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In NYC, Jeff Vinik announces that his new development will be the first WELL Certified city district in the world

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

At the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York City on Tuesday, Jeff Vinik’s Strategic Property Partners (SSP) announced a partnership with the Delos Corp. to create the first WELL Certified city district in Tampa.

You might be asking what does that actually mean?

Many people know about LEED certified buildings — those are green buildings that reduce stress on the environment by encouraging energy and resource-efficient buildings.

Delos is a company that created WELL certification, a performance-based building rating that focuses on human wellness.

Delos and SPP will invest more than $20 million specifically for health and wellness-focused, state-of-the-art technologies and design strategies for the project.

“We think accomplishing WELL certification in our district really will position Tampa as a global leader in both health and wellness, as we try to make our city one of the great cities in the country,” said Vinik in a conference call on Tuesday night.

The WELL Building Standard encompasses seven basic concepts. For certification, interior environments must address air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. The base level focuses on air, reinforcing the importance of healthy indoor air quality, as we spend close to 90 percent of our time indoors.

Officials tout that “Vinikville” will serve as an example to the world that a city design can be healthy.  Additionally, the community itself will become the world’s first WELL Certified city district and will feature design and technology strategies including enhanced walkability, abundant green space including low pollen trees, sound barriers to support acoustic comfort, access to healthy foods, green infrastructure, daily monitoring and reporting of district air quality, and access to the amenities of an urban waterfront.

Delos founder and CEO Paul Scialla said he was in Tampa for other business about six months ago when he was told about the Vinik project. He quickly asked for and received a meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning owner, and Vinik said he was so blown away he had Scialla come back and address his entire staff the following day.

Also revealed on Tuesday was the not insignificant fact that the Vinik development — touted since last December as a billion-dollar project, has now doubled to $2 billion. The Channelside developer says the project has evolved from the “vision plan” to the “master plan,” and the $1 billion initial investment is now just the first phase.

“Frankly, it’s grown. We see phase one of the plan, which will take three to four years, being over a billion-dollars in itself,” he said. That will include a new hotel, at least one office building, approximately 1,000 residential units, a USF school of Medicine and Heart and Health Institute.  Also about 200,000 feet of retail, restaurants and entertainment venues, as well as renovating the Channelside complex and the Marriott Waterside Hotel.

 

That will take three to four years, and then phase II may develop, mostly in residential units and more retail shops.

Vinik denied that the emphasis on health foods means that there would be a grocery store  being built inside his 40 acres, but did say that he wants to offer fresh fruits and vegetable located throughout the district, including at the Amalie Arena for Lightning games (which might be a stretch for the average NHL fan to stomach). “Put fruits and vegetables and health food at the front of the line, so people fill up their plates on that, rather than on the less healthy alternatives.”

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn traveled to the Big Apple to participoate in the unveiling of the partnership at the Clinton Global Initiative, which was announced by Bill Clinton. He said it was a natural extension of what the city has been doing during his tenure, mentioning the creation of bike share and opening up the Riverwalk, which has made it a city more open for people to explore. He said he couldn’t list how much the city will be investing in the Vinik project.

Scialla waxed rhapsodic about how the district will now evolve.

“If you can intelligently infuse the fastest growing and most important industry in the world, health and wellness, if you can infuse that into real estate, and think about our built environment and our communities as the places that we are impacted by most, whether its our homes, our offices, our schools, how we commute to work, how we spend our day, an appropriate infusion of medically vetted science, with regards to health and wellness amenities, features, protocols,, what have you, can have a gigantic impact from a social benefit …and can also represent a really unique economic opportunity and a value ad proposition, particular with regards to a differentiating mechanism to have quite a unique offering.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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