Aunt, Uncle and I decided to venture out on the first Tampa Tour of Urban Homes Saturday. Seems with all the residential condos/lofts, etc. being built in downtown areas, it was decided amongst many Realtors to put on this tour, and it was a great idea. It gave typical Tampan's an idea of what it would be like living in an Urban environment and downtown/channelside/ybor city. We started at the Box Factory Lofts in Ybor, a historic factory turned into Lofts. There were about 9 units available, some with Courtyard views of the pool area, and some facing the streets. Very spacious lofts, but there is a mix a old historic pieces of the loft with brand new construction material. The lofts on the street are directly on the street, and did not have any kind of patio. An interesting building. Then we headed to Channelside(it would have been nice if they had the Streetcar schedule and maps handy for this tour). Ventana, Grand Central, Meridian and Victory/Model-T Lofts were open for viewing. Ventana was very nice, great pool and sun deck, enormous club house. 2 were being shown and both had balcony's, but the view was to the North on these being shown, and all you could see was the Crosstown traffic, but just below was an oil/gas station that made a large noise, we were told they were making it green space eventually. Grand Central gave a different feel, one of the largest pool decks, there were even cabanas you could purchase in addition to owning a condo. 12 units were being shown in Grand Central, each one was different. Some had balcony's and patios. some you couldn't even open a window. My favorite were the tow bedrooms on the top floor looking South to the Cruise Ships. Meridian and Victory Lofts showed off the loft style amenities, we viewed a 1.2 million dollar loft with nice views of downtown. These did not have as many amenities(pool deck) as these other in Channelside we viewed. We then went downtown to Skypoint which was giving guided tours in groups of 12(I felt like I was in Disneyworld). Skypoint has to be one of the best residential buildings I have seen, almost like living in a resort. The numerous amenities and state of the art facilities were excellent. From a very large pool area, and also outdoor sitting/relaxing green space on the 5th floors, 2 separate gym area(one cardio, the other weights), very large entertainment/club area with media rooms, bar, billiards. The units were a little small, but the floor to ceiling windows gave great views of downtown. Our last stop was Residences on Franklin Street. These were VERY large, in a great location of Northern Franklin Street. There are so many residential areas sprouting up all over downtown/channelside and ybor, and we could tell that 5 years from now, Tampa would be a different place in these areas as many retail/restaurants/bars open up for business.
After the Urban Tour, we headed to a Tampa Seafood classic, The Collanade Restaurant on Bayshore Blvd. This place has been around since 1935, and offers some of the best views of Tampa and Hillsborough Bay. It is seafood in a very nice family type atmosphere, nice spacious dining area, large windows, and a rustic sort of smell to the place that says it has seen its day. At 5pm, the place was packed. Every type of seafood is listed on the menu, and all come with sides like salad, slaw, potatoes, etc. We all tried the Stuffed Grouper, Bay Scallops, and Salmon/Stuffed Shrimp combo platters. The food was very good(I have seen mixed reviews), and definitely worth coming back. Service was very prompt and friendly.