TAMPA, Fla. — It’s a piece that no longer fits the puzzle that is Downtown Tampa. That’s how marketers and stewards of the growing downtown district describe the sprawling site near the corner of S. Nebraska Ave. and E. Whiting St. that was once an old flour mill.
Friday morning, Mayor Jane Castor and other dignitaries will be in attendance as crews begin the process of dismantling the former Ardent Mills flour mill.
“The mill actually opened in the late thirties, so in the last 50 to 100 years here, downtown has evolved a lot from a working port in an industrial area to what is now becoming a thriving 24-7 live, work, play neighborhood,” explained Ashley Anderson, the Director of Marketing and Design for the Tampa Downtown Partnership.
According to Anderson, the flour mill has served as a physical barrier between the growth that’s happening in the Channel District and the Water Street area near Amalie Arena.
As crews begin to demolish much of the old mill Friday, Anderson and others see it as a positive step for downtown.
“It’s really just one more piece in that puzzle of that downtown Tampa story and how we’ve really grown,” said Anderson.
The site is owned by Strategic Property Partners, the same group developing areas of Water Street. Anderson says developers will likely bring the same vision to the site of the old mill and will possibly develop a mixture of apartments, shops, restaurants, and offices.
“I anticipate that that site will have a mix of all of that, which is what you’re seeing in all of the developments that are happening now,” she said. “Some of the silos will be kept for historic purposes and maybe repurposed into a development.”
The demolition will last a few months. Any development could take a few years.
In March, Ardent Mills opened a new flour mill in Gibsonton.