Tampa Convention Center
|Tampa Convention Center|
|Address||333 S. Franklin Street|
|Owner||City of Tampa|
|Total space||600,000 square feet (56,000 m2)|
The Tampa Convention Center is a mid-sized convention center located in downtown Tampa, Florida at the mouth of the Hillsborough River. It has both waterfront views of Tampa Bay and views of the city's skyline. Harbour Island is across the eponymous bridge on the other side of the Garrison Channel. The center is connected to the neighboring Channelside District and Ybor City via the TECO Streetcar Line, which has a station across the street. The center encompasses 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) in total.
The Convention Center is built on the historical site of Ft. Brooke, the original American outpost on Tampa Bay established in 1824. The community of Tampa slowly grew around the outpost, which was active until 1883, when it was decommissioned by the United States Army and the land was sold for private use.
The location was used for various commercial and industrial purposes until the late 1980s, when it was cleared to make way for a new convention center to replace Tampa's aging Curtis Hixon Hall. Construction began in early 1989, with the city of Tampa paying the $140 million cost by issuing municipal bonds. It opened in October 1990.
The city's original development plan called for the Tampa Convention Center to be built concurrently with a large hotel. However, financial difficulties and problems with developers caused this portion of the plan to be delayed until 2000, when the 27-story Tampa Marriott Waterside, the city's largest hotel, opened less than a block away on the Garrison Channel. In 2006, more adjacent lodging was added when a 20-story Embassy Suites hotel opened directly across Franklin Street. The newer hotel is connected to the convention center via a skybridge.
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