Tampa Heights: From ‘Highlands’ to The Heights


Pioneer families sought out the “high lands” north of downtown Tampa to build stately homes and grand churches, and to enjoy sweeping views of the Hillsborough River.

Those 19th-century founders of Tampa Heights — the city’s first suburb — wanted a home life away from the urban rush of business and commerce.

Those movers and shakers of the past built a neighborhood of street grids, tree canopies, sidewalks, and front porches. But, in Tampa Heights, neighbors kept their growing city within a short stroll and later a trolley ride away.

The makers and creatives of the 21st century are re-imagining those lines of separation and embracing the urban lifestyle where people live, work, and play in the same community.

For Tampa Heights, that 24/7 urban thrum is revving up at Armature Works, the anchor for the master-planned development known as The Heights. It’s earning a reputation as the smartest, trendiest gathering place in town.

The Heights is transformative for the city of Tampa. It also is a change catalyst for Tampa Heights where community activists strove for years to revitalize a neighborhood worn down by urban decay, drugs, and crime.

“It’s (The Heights) a kind of a visionary thing,” says Jason Ricke, president of the Tampa Heights Civic Association. “If you look at other areas where there is such economic development, such as Denver and Portland, you’ve seen that those areas are having phenomenal growth and economic success.”

Over the next eight to 10 years, The Heights will grow into an urban village spreading over nearly 50 vacant riverfront acres. At build-out, there will be about 4.5 million square feet of industrial uses, 1.5 million square feet of offices, more than 500,000 square feet of retail and more than 5,000 residential units.


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