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A deep dive on the Rivergate Tower

The cylindrical tower is a unique part of Tampa’s skyline.

Tampa's skyline, with the Rivergate Tower pictured on the right. Its yellowish brown color is reflected in the sun, with windows lining the outside. There is an ominous cloudy sky with streaks of blue above.

It’s nicknamed the Beer Can Building for a reason.

Have you seen the cylindrical brown building by the Tampa Riverwalk? Of course you have.

The Rivergate Tower is unmistakable — both due to its unique design and central location within downtown Tampa. To help better understand how the structure came to be, we’re enlisting the help of the viral, oft-remixed “song of the summer.”

I’m looking for a tower in finance

This tower is certainly in finance. Since its doors opened in 1988, the Rivergate Tower has provided local business professionals with ideally-located office space. The structure was initially built to serve as the headquarters for the now-defunct North Carolina National Bank (NCNB).

Its business roots are also visible through the lettering atop the tower — Sykes, the Tampa-based outsourcing + consulting company which serves as the building’s principal tenant. That’s why you may also hear it called the Sykes Building.

Trust fund

Someone’s got money. The Rivergate Tower cost $150 million to build between 1986 and 1988, but was later sold for just $22 million in a foreclosure sale in 2012. Its new owners immediately invested $3 million into restoration efforts, before a more extensive $11 million renovation project took place in 2016-2017.

The Rivergate Tower along the Tampa Riverwalk. There is a flag for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the foreground which reads "Be the Thunder", and the Hillsborough River runs along the right side of the photo.

The only office building located directly along Tampa’s Riverwalk.

Photo by TBAYtoday


If you like your towers tall, how’s 454 ft? The 31-story high rise boasts ~520,000 sqft of interior space.

The Rivergate is the seventh-tallest building in Tampa, and “one of the tallest limestone structures in the world,” according to Tour Tampa Bay Architecture.

Blue eyes

Alas, no blue eyes. But the tower does have a unique relationship with color. Thanks to its facade of French and Texas limestone, the building shines yellow-orange when hit by the sun — often most pronounced later in the day. Just look at the two photos included in this article.

Designed by architect Harry Wolf, this effect — coupled with the cylindrical design — was meant to symbolize a lighthouse.

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