TAMPA — Water Street Tampa called Wednesday for artists to send in their ideas for a big piece of public art for the outdoor plaza between one of the $3 billion project’s office buildings and the new University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute.
The art should reflect Water Street Tampa’s focus on health, the environment, science and medicine, said Strategic Property Partners, the joint venture between Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment capital fund.
The plaza is being designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects and is envisioned as an ecologically diverse and engaging urban space with islands of live oaks, a small curved stream and bald cypress trees typical of Florida floodplains.
The public art project has an estimated budget of $600,000 and an anticipated completion date in spring 2020. Proposals are due 5 p.m. Feb. 23. Finalists are scheduled to be chosen in March, and organizers expect to pick the winning design this summer.
Seeking designs now as opposed to later will help designers incorporate the art into the plaza, according to Strategic Property Partners spokeswoman Ali Glisson.
"This also allows Strategic Property Partners to better create a space that works as a whole and leverages costs" for lights, the foundation and similar expenses, Tampa arts programs division manager Robin Nigh said in an email.
The $600,000 project budget will come from several sources.
For starters, Strategic Property Partners will be required to contribute $400,000 to the city’s public art fund for two buildings, an office tower and a residential building, that will adjoin the plaza.
To that, USF will put in $100,000 through the art in state building program. Strategic Property Partners plans to contribute an additional $100,000.
When it opens in late 2019, the USF building will be home to an estimated 2,200 faculty, staff and students.
Water Street Tampa is planned to include about 2 million square feet of new office space, including the first new office towers in downtown Tampa in nearly 25 years, about 1 million square feet of new retail, cultural, educational, and entertainment space, 3,500 apartments or condominiums and two new hotels with more than 650 rooms. An estimated 23,000 people are expected to live, work or visit Water Street Tampa every day.
Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times