Tampa Housing Authority promotes Begazo-McGourty to CFO

Susi Begazo-McGourty has been promoted as senior vice president and chief financial officer for the Housing Authority of the City of Tampa.

Begazo-McGourty previously was chief internal officer. In her new role, she will manage and oversee a $423 million budget, and lead the finance, accounting, IT and contract administration teams for the organization, according to a People on the Move submission.

Learn more about the Housing Authority of Tampa’s executive team with Executive Files with Leroy… …read more

Vinik’s billion-dollar neighborhood in downtown Tampa will be designed as a place that fosters innovation

The urban planning consultants Jeff Vinik has hired to finesse the details of his billion-dollar development in downtown Tampa see their charge as creating more than a neighborhood — it’s about economic development.

The planners will determine the specifics of the vision the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled in December — everything from road and sidewalk widths to building heights, storefront spaces and the placement of tree benches. The sum of those details, they say, are what creates a walkable… …read more

What it will take to build a truly ‘walkable life’ in downtown Tampa’s Channel district

In their quest to build a walkable district in downtown Tampa, the urban planning consultants Jeff Vinik has hired recognize they’re up against a street grid that makes the existing neighborhood a scary place for pedestrians.

“It’s dangerous because the streets look and feel like they’re designed for going high speeds, because they are designed for going high speeds,” said Jeff Speck, the Washington, D.C.-based author of “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time.” “So one… …read more

Tampa metro rental costs growing at twice the rate of income

Rent in the Tampa metropolitan statistical area hasn’t increased as much as the national average over the past three years, but it is growing at twice the rate of income, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors.

Since 2009, rental costs in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area rose 12.89 percent, while income grew by 6 percent. It was the only local MSA in the study.

NAR analyzed housing costs, income growth and the number of owner-occupied homes in 70 of the United… …read more

St. Pete startup Check I’m Here shares lessons from SXSW

This week, Tampa Bay business leaders are reporting what they learned at South by Southwest, the annual technology, music and film festival held in Austin, Texas.

On Monday, two representatives with Transitions Optical, the lens maker based in Pinellas Park, discussed why they are sending a couple of employees out west.

Now, we hear from Kevin Mircovich, an engagement specialist at St. Petersburg startup Check I’m Here LLC and a University of South Florida St. Petersburg student. Check I’m Here… …read more

Downtown Tampa’s condo market tipping toward new construction

Downtown Tampa appears to be heading toward its next condominium boom, if prices can catch up with demand.

About 4 percent of the downtown condo inventory — 85 units — is for sale, said Dave Traynor, a vice president of real estate and developer services with Smith & Associates in Tampa. That point in a market is typically when new construction starts to happen — but prices are just shy of where they need to be for new developments to be profitable.

Condo construction would be a major endorsement… …read more

‘Are you guys for real?’ The credibility of Jeff Vinik’s billion-dollar real estate ambitions

When developer Bob Abberger took the stage at the Tampa Downtown Partnership annual development forum, it was to answer one question: “Are you guys for real?”

As managing director of Strategic Property Partners, Abberger is on the front lines of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik’s billion-dollar development plans. He said after his speech that he isn’t surprised to be asked that question routinely.

“We’ll continue to get it until we go vertical,” said Abberger, who was previously the Florida… …read more

How real estate investors see downtown Tampa: ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 6.5 to 7. It’s real, it’s happening’

There are two sides to a commercial real estate deal: The hard numbers that determine potential returns and the more emotional side — the story behind a market or property that convinces an investor to buy in.

In downtown Tampa, the story side of the equation is evolving, said Mike Davis, executive director of the capital markets group at Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc. Davis represented the seller in the $128 million sale of Tampa City Center in late 2014.

Developments like the waterfront… …read more

Real estate brokers’ forecasts signal sector opportunities

“Standard retail first and second generation space continues to dwindle away as tenants are forced to search for less opportunities at higher costs.”

David McComas, European Equities Corp.

“The multifamily market will continue to outpace all other segments of the market.”

John Burpee, NAI Tampa Bay

“Steady increases in all asset types in both rental rates per SF and sales price per SF. There will also be an increase in sales volume to levels not seen since the peak of the market in 2007.”

Deme… …read more

Ambitious Ford’s Garage restaurant/bar concept revving up in Brandon

Ford’s Garage restaurant and bar has flourished in the Fort Myers area, where the name Henry Ford resonates because the auto magnate had a winter estate there.

Now the owners are developing their third unit in a high-traffic area near Brandon Town Center, where Henry’s name doesn’t beep as many horns. “We did have that tie-in when we started — a lot of businesses use the Ford name down there,” said partner Zak Kearns. “But we’re confident of the concept. Ford’s Garage draws such a wide demographic.… …read more