Tampa — Supermarket Opening Favors Streetcar
The Tampa Tribune in an editorial says the opening of a Publix supermarket in the Channel District may give a boost to transforming the TECO heritage streetcar line from a tourist-oriented service into a car line that transports commuters. Publix has more than 1,100 stores in the Southeast. The paper feels that the opening is a sign that the downtown area is now acheiving a critical mass of residents. For years various supermarket chains had declined to build, indicating there were too few residents. Now, current and planned projects are expected to double downtown residential units from 6,000 to 12,000 in the coming few years.
Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has started a $2 billion redevelopment of 40 acres near the Amalie Arena that will include commercial and entertainment venues to go along with the residential component. All of these developments are supportive of the study currently underway to convert the existing heritage streetcar line into a full transit facility.