Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, January 14, 2021

I’ve written, generally and specifically, about Tampa’s downtown development efforts. It’s not going to happen overnight, nor are the suspected stimulants (condo development, entertainment venues) necessarily going to prime the pump.

More than anything, it’s a battle for mindshare. If enough people want to live and play downtown, it will come into its own. A sampling of opinion from regulars in the south and Channelside districts indicates the thirst is there.

Scott Barnett, a Tampa lawyer, regularly grabs dinner there before putting in a late night at the office. He has high hopes for downtown’s future.

“They’re building residential. Things are happening. It’ll get better,” he said. “It’s not like downtown St. Pete, which to me is the hidden jewel of Florida downtowns.”

Around the corner at Sumo’s Thai restaurant on Twiggs, Lawrence Storer closes at 7 p.m. In the nearly four years he has been in business, he’s relied on the lunch crowd to keep the restaurant going. But he’s closely watching the residential development.

“It’s what I’ve been waiting for,” Storer said. “When the boom starts, I’ll be ready.”…

Mike Elliott, a stockbroker and regular at Got Pizza, sees the northern stretch of downtown as the next logical progression in the area’s development. He often spends weekend nights at Channelside, which he calls beautiful and fun.

“If all the development really comes to fruition, it’s going to draw a lot of businesses down here,” he said. “There’s a lot of young people in Tampa who would love to live downtown. There’s some real things going on. This is the heart of a little mid sized city we call Tampa, Fla.”

Lots of positive thinking. But what’s the missing ingredient?

Hard to say. I don’t think anyone can accurately quantify what made St. Pete’s downtown take off, when ten years ago it was just as dead as Tampa’s ever was. For some reason, office space opened up, and enough of those office workers saw something to like about the nearby bars and restaurants to help the place take off. Government prodding, aside from incentives to help draw some businesses, had little to do with it.

Again, it comes down to what people decide and the perceptions they form. If downtown Tampa remains foreboding enough to not be a regular draw — and there are enough alternate options elsewhere — it will all be for naught. If enough people fall in love with that stretch of the city, it’ll attain critical mass and take off.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 01/14/2005 08:48pm
Category: Florida Livin', Society
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There’s this guy who works somewhere in the bowels of my office building. I’ve never talked to him, likely never will. But after a couple of years, he’s one of the familiar faces you get used to seeing around on a regular basis.

Inasfar as I notice him, I can tell he’s lost a lot of weight over the past several months. He’s gone from being really, really fat to being… I guess only a little overweight. Hey, good for him — it’s definitely an improvement.

But here’s the thing: He still waddles around in his ultra-fat walking stride. I guess his physical mechanics are so ingrained from years of carrying all that excess that he hasn’t adjusted to a normal-person walk yet.

It’s an odd sight. Even though he’s shed (most of) his obesity, it’s like there’s still some remnants hanging on. I wonder if there are other aspects of this to him.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 01/14/2005 01:27pm
Category: General
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Does anyone else find this lunch menu item, spied today in downtown St. Pete, strange?

Veggie Burger with a side of Stir-Fried Vegetables - $3.95

Overkill? You’re already eating what amounts to a vegetable sandwich; why would you want your side item to be more veggies? It’s like ordering a baked potato with a side of fries.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 01/14/2005 01:07pm
Category: Food
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