V.M. YBOR — A former Clearwater-based firm, Design Styles Architecture, has opened its new headquarters in a renovated Columbus Drive grocery store dating to the days of Ybor’s prominent cigar factories.
Company representatives last year rezoned the property at 1708 E. Columbus Dr. after scouting locations in Clearwater, Dunedin and the Westshore area. They liked the potential for growth in East Tampa and V.M. Ybor, especially.
Decades ago the Spoto family owned the store and lived on the second floor.
The building is energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly and is under review for gold standard LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, said Jason Dickens, a partner with Design Styles. If approved, Dickens said the former grocery store could become the city’s first historically renovated structure to receive such recognition.