Westshore Marina District, Tampa aerial development

Two years ago, Westshore Marina District was nothing but 52 weedy, empty acres. Now, the first group of townhomes is ready and hundreds of other residences will be finished over the next 12 months.

Nearby, the ramp to the new Lee Roy Selmon Expressway Connector rises 30 feet, part of a project that will slash traffic on surface streets and let motorists zoom almost nonstop from St. Petersburg to Disney World.

In all, $1 billion in changes are coming to the Tampa end of the Gandy Bridge.

“It’s very exciting,” said Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen, whose district includes the area. “We have the opening up of a whole new waterfront community, and the Gandy connector is going to be a huge alternative for people who are now getting off Gandy (Boulevard) and cutting through residential neighborhoods to get to Westshore and downtown Tampa.”

Tampa is in the midst of several transformative projects, led by the $3-billion-plus redevelopment of the southern part of downtown and the revitalization of the city’s long-neglected riverfront. But with St. Petersburg blossoming at the same time, it was inevitable that areas closer to Pinellas County would also see dramatic changes.

The most striking of those is Westshore Marina District.

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The developer of Westshore Marina District is nearing deals for a dual-concept, boat-up restaurant as well as neighborhood retailers.

BTI Partners, based in Fort Lauderdale, is in active negotiations with a Tampa restaurant group that will bring two concepts to a multilevel waterfront restaurant along Gandy Boulevard.

The Westshore Marina District is a 52-acre mixed-use development on the Gandy waterfront, just off of Westshore Boulevard. It will include apartments, condos and townhouses in addition to the restaurants and retail.

Beck Daniel, executive vice president of development for BTI, said that one operator will run both concepts — an upscale restaurant on the second story and an open-air, more casual space downstairs. He declined to identify the group but said a deal could be finalized within eight weeks; negotiations have progressed beyond a letter of intent, he said. (A LOI in commercial real estate is a non-binding proposal that outlines the terms of the deal.)

The Westshore Marina District is directly north of Rattlesnake Point, where another group is planning a new boat-up restaurant.

There’s also high interest in the storefronts within the district, Daniel said. The town center-style retail is just over 22,000 square feet and will be home to neighborhood-oriented, service-based retailers like coffee shops, wine bars and spas.

“We have 15 LOIs for not that many spaces, so we’re now honing in on the best mix for our product,” Daniel said. “And we are advancing with our permitting.”

Those tenants could be announced late in the first quarter of 2019. Daniel said BTI is in talks with a small market, around 3,500 square feet — the type of place with a deli counter, where residents could grab supplies for a quick dinner.

The retail space will be built so that “people don’t have to leave the community for their essentials,” Daniel said.

The focus is on local tenants, said Noah Breakstone, managing partner of BTI Partners.

“We’re trying to make the majority that we have here be locally based,” Breakstone said. “It’s more homegrown, more quality. It’s more comfortable as you walk around instead of the typical run of the mill.”

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Overhead View

As the crown jewel of Westshore Marina District’s 52 waterfront acres, Marina Pointe was imagined by the internationally recognized Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design, which drew inspiration from intriguing sources that include the bay, boats, and most surprising of all, boomerangs.

The design challenge started with maximizing views for three 16-story towers along the scenic waters of Tampa Bay. Noah Breakstone of developer BTI Partners said, “To find 1.5 miles of waterfront living in the city of Tampa was truly unique. When we looked at this on peninsula, and we talked about having a luxury residence that was livable and walkable … that people could enjoy the surroundings and natural environment. But the question was how do you do that today to have something that really is timeless?”

A design that makes a splash

Architect Kobi Karp’s vision is helping to develop the skyline. He said, “This site is truly the crown jewel of the area. We wanted to create an iconic signature that honors the city’s culture and heritage, and also comes to represent its future in the decades to come.”

In a sense, the Marina Pointe residential buildings rise up from the water. Therefore, it was fitting that the boats that ply these protected waters would provide design inspiration. “When you look at these crystalline sculptural towers,” said Karp, “you can see the unmistakable lines of a ship’s bow and the graceful lines of its sails.”

Beyond the style and beauty reflected in the silhouette of Marina Point’s residential buildings, the architecture accomplishes important functional considerations. Just as the bow of a ship advances forward as it rises from the water, the profile of the towers gradually extends out as it elevates from the ground floor to the penthouse. This serves to ensure that every residence boasts optimal views of the bay, the coastline and the energized urban setting beyond.

The boomerang solution

Maximizing views for residents was a primary goal in designing Marina Pointe. Noah Breakstone said’ “One of the incredible things that Kobi Karp brought to the table is what they called the boomerang design – three wings that extend from a central point. As the residential buildings move westward on the peninsula from the coast toward the water, they rotate to the perfect position for panoramic views. No tower blocks views of another. It is truly an innovative idea to achieve a very important result for those who will call Marina Pointe home.”

Kobi Karp said, “Then residents enter their condominiums, a vision unfolds of expansive glass walls and the breathtaking views beyond. Whether they’re in the living room, or having breakfast and morning coffee, sitting in your kitchen looking out, in the master bathroom … they are blessed with amazing views to the outside. Great view 360 degrees, 365 days a year.”

Dauphin 10th floor dusk

Overlooking a deepwater yacht basin in the heart of Tampa Bay, Marina Pointe’s carefree condominium lifestyle features breathtaking views, luxurious amenities, a state-of-the-art marina and extraordinary values at the pinnacle of South Tampa’s exciting new walkable waterfront neighborhood.

A limited collection of waterfront luxury residences is available from the $700,000s. Information is available at MarinaPointe.com, and 813-930-9800.