Great Places & Spaces: Sparkman Wharf Update

Excerpted from Tampa Bay Business and Wealth story.

Strategic Property Partners unveiled new renderings of the ongoing development of Sparkman Wharf in downtown Tampa.

The existing park and dining garden opened in late 2018, which is now home to 10 restaurants, the Fermented Reality Biergarten and Splitsville.

Additional enhancements are currently under way, including replacing the existing security fence along the wharf and improving pedestrian facilities along Channelside Drive.

The ground floor will accommodate approximately 10 new retail stores, while the second floor will have 150,000 square feet of leasable, creative, office space.

SPP will relocate its company headquarters at Sparkman Wharf, including approximately 30,000 square feet of office space for staff and space for an interactive marketing center.

Franklin Street is handling the office leasing at Sparkman Wharf, Colliers is handling retail leasing and the renovation of the building is being led by Walbridge Construction.

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Inside Water Street Tampa’s office leasing strategy: ‘We’re future-proofing as best you can’

Excerpted from Tampa Bay Business Journal story.

With the construction of Water Street Tampa’s first office tower in full swing, the office leasing team is working behind the scenes to fill nearly 1 million square feet with a mix of national and local companies.

Strategic Property Partners — the developer of Water Street controlled by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Cascade Investment LLC — has an in-house team focused purely on the office space. The developer has also engaged JLL Inc. to both market the properties for lease and handle the property management.

The office space in the first phase of Water Street includes 180,000 square feet in Sparkman Wharf; 380,000 square feet in the 20-story 1001 Water Street and 500,000 square feet in the 19-story 400 Channelside Drive. JLL is handling the leasing of the two towers (Franklin Street is handling the office space within Sparkman Wharf).

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Lease sparks office activity at Water Street Tampa

Excerpted from Business Observer story.

In all, Sparkman Wharf will contain 180,000 square feet of office space, along with 10 restaurants and a biergarten.

The building will be the first of three new office offerings in Water Street Tampa, along with 1001 Water St. and a 19-story building at 400 Channelside Drive.

SPP is expected to move into 30,000 square feet in Sparkman Wharf, the former Channelside Bay Plaza, when office renovations are completed later this year. The restaurants and biergarten debuted last November.

SPP CEO James Nozar describes Sparkman Wharf as “an entirely new working environment that is unlike anything else in the city.”

Among its unique features, the building has 40-foot ceilings.

Nozar adds the two-story project will provide a “well-rounded lifestyle that reflects what Water Street Tampa is all about.”

Jackson, too, says RSM was drawn to Water Street Tampa’s new hotels, entertainment venues and overall lifestyle for its younger workforce.

“Our employees like the idea of being able to walk to work, of having multiple restaurants all around,” he says. “The concept of being able to have a work/life balance at Water Street really kept screaming at us the more places we looked.”

Jackson says, too, that he expects relocating to Water Street will help the firm recruit new workers — both from the Tampa area and from its other offices around the country in states like Illinois and Minnesota.

Commercial real estate brokerage Savills Inc.’s Chicago and Tampa offices represented RSM in the lease, while Franklin Street and JLL negotiated on behalf of SPP at Sparkman Wharf and 1001 Water St., respectively.

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Sparkman Wharf: A new experience

Excerpted from The Minaret story. Franklin Street’s Darrah Winkler serves as Marketing and Events Manager for Sparkman Wharf.

In November 2018, Sparkman Wharf, a new outdoor waterfront space opened in Downtown Tampa. Sparkman Wharf features 10 different food concepts and gives residents and tourists a fine dining experience outdoors. Additionally, live musical performances are provided on weekends to add to the overall ambiance.

“With so many different aspects to the property and so many unique guests, we truly hope that each guest has their own costumed experience,” said Darrah Winkler, marketing and events manager at Sparkman Wharf. “Whatever experience you as an individual are seeking, we have worked really hard to provide, so everyone can have what they’re hoping for.”

The location is separated into three dining arenas – Dining Garden, Beer Garden and Splitsville. The Dining Garden features restaurants like Edison’s Swigamajig, Flock and Stock: Chicken and Burgers, BT in a Box and The Corner’s Pizza. These chains are owned by some of Tampa Bay’s top chefs such as Edison from Edison’s Food Lab, Dave Burton, BT Nguyen, Noel Cruz and Branden Lenz, respectively, as well as Art Smith. Smith is a chef who won the James Beard Award twice and has partnered with Splitsville, bringing Southern comfort style food to their menu.

Other restaurants found at Sparkman Wharf are  locally owned businesses such as Whatever Pops and Bowls, Foundation Coffee, Boat Run and Montados: Tapas and Wine. Additionally, the Beer Garden has over 30 different craft beers on tap, craft sodas, wines and seasonal iced teas. Food prices range from $5 to $20 depending on what you order.

“I would not say Sparkman Wharf is unique compared to other places in the city like Armature Works,” said Bruna Ferreira, sophomore psychology major. “But, it definitely adds to the city and that style of community eating that is seen around Tampa. It has a friendly, family environment and their menu is very diverse, having everything from oysters to typical American food.”

According to Winkler, Sparkman Wharf’s main goals are lifestyle and helping the city of Tampa with its development, by giving those living around downtown somewhere to enjoy a nice day outdoors in the vibrant atmosphere of the place. Going beyond events like live music, movies on the lawn and  celebration of holidays, there will also be  fitness and wellness focused events like yoga on the lawn. She also stated that Sparkman Wharf will be expanding. Over the next few weeks, aesthetic and concept changes are going to be made to some office spaces.

“I think Sparkman Wharf definitely adds to the Tampa Bay Area by giving it a young, lively vibe,” said Anna Buccafuri, junior international business and management major. “It gives people something to do while waiting for a Lightning game to start, exploring the city, or just a night out. It’s very unique compared to other places, since they have their food places in trailers which is different from what I’ve seen before.”

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Water Street Tampa poised for a trio of new office offerings

Excerpted from Business Observer story.

Meanwhile, at Sparkman Wharf, a new two-story lobby is being installed in the 615 Channelside Drive project. The office space, with ceiling heights up to 40 feet, is being marketed to “creative and innovation-oriented tenants,” SPP says.

Bevirt says SPP also intends to relocate its offices in the building to 25,000 square feet in early 2020. Its offices will also contain a projectwide marketing center, he says.

The project also includes some 65,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, along with an open-air space for gathering.

Commercial real estate firm Franklin Street’s Tampa office is handling the office leasing efforts there.

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Water Street Tampa unveils plans for 1 million square feet of office space

Excerpted from Tampa Bay Business Journal story.

The Sparkman Wharf space is being marketed in the mid $40s per square foot; rents in the two new towers will be in the low to mid $50s per square foot, said David Bevirt, executive vice president of leasing and strategy for SPP. Both of those rents are all-inclusive but do not include parking. 

Top-tier office space in downtown Tampa, in trophy buildings with the most premier views, commands rents in the mid to high $30s per square foot.

Bevirt, who moved to Tampa from Washington, D.C., in March to spearhead the office portion of Water Street, says he doesn’t think a deal will be announced before 1001 Water Street breaks ground, but that an announcement could come by mid-2019.

Between the Sparkman Wharf and 1001 Water Street, Bevirt said there are active negotiations on a total of 500,000 square feet of the forthcoming office space. Of that, about one-third is from local companies; one-third is from companies with a statewide presence; and a third is from national companies.

“We feel very good about where we are in our projections for lease up,” Bevirt said. 

SPP has retained Jim Moler, a senior vice president with JLL in Tampa, to oversee the leasing of 1001 Water Street. Chad Rupp, managing director of office and industrial services at Franklin Street, is leasing the Sparkman Wharf space.

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Your complete guide to Sparkman Wharf

Excerpted from Tampa Bay Business Journal story.

A place to shop and work

Beyond the waterfront dining and biergarten, Sparkman Wharf will also contain retail and office space: 180,000 square feet of loft-style office space with up to 40-foot ceilings in the spaces that were previously occupied by a movie theater and other entertainment concepts.

The office space is being marketed at record-high rents for Tampa Bay. Chad Rupp, a Franklin Street executive who’s overseeing the office leasing at Sparkman Wharf, said the gross rent is in the “mid to upper $40s” per square foot.

Gross rent is all-inclusive. The highest office rents in downtown Tampa are currently in the mid $30s; the overall asking rent for top-tier space is $31 per square foot, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

“We’ve had reactions on both ends of the spectrum,” Rupp said. “Some recognize the uniqueness in the opportunity and what it could mean for their business and recruiting top talent. Others obviously have sticker shock based on historical rents in downtown.”

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Vinik’s tech hub headed to District 3 in downtown Tampa, SPP shuffles RE plans

Excerpted from Tampa Bay Business Journal story.

When Vinik’s vision for the tech hub first went public in late 2017, it was to occupy anywhere from 40,000 to 75,000 square feet of office space in what was then Channelside Bay Plaza.

The question now is where SPP will locate its headquarters and sales center. The sales center is of particular importance as SPP prepares to break ground on 815 Water Street, a mixed-use building near the Tampa Bay History Center that includes 196 condominium units.

One possibility is that SPP could occupy a portion of the new office space under construction in Sparkman Wharf, said Chad Rupp, managing director of office and industrial services at Franklin Street.

Rupp is overseeing the leasing of office space in Sparkman Wharf, which will include 180,000 square feet of loft-style office space with up to 40-foot ceilings in the spaces that were previously occupied by a movie theater and other entertainment concepts.


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Sparkman Wharf: Tampa’s waterfront destination for work, outdoor recreation, and dining

Tampa, Fla. – Strategic Property Partners, LLC (“SPP”), a Tampa-based real estate development company, today unveiled plans for Sparkman Wharf, a creative mixed-use redevelopment near Water Street Tampa. Sparkman Wharf was born from the former Channelside Bay Plaza retail center, located along the Garrison Channel in downtown Tampa.

Sparkman Wharf combines approximately 180,000 square feet of reimagined, waterfront loft-style office space with 65,000 square feet of refreshed ground level retail oriented towards a dynamic park-like environment, which will feature an intimate dining garden, biergarten, and lawn for recreation.

Currently under construction by Tampa-based contractor EWI, the grand opening of the dining garden, biergarten, and recreational lawn is planned for October 2018.

Feel a spark? Follow @SparkmanWharf on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or sign up for the newsletter at to stay up to speed with everything planned for Sparkman Wharf.

The Lawn at Sparkman Wharf: A place to have a group chat – in person.

Sparkman Wharf’s expansive lawn overlooks the waterfront, and will offer engaging activities, games, and recreation throughout the week with plenty of space to just sit, relax, and enjoy the view.

Extending from the lawn, guests will be able to enjoy food and drink on the wharf or simply delight in a walk along the water’s edge.

To bring live music to the park, Sparkman Wharf has partnered with Gasparilla Music Festival to program it as a bandstage, celebrating local artists who are making their mark on this community and beyond. Be sure to check for information on upcoming musical events.

A substantial 9.5-foot by 17-foot LED screen will showcase a range of programming, including TED talks,

Tampa Bay Lightning games and other local sports teams, and movies on the lawn at dusk.

The Dining Garden: Go al fresco.

Tucked under large shade trees, the intimate dining garden will feature ten of Tampa’s best chefs and restaurateurs. While the chefs and restauranteurs are well-known in the Tampa Bay community, they will be experimenting with new street-food concepts and menus not found anywhere else in the area. 

Each culinary concept will be housed in a repurposed shipping container wrapped with visually engaging murals inspired by the Florida habitat, painted by local design firm, Pep Rally.

Sparkman Wharf is pleased to announce the first two of ten concepts in the dining garden: Foundation Coffee, a well-known area coffee purveyor, and Whatever Pops, whose popsicles and other cold treats will be perfect to enjoy on the lawn and along the Riverwalk.

“Foundation Coffee is incredibly excited and proud to be a part of Sparkman Wharf. It’s refreshing and inspiring to work alongside great minds with confidence that the goal is to not only support local businesses but to also connect the entire Tampa community in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. That aspect alone is why we are committed to this project and believe in its unlimited potential and future,” said Jason Smith, owner of Foundation Coffee. Learn more about @foundationcoffeeco on Instagram and Facebook.

“We are beyond excited to be part of Sparkman Wharf. Truly, we are happy-dancing in our kitchen! Whatever Pops is all about cheerful foods that are thoughtfully prepared, and celebrating our home, the city of Tampa!” said Steve McGlocklin, owner of Whatever Pops. For more on the coolest popsicles in Tampa Bay, find @whateverpops on Instagram and Facebook.

Details about the eight remaining concepts will be shared in the coming weeks.

The Biergarten: Offering shade and summer shandies, all year-long.

Fermented Reality, an open-air biergarten, is planned to become a destination for a waterside draft. With over 30 taps emphasizing Florida craft beer — wine, ice tea and natural soda will also be available.

Fermented Reality will be run Joel Bigham and Daniel K. Charley.

“We are students of our trade and take great pride in learning as much as we can about craft beer and passing that along to our customers. Everyone desires to be part of something bigger than themselves, and the vision for Sparkman Wharf combined with Tampa’s top culinary talent made this project hard to resist being a part of. My partner, Dan Charley, and I feel honored to be part of this exciting time,” says Joel
Bigham, founder of Fermented Reality. Stay tuned with what’s on tap by following @frbiergarten on Instagram and Facebook.

Situated adjacent to the lawn and dining garden, a 3,000-square foot covered bar will provide an intimate space to sit in the shade and enjoy a drink with flexible seating, outdoor televisions, and a cooling mister system.

Office Space: Work works better on the waterfront.

The existing building is being transformed into loft-like office space. The re-imagined light-filled offices with up to 40-foot ceiling heights will overlook the water and feature private outdoor terraces exclusive for the office tenants’ use. The office space is unlike any other in Tampa and is being specifically targeted to creative and innovation-oriented tenants, who often seek this type of unique space. 

Beginning this Winter, the existing Mediterranean style façade will be completely updated to a more industrially-inspired exterior. A new two-story office lobby will be located mid-block along Channelside Drive, providing a new identity and centralized, direct access to the office space.

With approximately 180,000 square feet of rentable office space, Sparkman Wharf is the next chapter in the world of work downtown. Construction has already begun on the office space and will continue through 2019, bringing new energy and new tenants to this iconic location.

Franklin Street is handling the office leasing at Sparkman Wharf. To connect with the leasing team, please visit

Sparkman: The game-changing legacy.

Sparkman Wharf is named after Stephen Sparkman, one of Tampa’s original movers and shakers. A true disruptor in every sense of the word, he brought innovation and transformation that pushed the boundaries of what was being done in the city at the time.

As the region’s first congressman, Sparkman secured the federal funding to dig the deep-water channels to downtown, creating Port Tampa Bay and allowing larger ships to come closer to downtown and historic Ybor City.

With its physical wharf, Sparkman Wharf draws on the area’s industrial and maritime history and the complex’s proximity to the waterfront.

Stephen Sparkman forever changed the economic and physical landscape of downtown Tampa. In his legacy, Sparkman Wharf celebrates the disruptors, the people who do things differently and push our city forward.

About Sparkman Wharf:
Sparkman Wharf features approximately 180,000 square feet of reimagined, spacious loft-style office space, 65,000 square feet of ground-level retail, and a one- acre dynamic park-like environment, which will feature an intimate dining garden, biergarten, and lawn for recreation, situated in a relaxed, outdoor setting along the Garrison Channel in downtown Tampa. The dining garden will feature ten of Tampa’s best restauranteurs and chefs experimenting with new culinary concepts. Sparkman Wharf is owned and operated by Strategic Property Partners, LLC, the partnership between Cascade Investment LLC, and Jeff Vinik. SPP is a full-service commercial real estate development firm based in Tampa, Florida. Feel the spark? Learn more about Sparkman Wharf at and follow @SparkmanWharf on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. 


Office space in Water Street’s Sparkman Wharf is under construction at a pivotal point for the downtown Tampa market

Excerpted from Tampa Bay Business Journal story.

Chad Rupp hasn’t finalized the formal marketing materials for the office space in Sparkman Wharf, but there’s already so much interest in the property that he wishes he had “double” the 180,000 square feet to lease.

“I’ve had tremendous interest, even though we’re doing soft marketing at this point,” said Rupp, managing director of office and industrial services at Franklin Street.

Rupp is overseeing the office leasing at Sparkman Wharf — known previously as Channelside Bay Plaza — for Strategic Property Partners. SPP on Thursday unveiled redevelopment plans for the property that include not only office space but also 65,000 square feet of retail space, a dining garden and a biergarten.

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