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Related Group's new downtown Tampa district will include a Riverwalk underpass
By Henry Queen
Tampa Bay Business Journal
Published: Jul 8, 2024

A new mixed-use district in downtown Tampa will include a Riverwalk underpass, eight boat slips and a kayak launch as part of its revitalization of the adjacent shoreline.

The Hillsborough County Planning Commission on Monday approved Related Group's permit application for its plans along the western edge of the Hillsborough River, which abuts the Miami-based developer's forthcoming Riverwalk district.

The walkway will extend under the West Kennedy Boulevard bridge, connecting the University of Tampa with the planned development. A natural shoreline will also be built, and minimal dredging of roughly 370 cubic yards of material will be performed to make way for the floating boat dock.

"The proposed project supports the existing character of the Hillsborough River and its use as a Blueway, concentrates marinas and boat traffic in the urban core, contributes to the Riverwalk, and improves the natural functions of the river via a living shoreline," planning staff wrote in its analysis of the project.

Multiple mangrove sites will be preserved as part of the living shoreline, which will be as wide as 39 feet in some places. Saltmarsh plants will also be added, which should allow for more aquatic wildlife, better water quality and erosion control. A seawall currently separates the water from the site.

A spokesperson for Related did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Negative environmental impacts aren't expected, as the floating dock will be on unvegetated waters.

Related Group is one of the most active commercial real estate developers in Tampa Bay. In mid-May, it opened the first phase of the The Ritz-Carlton Residences on the site of the former Bay Oaks apartment complex. The ongoing second phase recently received a boost when Related secured a $136 million construction loan — a rare occurrence in a time of high interest rates.

The Riverwalk district is expected to include three towers. Construction hasn't begun.



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