Water Street Tampa parts ways with construction firms for first phase of development – Orlando Business Journal

The developer of Water Street Tampa has parted ways with most of contractors doing preconstruction work on the massive, mixed-use project, instead hiring a Miami firm with an Orlando office for most of the buildings in the district’s first phase.

Strategic Property Partners, which is controlled by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Cascade Investment LLC, is awarding most of the construction work in the first phase of its $3 billion district to Coastal Construction, the developer confirmed Tuesday.

In June, Strategic Property Partners announced the construction firms it had hired for the first phase. One of them was Coastal, which was to build apartments, condominiums and retail. Orlando construction executives Sean DeMartino and Robert Utsey opened Coastal office here and will work on Tampa project.

"SPP is excited to continue and extend our partnership with Coastal Construction as our single general contractor on the first phase of Water Street Tampa," Ali Glisson, a spokeswoman for Strategic Property Partners, wrote in an email. "As a Florida-based firm with extensive experience and success working on similar complex large-scale mixed-use projects, we are confident that we have identified the right partner to execute on our plans that shares our commitment to quality and to the Tampa Bay community.

"Our decision to use a single, primary general contractor was made in order to maximize coordination, consistency and efficiency across this very complicated, mixed-use development project — ensuring streamlined access to opportunities for Tampa-based contractors and vendors while minimizing construction impacts on the community."

A single general contractor, Glisson wrote, also allows for a "consolidated point-of-contact across all spectrums of the project."

A representative from Coastal Construction could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Coastal Construction’s projects include homes for Oprah Winfrey and Dan Marino, as well as several high-profile commercial projects in the office, hospitality, condominium and mixed-use sectors. Coastal Chairman and CEO Thomas Murphy Jr. is the father of Patrick Murphy, the Democrat who challenged Sen. Marco Rubio in 2016. The elder Murphy was the "financial muscle" behind the campaign, the Tampa Bay Times reported in May 2016.

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The first phase of Water Street is still on track for an early 2018 groundbreaking, Glisson said. The 26-story JW Marriott convention hotel and 815 Water Street, which includes apartments, condos and retail, will be the first buildings to begin construction, she said.

Kast Construction was among the previously announced contractors, slated to build a residential-and-retail building in the first phase. The firm was told in early January to stop preconstruction work on the project, said Page McKee, vice president of the Tampa market for West Palm Beach-based Kast.

McKee said Kast has been paid for "three to four months" of preconstruction work, which includes cost estimates and scheduling, among other planning work.

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Continental Contractors will handle renovations at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina. Creative Contractors Inc., based in Clearwater, will still handle the renovation of the former District 3 events venue into SPP’s new headquarters. Creative also is partnering with Tampa Bay Trane on the central cooling plant planned in the district.

EWI, based in Tampa, is handling the construction of a waterfront park where a portion of Channelside Bay Plaza recently was razed.

Skanska is building the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine, which is on an acre of donated land within Water Street. That construction project is under the purview of the university, not Strategic Property Partners.

Josh Bomstein, president of Creative, and Tim Hensey, a vice president for Gilbane Co. in Tampa, declined to comment. Representatives from the other previously announced contractors — Suffolk Construction, Holder Construction and Moss and Associates — could not be reached for comment.

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