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Water Street Tampa: Massive $3B Project Funded By Bill Gates' Cascade Investments

Water Street Tampa will transform the city skyline.

With maxed-out prices pushing people away from New York, Miami and San Francisco, developers are seeing opportunity in smaller cities.

That is true in Tampa, where Strategic Property Partners, owned by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates' investment fund, Cascade Investment LLC, is due to break ground next month on a $3B mixed-use development that will change the city's skyline.

With Vinik acting as the public face of the property during the past two years as the project has been publicly discussed, residents had resorted to calling it “Vinikville.” But in June developers revealed it would be called Water Street Tampa, highlighting the area's central artery.

The massive endeavor has 10 architectural firms working on 18 buildings, including office towers and 3,500 residential units, a mix of condos and apartments. The complex will also include the University of South Florida's Morsani College of Medicine, a convention hotel, a boutique hotel and a renovation of the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina.

Because air conditioning units will be housed in one central cooling facility, the building rooftops will be used for terraces and restaurants. The first phase of development spans 10 blocks and more than 25% of the project's area — 50 acres — will function as public space.

Developers hope to have the project wrapped up by 2020 before Tampa hosts the Super Bowl in 2021.