2021 Pivotal for Hillsborough County's Ambitious Uptown District
Big things are happening in Hillsborough County's University Area, rebranded as Uptown, and with increased coordination the district's backers are expecting 2021 to be a banner year.
With collaborative energy and financial backing coming together, it appears the next 12 months will be critical to the success of the area that includes the University of South Florida's main campus, Moffitt Cancer Center, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, AdventHealth Tampa, and Yuengling Tampa Brewery. There's also Rithm At Uptown, the former University Mall, which is a mixed-use epicenter for innovative businesses and professionals. Rithm stands for Research Innovation Technology Habitat and Medicine. It's the largest of several real estate development projects taking shape this year.
After a decade of brainstorming, these anchor institutions are bringing to fruition the vision of combining their compelling technological, health-care, educational, and entertainment strengths to benefit the University Area and the wider Tampa Bay region. Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa are partners in the effort, which is coordinated by Tampa Innovation Partnership (!p).
The goal is to create an economic powerhouse that generates jobs for area residents and revenue for public infrastructure.
The new year holds much promise.
- Rithm At Uptown aims to be one of the world's largest mixed-use innovation centers. The USF Institute of Applied Engineering has moved into the former shopping mall and another tenant, Diamond View Studios, just opened an extended reality (XR) space that can replicate scenery from throughout the world, and beyond, as background. With real objects or people in the foreground, it takes viewers anywhere, virtually. Meanwhile, workers are building a 373-unit student housing complex at Rithm.
- Major additions at AdventHealth and James A. Haley Veterans Hospital are nearing completion and work is underway on a significant expansion of Moffit Cancer Center. Collectively the projects are valued at more than $800 million.
- The USF Research Park's new three-story building with 120,000 square feet of labs, offices, and meeting space for innovators, startups, and established companies is scheduled to open in fall 2021.
- Yuengling has broken ground and will work throughout 2021 to build a "beer tourism" complex featuring a restaurant, hotel, microbrewery, and entertainment venue. Yuengling Tampa Campus is slated to open in early 2022.
Tampa !p, meanwhile, is working with Hillsborough County and other government partners to build a framework that will guide the developments and maximize their collective impact.
Stakeholders are meeting regularly and plan to unveil a strategic action plan by spring 2021. Crucial aspects of the plan include upgrading infrastructure to allow for more density, and supporting training in cyber-security, artificial intelligence, and other in-demand skills for people who live in the area.