Another ground breaking on Encore, an affordable housing and retail project in downtown Tampa

Officials break ground on new housing and retail

TAMPA - A quick look from the corner of Nebraska and Cass in Tampa, and most of the area looks like you could put up a sign that says "Welcome to Desolation Blvd."

But look again, and listen.

The sound of cranes and construction crews are busy at work.  And today, to mark what has been going on, there were speeches and another ground-breaking.

The City of Tampa broke ground Tuesdayon another phase of a project called "Encore."

Encore, translated from French means "again."  Again, they are putting up a new affordable housing district in the area, and those behind it believe it is the right fit for the right space.

"It's been a long time coming," said council member Frank Reddick.

His section of Tampa is District 5.

"We all should be proud that we are making progress in a low economic development community. I can't wait to see the hole project complete."

Part of the project is almost complete, a Residential/Retail building called Ella.  It has 160 residential units, with 35 already leased, along with retail space, all set to start moving people in December 18.

And that is just the start.

Jerome Ryans, president with the Tampa Housing Authority, is very encouraged with the ground breaking on "Trio" and sees the project as something very special for the entire city.

"Actually I think it is going to be the center of downtown," he would tout, and then sell, "I think people need to realize and understand that there is a real opportunity here. Get on our waiting list, get prepared, because we are going to build more units here."

When it is all said and done, there will be five apartment and retail buildings, a grocery store, a hotel, two office complexes, a condominium area, as well as a history museum, which could transform this area from "Desolation Blvd." to a "Street of Dreams."

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