When the new owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team decided to revitalize city’s downtown, many people expected an “arena district” to follow—an area focused completely on entertainment. Instead, the owner and partners announced a new waterfront district, of which the arena was only one of many components. Their mission? Place Tampa on the growing list of cities with renaissance downtowns by developing a chic, walkable urban center.
Our team contributed the master plan that transforms the area’s 40 acres of property into Tampa’s first mixed-use, walkable downtown district. The redesigned street network tames an existing high-volume arterial to create a diverse environment, a place where people can stroll along and discover unique shops and restaurants. Facing the Tampa Bay Lightning arena is an animated civic square filled with interactive art and lined by a rich mix of hotels, cafés, stores, and maker spaces.
Across the plaza from the arena, a staircase—inspired by Rome’s Spanish Steps—leads down to a waterfront park, rebuilt as a series of lively outdoor rooms. Within a five-minute radius, our plan gathers housing, offices, retail, hotels, a new medical school for the University of South Florida, and major museums—all integrated into a pedestrian-friendly network of landscaped streets, parks, and squares.