High hopes for Tampa's Epicurean Hotel - WFLA News Channel 8

High hopes for Tampa's Epicurean Hotel

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The Epicurean Hotel is scheduled to open in the fall The Epicurean Hotel is scheduled to open in the fall

Developers hope a new hotel breathes new life in to one of the Bay area's more trendy districts. Wednesday night, city leaders helped celebrate the topping off of the roof at the new Epicurean Hotel on South Howard Avenue.

"Our downtown and the urban core, including the Hyde Park area, is electric," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "People want to be a part of this."

The 137-room boutique hotel that should open in November will focus a lot on food, since it's across the street from Bern's steakhouse and is partnering with it.

"I've never really built a hotel exactly like this," said Joe Collier, President of Mainsail Lodging and Development.  "It's culinary-centric so there's going to be a lot going on in terms of food and beverage. We'll have a lot of business travelers here during the week and then a lot of social activities on the weekends."

The vision: people will come here for cooking classes, the rooftop bar, wine shop, spa and the local exclusive club they can join.

"They'll get a membership card and they'll be able to come and be a part of Bern's, their wine collection, their wine cellar," Collier said.

But the bigger vision developers see is to make SoHo more of a place where people stay and walk.

"I think it's going to become much more pedestrian-friendly; much more pedestrian-oriented," Collier said. "In the next year, you're not going to recognize South Howard. We're pushing that with this hotel so you're going to look down Howard and it's going to look more like a tunnel because you've got buildings that have no setback that are very close to Howard Avenue... so, much more like a cosmopolitan city."

The mayor says it's a sign of Tampa's rebound after the Great Recession.

"The Tampa Bay area is leading the state in terms of new jobs created," Buckhorn said. "We've got half a billion dollars worth of projects that are coming out of the ground right now."

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