rendering of the new Orangetheory Fitness & Cafe at 650 1st Ave S.

The development will also have a rare amenity that is very hard to come by in downtown.  It will include 35 parking spaces, which should attract those who don’t live within walking or biking distance.

Other businesses are also betting on 1st Ave S.  Last month, Stephen Schrutt opened up two new concepts on 1st Ave S — Proper Kitchen & Cocktails, a southern-influenced eatery, and Park&Rec, a social gaming bar.  Just one block away at 200 1st Ave S, Ford’s Garage is planning to debut one of their automobile-inspired restaurants.  Also, later this quarter, Downtown St. Pete’s second Publix Super Market will open at 725 1st Ave S.  All of these developments are contributing to the rise of 1st Ave S and transforming it into another walkable commercial corridor in Downtown St. Pete.