Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tampa Preserves Old Courthouse

The old Federal Courthouse in Tampa.  Soon to be
a boutique hotel.  Click for photo credit.
Tampa has a mixed record of historic preservation.  Its historic downtown was largely destroyed to make way for glass 80's and 90's skyscrapers that beautifully reflect the blue sky and clouds of the subtropic paradise.  However, there are some key historic buildings that remain including the Tampa Bay Hotel (now the centerpiece of the University of Tampa) and the old 1920's Tampa Theater.  There are also a number of important preserved buildings in other parts of town, particularly Tampa's old Latin quarter, Ybor City.

Several years ago, the old Federal Courthouse in Tampa was abandoned as the feds took over a new modern glass building in the city.  What do do with the old one?  It stood in the midst of some of the best real estate in Tampa.  Its inefficient air conditioning system and expansive tall rooms made it very expensive for the city to maintain.  No one wanted it.  There were mold problems and the space was just not modern by Tampa standards.  Some advocated tearing it down to make way for new high rises and others wanted more parking.

At the end of the day, historic preservationists won and the building will soon be opening as a boutique hotel.  Read about it here.

The greenest building is the one you don't build.

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