How do you create a neighborhood where people want to live and visitors want to play?
It’s a tricky dichotomy that unites new urbanism principles with utility and efficiencies. The result can be a high quality of life neighborhood for residents, a fun destination for suburbanites and profits for developers.
The developers and architect of The Heights, Tampa’s newest mixed-use development, think they’ve got the right formula for a neighborhood where people will want to live, work and play. Unlike office parks, which are used by people just eight hours a day, five days a week, The Heights is designed to hum with human activity nearly every day from the morning to midnight.
“One of the most important things is having districts that are reasonably active throughout the day, throughout the month and throughout the year,” says Tim Clemmons, principal with Mesh Architecture. Clemmons designed The Heights’ master plan with developers Chas Bruck and Adam Harden of SoHo Capital.
“It plays into the financial aspect,” Clemons says. “If you create a block, a neighborhood where there are good levels of activity from 8 in the morning to midnight, Wednesday through Saturday, January, June and October, the quality of life, the efficiency — there are so many advantages to that. If you can pull in people, you have social life, urban economics and sustainability.”
The Heights master plan covers 43 acres along the Hillsborough River between North Boulevard and North Tampa Street. The development is adjacent to Water Works Park and will be connected to downtown Tampa by the yet-to-be completed, last phase of the Riverwalk.
“Our biggest amenity is the river and the Riverwalk,” Bruck says. “Our property is the largest private property on the river. We feel we are a bookend of the Riverwalk with the other being Channelside.”