TAMPA - Al Austin has passed away at the age of 85.
According to his long-time assistant, Austin was found Thursday morning in his bed.
Largely responsible for the development of the Westshore business district beginning in the 1960s, Austin was one of the most prominent builders and developers in the Tampa Bay area.
He was also heavily involved in politics, and often called one of the area’s most important Republican fundraisers. Many consider him to be the driving force behind landing the Republican National Convention in Tampa in 2012.
Co-workers said he had no illnesses, and that he had been coming into the office every day. The news came as a complete surprise.
Al Austin's passing today allows us to be thankful for his determined leadership given to Tampa and the GOP 4 many years. Hugs 4 Beverly!— Kathleen Shanahan (@kmshan) May 22, 2014