In Tampa, Mayor Bob Buckhorn wants more people living in the city's urban core and continues to push programs to make downtown and the Channel District more enticing, particularly to young peopleOf course, more commuters drive to work in to Tampa than drive up to Pasco. Tampa has twice as many jobs as workers, as cited by the above article.
In Pasco County, commissioners want more jobs in bedroom communities like Wesley Chapel and Land O' Lakes, which now send a third of their population out of the county for work.
But, if Pasco grows its jobs base, things even out a bit. More jobs for the locals. Less commuters in Tampa traffic. Perhaps some Tampans will figure out if they commute north to Pasco, they will be driving against the traffic, and have a more enjoyable commute.
Embrace and invest where the people live. Sounds like a good idea.
|Saddlebrook Resort and residential community in Wesley Chapel|
The last decade saw the downtown population grow dramatically, from a few hundred in 2000 to nearly 6,000 today. A third downtown high-rise and a new multistory apartment building in the Channel District - complete with a potential grocery store - promise to push those numbers even higher.There has been some growth with more downtown residents. If people want the downtown lifestyle, that's cool, we're all about choice... and they still have to drive to a grocery store. But downtown is not without some challenges. Unfortunately, the Channelside Bay Plaza retail and entertainment complex is now a ghost town, and the Port Authority still holding out for a better deal after two developers backed away. It looks like it will be a long slow summer for those still trying to eek out some business at Channelside.
The city has acres of vacant property between downtown and Channelside to accommodate more residential and more office space.
"Unfortunately, they are the victims here,'' [Madison Marquette property manager Chuck Taylor] said. "They have their life's savings poured into this thing and have worked very hard.''
Madison Marquette has lowered rents based on documented sales figures but can't do much more than wait it out like everyone else, Taylor said. Under the management agreement, any new lease must stipulate that a tenant can be evicted with 30-days notice. Translation: Don't expect any new businesses to open in Channelside before this mess gets settled.
That's a harsh reality for stores and restaurants that rely on foot traffic. Forget getting a new tenant to take over the shuttered Channelside Cinemas. Or the still empty Stumps Supper Club. Or nearly all of the second level. For now, the center is more likely to subtract businesses than add them.
|Channelside Bay Plaza, looking for better days ahead|
[Richard] Gehring [Pasco's growth management director] sees the solution in the mix among live, work and play.
"What Pasco's trying to do is balance the triangle, so we're not all bedroom," Gehring said.
Seems like a decent formula... bring in jobs to were people are. How did they do that without massive transit subsidies? Or did they entice Raymond James and T. Rowe Price with tax subsidies? We'll save that for another day.
Gehring expects financial giants Raymond James and T. Rowe Price to help achieve that balance. Together, they've promised to bring more than 3,000 predominantly white-collar jobs to Wesley Chapel and Land O' Lakes, which currently have about three times as many workers as they have local jobs, according the census study. Some of those jobs will move up from Tampa, but the majority will be new, expanding the regional economy and taking some commuters off the highways.
Even if Pasco builds corporate centers in Wesley Chapel, "half the CEOs are still going to live in South Tampa," [Buckhorn] said.At least they'll be driving against the traffic from Tampa into Pasco, won't they?
But Saddlebrook is a lot closer.