Recently Tampa architect Alberto Alfonso announced the development of a new hotel on Ybor City’s historic 7th Avenue at 14th Street. The hotel will incorporate Ybor’s wraparound balconies, utilize real structures, and restart the Las Novedades restaurant, for decades an Ybor City destination. This is wonderful.
In the last two years Tampa has seen the rebirth of several Tampa landmarks. Thanks to the amazing efforts of Clearwater’s Antonios Markopoulos the 19 story 1926 Floridan Hotel (see photo above) has reopened as the 213 room Floridan Palace. All the rooms were modernized with bathrooms. The famous Crystal Dining Room is back as is the famous Sapphire Room where WWII airmen met their future wives.
A few years ago few Tampans felt the structure that once once the tallest building between Washington DC and Miami would be saved.
Three blocks away the 1905 U.S. Courthouse is now Le Meridien boutique hotel with 130 guest rooms and suites. Climb the huge stairs into the courthouse facade and you arrive at the Bizou Brasserie, complete with French pastry shop, and the Longitude Bar.
What was once the entrance-way to the Downtown Post Office takes visitors to the hotel lobby (see lobby bar photograph) and check-in. What is wonderful about touring this hotel is that elements of the old courthouse (including doors to courtrooms and judge’s rooms have been restored and incorporated) are everywhere.
I hope Tampa continues to modernize downtown by restoring its historic structures with new purposes.