Architecture & Design

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Le Meridien Hotel hosts former judges just prior to opening

Posted By on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 8:23 AM

The former federal courthouse will open next week as Le Meridien Hotel after renovation
  • Chip Weiner
  • The former federal courthouse is scheduled to open next week as Le Meridien Hotel after renovation.

The developers of the soon-to-be-open Le Meridien Hotel, along with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, hosted a preview yesterday for judges who once presided over cases when the building was a federal courthouse. The 109-year-old neo-classical edifice sat vacant for years, and its renovation is a welcome addition to downtown, according to the mayor. It will become the eastern anchor point for the Zack Street Promenade of the Arts that runs from the hotel to Curtis Hixon Park.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Transforming Tampa Bay: A welcoming new addition to St. Pete's Grand Central District

Metro Wellness Centers project reaches out to LGBT community.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 6, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Check out my Transforming Tampa Bay column this week on the new LGBT Welcome Center that will occupy a historic bungalow in St. Pete's diverse Grand Central District. There's a fascinating story behind the previous occupant of the house, too.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Belleair ruling delays Biltmore demolition

A 3-2 vote favored postponing a decision on the land use change.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 12:25 PM

GREAT WHITE HOPE: Over 100 years old, the massive wooden Belleview Biltmore was shuttered in 2009.
  • GREAT WHITE HOPE: Over 100 years old, the massive wooden Belleview Biltmore was shuttered in 2009.
Hard to believe so many people packed into Belleair’s Town Hall for a meeting about a zoning change. Surely there was something else going on. ... And there was.

As Town Manager Micah Maxwell repeatedly pointed out after every speaker left the podium, these public comments are supposed to address the proposed zoning change, not the future of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel. In the end, though, the White Queen of the Gulf got herself a six-month pardon, as a 3-2 vote favored postponing a decision on the land use change.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Preservation drama: Has the curtain finally fallen on Tampa's Jackson House?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Preservation requires guts and tenacity... it is not for the faint of heart. As the curtain lifts on the latest scene in the roller coaster saga of the Jackson House, we see a bright blue tarp on the roof of a decrepit building standing forlornly in a sea of asphalt parking lots.

Enter stage right Bob, Mayor of the City of Tampa, face red, finger pointing: "It’s a mess! We’ve given you time... years. It’s come to naught. Pay your code enforcement fines, stabilize the building in 60 days, or we’ll demolish it! We must protect the public!"

Turns on heel and leaves.

Willie Robinson, third-generation owner of the property, sits mutely, stage left, throughout the entire scene. His attorney, Ric Gilmore, dapper and silent, stands behind Willie, hand on his shoulder.

Center stage is a varied group of concerned citizens, members of the Athena Society, Chloe Coney (Congresswoman Kathy Castor’s district director), Matt Depin of Bracken Engineering, Jetie B. Wilde, Dan Coleman, yours truly, and Yvette Lewis from the NAACP. A collective and empathetic “No!” with varied voices.

“We must save the only remaining authentic part of Central Avenue, Tampa’s black Main Street demolished in the 1960s!”

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hoist a cold one for the Beercan Building's 25th

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 12:22 PM


OK, we know it's not really called the Beercan Building. But that moniker has moved from pejorative to affectionate by now, hasn't it? And whatever you call it, the Rivergate Tower is a signal achievement — a beautifully austere and mathematically inspired creation by architect Harry Wolf that is as worthy an icon for Tampa as those minarets across the river.

Today, celebrate the 25th birthday of Tampa's most distinctive skyscraper with a special event featuring Wolf himself, plus several members of the original building project team. A presentation by Wolf and a panel discussion with some of his collaborators is the centerpiece of the evening. Guests will also get the chance to visit the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts and the offices of Tampa Bay WaVE, the entrepreneurs' resource center, both tenants of the building. If you haven't seen the tower (and the "cube") from the inside as well as out, you haven't fully experienced Wolf's achievement.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bro Bowl and Central Avenue History: Peaceful Coexistence

Posted By on Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 4:41 PM

BOWL-ED OVER? Skater Pablo Gutierrez at Perry Harvey Sr. Park, Tampa. Photo by Daniel Veintimilla.
If dirt could talk, the area where Central Avenue stood would have a lot to say. This place has been through several reincarnations and tonight’s community conversation at 6:30, at Greater Bethel Missionary Baptist Church focuses on its next.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

St. Pete Shuffle robbed of vintage game relics

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 12:44 PM

These items were taken from the club sometime late Friday night on January 4.
  • St. Pete Shuffle
  • These items were taken from the club sometime late Friday night on January 4.
The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, home to the world's largest shuffleboard court, was robbed of several trophies, a vintage scoreboard, and several giant vintage postcards.

"We don't know exactly when but it was late Friday night," said club manager Christine Page on Wednesday afternoon. "I ran through the club early Saturday morning and noticed one of the large postcard prints was gone but it didn't occur to me that it was stolen."

But during the club's board meeting this week, it didn't take long to notice that the prints along with several vintage shuffleboard trophies and a scoreboard had gone missing.

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