Events venue booking weddings before completion now forced to cancel

Armature Works in Tampa Heights cancels weddings
Posted at 6:23 PM, Aug 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-14 18:25:14-04

"Events Reimagined" claims the first image on the Armature Works website, but many Tampa Bay Area couples have been forced to re-image their wedding after their venue abruptly canceled on them.

The cancelations come after months of intense hype and anticipation surrounding the new events space, a 70,000 sq. ft. revived former TECO streetcar barn that is set to include not just events spaces, but a co-work space, an open space eatery called the Heights Public Market, two restaurants, and a rooftop bar.

At 1910 N. Ola Avenue next to Water Works Park in the historic Tampa Heights District, Armature Works is also expected to showcase original exposed brick, hard wood floors, and "stunning views" of the Hillsborough River and Tampa skyline.

And even though Armature Works hasn't even opened yet, it has already been featured in national publications as a must-see spot for visitors and locals alike.

In short, it seemed to some like the perfect place to have a wedding ceremony and reception, especially appealing for young couples looking for a unique venue.

"We really like old, but we like new," says Orlando Rosales. "And it was just like a perfect mixture."

Rosales and his fiancé Cayla Shupperd booked the venue back in December of 2016 with promises the construction at Armature Works would be finished with plenty of time to spare. But as the months flew by, the happy couple grew worried.

"Once a month or every other month asking, 'hey how are things going?' Is everything on target?' And she said everything is scheduled to be finished, nothing to worry about," recalls Shupperd. 

Shupperd and Rosales found out their wedding ceremony and reception location would be canceled just 3 months before their special day.

Armature Works confirms to ABC Action News that they have had to cancel several upcoming weddings, but wouldn't say exactly how many, or confirm any specific construction delay. 

Some Tampa Bay Area events coordinators confirm they have had several brides who have had to scramble to find a new locale. Shupperd and Rosales have as welll, but wanted to still warn other couples about their experience.

"They must have known they were running behind schedule," says Cayla Shupperd, whose wedding reception was originally scheduled to be at Armature Works in October.

Shupperd found out she'd have to find a new venue when she reached out to Armature Works herself to inquire about the progress. That's when she got the bad news which sent her scrambling to find an alternative location.

"It's very disappointing," says Shupperd. "They offered to pay for new invitations, but they haven't even followed up about that."

She adds that having to find a new site means many added costs, because it is such short notice, in addition to lots of additional stress.

"I feel bad for all the other couples dealing with the same thing," she adds.

The venue regularly posts updates on their progress on social media, but makes no mention of their timeline, except to say it plans to open sometime in 2017.

A representative for the venue wouldn't say if weddings in November were in jeopardy, but insists they are "focused" on completing the project later in 2017.