New restauarant, Ulele, breaks ground at old Tampa Water Works building

Seen as key piece to riverfront development

TAMPA, Fla. - Starting in 1903 and for the next 30 years, Tampa Waterworks pump station number three provided drinking water to the city.

"This was the water my great grandfather, and my grandparents used to make garbanzo bean soup," Richard Gonzmart told those gathered at a press conference inside the historic building.

Now, Richard Gonzmart and the Columbia Restaurant group are  partnering with the City of Tampa to bring Ulele to life. The name comes from a Native American Chief's daughter and later a nearby spring - which will also be rejuvenated.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been vocal about developing along the Hillsborough River waterfront.

"I recognize the historical significance of this and I recognize the importance to the waterfront.  This will be the anchor on the northern end of our waterfront.  The city's going to redo the park, we're going to reclaim the spring," Buckhorn said.

"I can imagine that my family were drinking the water from this building in what was once a proud area;  we're going to once again build that pride and self esteem," Gonzmart said.

The city is providing a long term lease and  The Columbia Group is paying to renovate the nearly 10,000 square foot building.

"This building will provide the synergy and the energy to anchor the Tampa Heights and the north end of our river.  A river that we've turned our back on for decades.  A river that is now emerging as the center of our urban experience," Buckhorn explained.

Project leaders say the Ulele restaurant will be complete and open for business in the Spring of 2014.

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