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How to understand development news in Tampa Bay

Consider this your your development jargon 101.

The construction site at 400 Central in St. Pete. A huge yellow crane points horizontally to the left under a clear blue sky, with the sun in the top right hand corner.

St. Pete is going up — literally.

Photo by TBAYtoday

As Tampa Mayor Jane Castor recently put it, “the Tampa bird is the crane right now because we’re seeing so much development.” Her wisecrack could also apply to other parts of the Tampa Bay area, with St. Pete covered in orange tape, hard hats, and the sweet sounds of construction.

With so much growth + change coming to TBAY, understanding what’s happening can be a challenge. We rounded up some definitions of common development-related terms to help out, and paired them with examples you might recognize.

Mixed-use, adjective

This one comes up a lot. These are projects which provide more than one service for the community, like an apartment building with retail space on the ground floor.

Example: The Tampa EDITION in Water Street Tampa has hotel rooms, apartments, restaurants, and office space.

Principal use, adjective

The primary activity, use, or function of a site. A site’s principal use must be aligned with the zoning ordinances of the land it’s on. Think: Residential, commercial, agricultural.

Example: Living in a private home within a residential zone is an permissible principal use.

Rezoning, verb

Changing the use/purpose of an area of land. Rezoning requests could be filed by developers looking to build a high-rise in a neighborhood with a certain building height restriction, or open a business in an area marked residential. Heads up: Restrictions differ by jurisdiction.

Example: Rezoning was just approved for Ybor Harbor, an upcoming mixed-use project between Channelside and Ybor City.

A rendering of the new condo complex in Water Street Tampa. The building is greenish blue and has rounded walls, with the bottom two floors used as some sort of retail space.

Water Street Tampa’s next phase features mixed-use projects.

Rendering via Strategic Property Partners

Accessory use, adjective

Activities or land which function as secondary to a primary or major usage.

Example: This Seminole Heights home boasts an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), which is a completely separate place to stay on the property. In this instance, it’s a fully detached unit which could be used for guests or rented out.

Infill development, noun

The development of vacant or underutilized lots that are surrounded by areas that are either partially or fully developed.

Example: 2700 Central, completed last year in St. Pete, filled a gap on Central Avenue with three residential units and 2,500+ sqft of retail space.

Incorporated/unincoporated, adjective

Incorporated towns/cities are places that are legally allowed to have their own form of government and elected officials. Unincorporated towns are places that are under the direct jurisdiction of a county.

Example: Tampa and Temple Terrace are incorporated within Hillsborough County, but Brandon and Carrollwood are unincorporated.

The construction site at The Pendry in downtown Tampa. The sun is setting over the riverfront apartments in the distance, with cranes and machinery in the left foreground of the picture behind protective construction fences.

The sound of the summer

Photo by TBAYtoday

Feasibility study, noun

A study conducted to determine a project’s outlook, including budget, preliminary design, investigation of the proposed site, and financing requirements. Think: Is this development realistic?

Example: A feasibility study was recently conducted to determine the potential expansion of the TECO Streetcar’s route.

Project architect, noun

The person, firm, or corporation appointed to provide a design + contractual documents for construction work.

Example: Earlier this year, Kansas City-based Populous was appointed project architect for USF’s proposed new football stadium.

Project manager, noun

The person that coordinates, plans, organizes, and executes projects — or parts of projects — while ensuring budgets + schedules are adhered to.

Example: There are 24 proposed project managers for USF’s stadium plan. Rachel Bauer is project manager for the operations center — the same role she holds for Texas Tech’s ongoing football stadium development.

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