TAMPA, Fla. (June 30, 2023) -- A section of the Tampa Riverwalk in front of the Tampa Convention Center will officially reopen at 6am on Saturday, July 1, after being closed due to construction on the center. This milestone marks the substantial completion of the Tampa Convention Center’s Capital Improvement Plan, the center’s largest renovation project in history, including an expansion to the venue.
The closure on the Tampa Riverwalk in Downtown Tampa started in October 2021 to ensure public safety during construction. Pedestrians and cyclists were accommodated by an abundance of directional signage to lead them on a detour around the facility.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience during this closure,” said David Ingram, Executive Director of the Tampa Convention Center. “The Riverwalk is a valuable asset to our location, and we are proud to help preserve and highlight it for residents and visitors alike.”
As a part of this project, improvements were also made to this portion of the Tampa Riverwalk, including new ADA ramps, railings, and updated LED lighting.
This closure allowed for the construction contractor, Skanska, to build a two-level addition on the façade of the Tampa Convention Center. This expansion spans 23,500 square feet, including 18 new waterfront meeting rooms that span 18,000 square feet.
Skanska teamed up with local architect Baker Barrios to design and build the Capital Improvement Project. It involved demolition of the existing exterior wall of the Tampa Convention Center to add the new event space. The work was required to be scheduled around ongoing events in the convention center, as the center remained open and continued normal business through the project.
The new meeting rooms take advantage of the spectacular riverfront views over the Tampa Convention Center Marina. They feature floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the sights for attendees. The rooms are available for venue rental starting in July, and Tampa Convention Center clients are already booking this event space.
The new rooms include removable air walls to give maximum flexibility to event planners. One floor can be used as an extension to the West Hall for events requiring additional space for exhibitors.
The Capital Improvements Project also included renovations throughout the Tampa Convention Center, including the modernization of the facility’s ballrooms and existing meeting rooms. Sustainability upgrades were also a priority, as the center invested in extensive HVAC updates to improve energy usage and costs and replaced older lighting technology with more energy-efficient LED lighting.
These renovations were the most comprehensive upgrades since the Tampa Convention Center originally opened in 1990. The expansion and improvements allow the Tampa Convention Center to remain competitive in the meetings and events industry and continue to be a major economic engine for the city of Tampa.
The total cost of the project was $44 million.
Tampa Riverwalk Attractions
The reopening of the Tampa Riverwalk makes it easier for pedestrians to access the many attractions along the Tampa Riverwalk. Across from the Tampa Convention Center is The Sail Plaza, featuring a waterfront bar and Big Ray’s Fish Camp on the Riverwalk.
This area of the Tampa Riverwalk also includes water attractions in the Tampa Convention Center Marina. The newest boating feature is the Bay Rocket, Tampa Bay’s only jet boat thrill ride. There are several other boating companies located in the marina, including the Pirate Water Taxi and the Tampa Bay Fun Boat. You can find a complete list and links to tickets here: https://www.tampa.gov/tcc/area-attractions.
For more information on the Capital Improvement Project at the Tampa Convention Center, including progress videos, go to https://www.tampa.gov/tcc/capital-improvements.