Developers of Tampa Bay 1 predicted a spring 2000 groundbreaking back in 1999, when they announced plans for the $240-million project that would include offices, a hotel, stores and pricey condominiums at the junction of Tampa's N Dale Mabry Highway and Interstate 275.
In fall 2001, the Bromley Cos. of New York said crews would start laying foundations within a month.
The 17-acre site still sits waiting. But Tampa Bay 1 developers and marketers think 2004 is going to be their year so they're trying to stir up interest.
On Dec. 31, Bromley pulled construction permits from the city - good for six months, plus optional six-month renewals - for the two office towers, totaling 700,000 square feet. The company also put up a billboard on the interstate promoting the project and plans more in the months ahead.
The trigger for Tampa Bay 1 is the same as ever: landing a corporate anchor tenant for at least 100,000 square feet of office space.
Then, Bromley can begin an aggressive construction schedule, finishing the offices in 18 months and the rest six months after that, said managing partner Josephine Vitale. "We are ready," she said.
Tampa Bay 1 was delayed by a city site plan review that took 18 months, Vitale said. Then, the commercial real estate market faltered as the economy soured, leading companies to lay off workers or at least shelve relocation plans.
Office vacancy rates in Tampa remain just under 20 percent. But commercial real estate professionals say they're getting more inquiries, both from out-of-town corporations checking out the area and local companies looking to move.
"There's a lot of tire-kicking going on," said Robin Bishop, who is marketing the office space for Tampa Bay 1. "It is in the cards. This is our year."