Real estate news and trends
- The Church of Scientology has revealed plans to control a large portion of downtown for a retail makeover. Plans also call for actor and noted Scientologist Tom Cruise to be involved in some sort of entertainment center. [If you're not familiar with Scientology and its history in the bay area, the Tampa Bay Times has an excellent special section on its website.]
- Why are their so few mortgages being recorded in Tampa Bay? The numbers are striking.
- Move over, Villages. There’s a new kind of retirement community on the horizon based on Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. Now everyone will have an excuse to look for that lost shaker of salt.
- Tampa Bay’s still a hot spot for house flippers, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
- As thousands of people have gained equity in their homes, they may be able to sell, easing the inventory shortage.
- Tampa’s skyline is set to add three towers on the west bank of the Hillsborough River.
- Businesses around Williams Park in St. Petersburg have formed their own business district to help them qualify for more funds to rejuvenate the area.
Restaurant and retail news
- St. Pete’s newest downtown Publix has opened, and the reviews are pretty good.
- St. Petersburg has two new electric buses running routes.
- A couple of St. Pete entrepreneurs are providing Airstream trailers to host out-of-town guests.
- St. Pete’s waterfront just got a whole lot buzzier. Why? Jet surfing!
- Downtown St. Pete has a new on-ramp for the interstate that should help workers in the Innovation district.
- A massive "pickers' collection" that purportedly includes some University of Tampa minaret parts will go up for auction this Saturday.
- The New York Times spent 36 hours in St. Pete Beach and beyond and writes this glowing recommendation.
Our picks for the weekend(s)
On Saturday, if you haven’t ever checked out the Rough Riders St. Patrick’s Day parade in Ybor, this might be a good year to try it. We find the parking’s easy at the garages, and the crowd vibe is very friendly. And there are lots and lots and lots of blingy, flashing baubles tossed from the floats. … And if you see Williams Park full of people on Saturday, it’s all for a Battle of the Bands contest.
On March 25, St. Petersburg welcomes a new Seafood and Music Festival in North Straub Park (across from the Vinoy). Could be worth a look since it’s only $5 at the gate. … And if you haven’t been to a spring training game yet, what are you waiting on?! There are several going on both Saturday and Sunday.