By: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read November 2020 — The state of today’s world lends itself to being hyper focused on personal wellness and well-being. The emphasis on wellness has trickled down to businesses and organizations, which have had to become much more aware and adjust their operations to integrate best practices. But the idea of integrating wellness into the very fabric of an organization, company or even an entire community, long predates the current pandemic. In fact, wellness is one of the primary pillars and focuses of Tampa Bay’s large-scale community development, Water Street Tampa.
The up and coming wellness-focused community is not only the largest development project in Tampa Bay, it is one of the largest Downtown real estate development projects in the United States. The $3-billion project is helmed by a partnership of development company Strategic Property Partners, which is owned by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, and Cascade Investment Fund, which was founded by Bill Gates. Construction for Water Street Tampa began in 2016, with vertical development starting in 2018. Now, with more than 5 million square feet of vertical construction done and even more on the horizon, the Downtown community has remained on schedule to complete its first phase in 2022. This first phase includes new Class A office towers, like 1001 Water Street, hotels including the first five-star hotel offering in the region, 70 restaurants and retailers and over 1,000 new residential units spread throughout multiple locations.
The neighborhood’s commitment to wellness is not merely a marketing tool, as the leaders for the project worked to have their 56-acre community certified. Water Street Tampa is now the first neighborhood in the world that can boast WELL precertification under the WELL Community Standard. The WELL Community Standard’s goal is to create a positive environment and impact for people who spend their time in a community’s public spaces, as well as promoting wellness and health within community life.
The design of Water Street Tampa lends itself to promoting a wellness-focused lifestyle as the project has been built with the intent of creating an urbanized environment that is pro-pedestrian and designed with walkability at the forefront.
CEO of Strategic Property Partners James Nozar spoke with Urban Design Forum about Water Street Tampa being the first to earn the WELL Community Standard Certification and why it has committed to wellness within the project.
“For us, a focus on wellness is really just about being responsible long-term owners of real estate. From the outset, we planned on creating comfortable outdoor spaces, walkable blocks, open air spaces, diverse areas for recreation, and designing with wellness in mind. Our vision naturally aligned with the WELL designation,” Nozar said in the interview. “We are also pursuing WELL certification on a number of the new buildings under way, and LEED certifications at the building and neighborhood level. Again, the reason is because we believe there is great alignment in the objectives and criteria of these certifications with our long-term vision for the neighborhood and those who will live, work and visit here daily.”
While it may have taken a pandemic to show the world the benefits of an increased emphasis on wellness in society, Water Street Tampa has and will continue to have the foresight to develop a community in which wellness is not just preached but practiced.