For Pat Kelly, taking the helm at the Westshore Alliance feels like a full-circle moment.
Kelly, regional managing partner of Franklin Street, was named president of the board of directors at the alliance’s annual meeting in late February.
Kelly has been involved with the district since the early 1980s, when Florida was requiring any large-scale development to seek a status known as development of regional impact or DRI. At that time, the DRI review process was meant to ensure local and state governments worked together to manage growth, and every new building proposed in Westshore would have been designated a DRI. Instead, Kelly and other real estate leaders joined forces to form the alliance and have the entire district certified as one DRI.
“Our primary reason for coming together was to create some efficiency,” Kelly told the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
Now, Kelly is working with the alliance on several initiatives to improve pedestrian access and connectivity throughout the business district, which has seen an influx of residential development in recent years. He spoke with the Business Journal about Westshore’s post-pandemic future. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Congratulations on the new post. In terms of taking on the leadership of the alliance — why now? We are coming out of a cycle that was as interesting as we’ve ever seen in our industry, meaning the pandemic. When I look at all of the walkability factors we need to implement, it’s all about creating a place where people want to be and walkability. I just think it’s appropriate. Our day is now. As you’re well aware, most of the emphasis last cycle was on downtown, and now I think Westshore is going to be perfectly positioned for the next cycle.