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Roundup 7-12-2019 – ish

July 10, 2019

No, you are not mistaken.  For a variety of reasons, Roundup has been posted a bit early this week.  It is summer, after all.

Contents

Tampa Heights –That’s a Surprise

Downtown/Channel District – 1001 Water Street

Downtown – Addition by Subtraction

Transportation

— St Pete BRT

— About Those CSX Tracks

— Gandy

Airport – A Little More

Port – Another

Economy/Economic Development – Spread the Wealth

And Again the Trees

Parks and Recreation

— Outside of Downtown

— Inside of Downtown

Economic Development/Ybor City – Cool

Economy – How Dynamic?

Rays

Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

___________________________________


Tampa Heights –That’s a Surprise

You may remember that the developers of the Heights proposed an 8-story parking garage/hotel/retail block south of the block on Tampa Street where they are building two office buildings.  Well, they have revised that plan.  Per URBN Tampa Bay:

BREAKING: Sprouts Farmer’s Market has been announced for The Heights District in Tampa Heights and the development is also adding a 25-story hotel/apartment tower to their plans.

The block, bound by Oak, Tampa, 7th Avenue, and Highland Avenue, was originally proposed (and approved) with a hotel, retail space, a parking garage which would serve a large portion of The Heights, and a grocery store topping out at 8 stories.

Now, the developer has revised those plans to include a 25-story tower, which would include the hotel portion and a new residential portion of the project. Specifically, here is how the block’s plans are being revised:

“a. Added Apartment Use- 273 Units
b. Hotel Rooms increased from 150 to 153
c. Retail increased from 7,400 sf to 8,664 sf
d. No revision to 30,000 sf grocery
e. Parking Spaces in Garage decreased from 1,572 to 1,433″

The lot is here. The apartment/hotel tower’s height is listed as 260 ft., which may seem to some a little tall for the area but there actually is a building two blocks away on Oak not that far from around 200 feet tall.  There is no reason this area should not have some density, especially if the streetcar is going to be extended.  We have no concerns about the height.

Also note:

Sprouts’ banner is shown on the elevations included in the new site plan. The inclusion of a specific grocery banner doesn’t necessarily mean that the developer has an official deal with that grocer; it could mean that negotiations are underway. It could also be conceptual, meaning that the grocers are targeting a specialty grocer similar to Sprouts.

On the other hand, making such a representation in a public document without any basis would be a bit odd.

Here are filed drawings and a site plan:

 

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

From Florida Future at SkyscraperCity – click on picture for post

First, the good.  Of course we like the increase in hotel rooms and the addition of apartments.  We like having a 25 story building.  We like that that building faces Highland.  We like the grocery store and other retail.  We also like the decreased parking.

On the other hand, we hope that the hotel/apartment building has a little more design that the initial drawings.  Needless to say the drawing of that building is quite bland and we are not sure Tampa is the best place for apartments without balconies.  We are also not sure the garage entrance on Tampa is the best idea.  We understand they have loading docks on Oak and the garage entrance on Tampa but we would rather have the part of the building facing Tampa be fully activated without curb cuts (especially if Tampa is going to have streetcar or BRT).

That is about as much as we can say right now.  We think the idea has a lot of promise and with a little work can be a very nice addition.


Downtown/Channel District – 1001 Water Street

1001 Water Street has broken ground.

Water Street Tampa has started construction on downtown Tampa’s first new “trophy” office tower in more than a quarter of a century, developers said Tuesday.

The project, a 20-story building at 1001 Water Street, will rise next to the new 13-story building nearing completion for the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute. It is expected to be complete in late 2021 and will have about 380,000 square feet of office space and retail, a green plaza shared with the USF medical school and a rooftop terrace.

 

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

This building fits very nicely into the overall development (and notice actual shade trees). We look forward to seeing it rise (and are curious who the tenants will be).

Plus

A massive overhaul of Sparkman Wharf is underway, and SPP also anticipates several other groundbreakings this year, including boutique hotel Edition Tampa and residential towers 1010 Water Street (475 units with ground floor retail) and 1077 Water Street (378 units with ground floor retail). A parking garage for both of those residential towers as well as the medical school will begin construction along with those towers.

They are definitely keeping busy (though we wonder about the size of that garage).


Downtown – Addition by Subtraction

The Riverwalk Place is progressing, sort of.

The developers of the 53-story Riverwalk Place will begin external demolition of the CapTrust building, a process expected to take more than a month and affect traffic patterns in downtown Tampa.

The developers — a partnership of Tampa’s Feldman Equities and West Palm Beach-based Two Roads Development — said on July 2 that they will begin external demolition on July 8. Internal demolition of the building has been under way since at least early May.

On July 5, the developers said via a spokesman that the demolition would not begin July 8.

Even with a small delay on external demolition, demolition is progressing.  However,

The developers did not say when vertical construction of the tower, which is set to include 288 high-end condominiums on top of parking and retail space, might begin. The tower has $90 million worth of condos reserved, the development team said in a May 2 Instagram post. The units are priced from the $600,000s to $2 million.

Hopefully, construction will closely follow demolition.


Transportation


— St Pete BRT

The St Pete BRT plan keeps moving along:

On Wednesday, PSTA unanimously approved a contract amendment of the preliminary engineering and final design services contract with H.W. Lochner by an additional $1.85 million, increasing the design part of the project to $3.55 million.

The original $1.7 million was projected due to the study during that time. There have been changes to the original plan and the board passed an amendment to increase the contract due to multiple factors such as making changes to the newly proposed terminus, moving nine stations, and proposed changes to traffic signals.

PSTA is addressing concerns from local residents and made a change to use 40-foot buses rather than 60-foot buses, and instead of the proposed Don CeSar location as the end-of-the-line stop, PSTA said it will move it to the county parking beach access on St. Pete Beach.

However, the contract only covers the first two phases and does not include unforeseen costs that could take place during construction.

* * *

St. Petersburg City Council members recently voted to approve $4 million in funding.

PSTA also unanimously approved the interlocal agreement and accepting the $4 million during the June 26 meeting. The local contribution is a step toward being eligible for receiving federal dollars.

So where are they?

The project is currently in 30 percent of design and it is expected to be at the 60 percent mark in fall. The entire project is estimated to cost $43.9 million.

Nothing has really changed.  We think this is a good project.  We also wish St. Pete Beach would work with PSTA, though we think other options could have been chosen when St. Pete Beach clearly expressed its opposition (even if the stated reasons for opposition are not very good).

We shall see what happens.


— About Those CSX Tracks

Sticking with St. Pete,

Land around rusty, broken railroad tracks near Tropicana Field forms a makeshift walking path toward the Pinellas Trail, and the City of St. Petersburg wants to connect it.

But the city is battling to block the owner of the half-mile railroad land, CSX, from selling it. Late last month, St. Petersburg filed a complaint in federal district court asserting that the city has the right to the land, which is next to municipal property.

* * *

The segment in question begins from the south side of 5th Avenue N and goes to Dr. Martin Luther King St. N. The segment provides a straight shot from 16th Street N near 5th Avenue to Central Avenue, right next to Ferg’s Sports Bar. From there, a short underpass connects users to the Pinellas Trail right by Tropicana Field.

* * *

“A piece of what they were talking about selling we already own,” Mayor Rick Kriseman told the Tampa Bay Times. “That was kind of problematic. That’s like you selling my house and collecting the money for it. It’s like, ‘Well, wait a minute. I own that.'”

The question is whether St. Pete does own it.  St. Pete’s claim appears to be based on this:

St. Petersburg says it has “continuously maintained and repaired portions of the Railroad Segment, without interruption” for longer than four years, which the city argues makes it entitled to the property under Florida law.

* * *

The city says in the event of “abandonment” of a rail line, “title to the Railroad Segment must necessarily vest in the City of St. Petersburg,” and is requesting a ruling saying so.

It also is requesting a judgement saying that CSX can’t sell the land without permission from the Surface Transportation Board, a federal regulator.

As usual, we are not going to comment on the legal aspects of the issue.  But there is a policy/political aspect:

In the short term, Kriseman said the city wants to use it as a bike and walking path and green space around it. In the long term, it could be a “great spot” for light rail that could go to the Tropicana Field site, he said.

Without saying anything about the legal claim, it is not clear why St. Pete did not make the claim before.  If you have ever walked around the area and/or looked at a map it is pretty clear that unused/remnant tracks run right up to and along the Trop parking lot. It is also obvious that the path would be good for a trail and even better for a rail line headed north.  Again, without saying anything about the validity of St. Pete’s claim, it would be a shame if this path were shut off because someone wasn’t paying attention or trying to be too crafty by half.

As it stands, we will have to see what the courts say.


— Gandy

Continuing with the Pinellas theme:

The state is seeking consultants to learn how the Gandy Boulevard-to-Westshore corridor could be improved.

The Florida Department of Transportation will be advertising a procurement to solicit bids for a project called the Statewide Accelerated Transformation Project Development & Environmental (PD&E) and Design for US 92/State Road 600/Gandy Boulevard from east of 4th Street to Westshore Boulevard. 

The contracted work is estimated to cost $8.2 million, the PD&E segment is estimated to cost $2.5 million and design is estimated at roughly $5.7 million.

So just what are they looking at?  From the description document (here):

2.0 PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND OBJECTIVES

The purpose of this project is to reduce traffic congestion and improve bicycle and pedestrian accommodations along US 92/SR 600/Gandy Boulevard from 4th Street North in Pinellas County to WestShore Boulevard in Hillsborough County including the US 92/SR 600/Gandy Boulevard bridges ID #300 and ID #585, a distance of approximately 7 miles. US 92/SR 600/Gandy Boulevard is currently a four-lane divided facility throughout the entire study area. This portion of US 92/SR 600/Gandy Boulevard is functionally classified by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) as an urban principal arterial and is part of FDOT’s Strategic Intermodal System (SIS). The improvements will consider grade separations at major intersections along the corridor and widening up to six lanes. Bridge widening and/or replacement will be evaluated as part of this project. Up to three alternatives will be developed.Managed lanes will be an optional service.

And regarding the “managed lanes”

The CONSULTANT shall consider the need for managed lanes (i.e., tolled or non-tolled express lanes, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, and truck/transit-only lanes, or special use multimodal lanes) when evaluating the impacts of widening Gandy Boulevard and the Gandy Boulevard bridges over Tampa Bay. The proposed improvements to extend the existing controlled access facility on Gandy Boulevard from 4thStreet North to the West Shore Boulevard including the Gandy Boulevard bridges over Tampa Bay and to provide for pedestrian and bicycle accommodations across Tampa Bay are identified in the Forward Pinellas 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan and in the 2018 Forward Pinellas Multimodal Transportation Project Priorities, respectively. The widening of the Gandy Boulevard bridges over Tampa Bay is identified in the SIS 2045 Multimodal Unfunded Needs Plan.

Somehow, “managed lanes: always turn into variable rate toll lanes, but they do not have to.  And they should not.

We have been for fixing this segment of Gandy for a long time.  What really needs to be done is finishing the limited access (not toll) connection between the bridge and I-275 in Pinellas (That is highway infrastructure improvement for where people actual live.)  The need is there.  The land is there.  Whether the will or political support is there remains to be seen.


Airport – A Little More

Airport construction projects are moving forward.

Tampa International Airport officially broke ground Tuesday on the second phase of its Master Plan expansion, including 16 new express curbsides tailored to passengers without checked luggage.

* * *

Curbsides nationwide have become more congested as air travel continues to increase along with the popularity of ridesharing.

Tampa International Airport is taking the issue head-on with innovative new express curbsides that will make the airport more efficient by allowing guests to bypass the ticketing level or baggage claim areas via a new vertical circulation building. The 16 new lanes include eight on the blue side and eight on the red side.

Departing guests will take an escalator or elevator straight to the transfer level, then hop on a shuttle to the airsides. Those without a boarding pass will be able to print one out along the way at conveniently located kiosks. Arriving travelers will be able to quickly access ground transportation without interacting with baggage claim activity.

The blue side curbsides are scheduled to be done in 2022. The red side curbs, which will begin once the airport’s current administration building is demolished, are scheduled for completion in 2024.

By way of review:

The airport’s Phase 2 Master Plan projects also includes a state-of-the-art Central Utility Plant that will help the airport run more efficiently and sustainably, a concessions loading dock, and the demolition of the airport’s old administration building. Also part of Phase 2 is the SkyCenter development area. This 35-acre site located near the Rental Car Center will be home to a new nine story office building, hotel, and new retail space. The area will also feature a connection to Tampa Bay’s regional trail system

The third and final phase of TPA’s expansion calls for the construction of a new Airside D.

The second phase is fine and needed, but, truthfully, we look forward to the third phase.

In other airport news, the airport worked hard for a long time to get west coast flights. Eventually it got them and the service is still growing. Recently United announced doubling its San Francisco service. Now, Alaska Airlines is adding another Seattle flight.

Alaska Airlines is offering another direct flight between Seattle and Tampa beginning in December. The flight, which begins Dec. 19, will be the second daily flight between the two cities and is part of a larger expansion of the airline’s Florida destinations.

Southwest has temporarily cut its nonstop to LAX because of the 737 MAX issues, but we expect that flight to come back.   Regardless, the growth is a good sign (and it should always be remembered that other areas are working to grow their service. See here and here)


Port – Another

There was good news from the Port, too:

Port Tampa Bay said Monday it is getting another weekly container ship from Asia, its third since December.

The new service will start toward the end of this summer and consist of a rotation of 10 ships carrying about 4,500 containers each, though only a fraction of those will be unloaded in Tampa.

* * *

. . . The newest service comes via a parternship between three shipping companies: Israel-based ZIM Integrated Shipping Services and Mediterranean Shipping Co. of Switzerland, which have shipped goods between Tampa and Caribbean for years, plus a newcomer to the port, Maersk, headquartered in Denmark.

* * *

The first ship in the new service is scheduled to leave Xiamen in southeastern China on Aug. 16, and call at Yantian in China, Busan in South Korea, then cross the Pacific Ocean and the Panama Canal on its way to Houston, Mobile, Ala., and Tampa before heading back west.

That is good stuff.  We are pleased with the growth and hope that service and demand increase in a virtuous cycle.

Between the three new ships, the port is targeting the delivery of 1,500 to 2,000 shipping containers per week, or 500 or more per ship.

“We know our market is large enough and this is going to be in demand,” port executive vice president and chief commercial officer Raul Alfonso said. For the 12 months ending in June, the port saw 97,000 containers, a 25 percent increase over the same period a year ago, so adding another thousand or more containers per week would represent another significant increase.

Just keep the positive news coming.


Economy/Economic Development – Spread the Wealth

Tampa’s new administration is starting an interesting new program.  From Florida Politics:

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is launching a new program aimed at making it easier and more convenient for local business owners to work with the city.

Castor on Monday announced a new “Bridges to Business” program that will send city officials out into the community to certify or register businesses with the city. 

The “vendor certification tour” includes staff from the city’s Purchasing Department and Minority and Small Business Development Office.

The goal is to meet entrepreneurs in the communities they serve in order to connect them to information about opportunities to earn city contracts, which could be a boost for local business owners. 

* * *

The first stop on the tour will take place July 13 at the Cyrus Greene Community Center in East Tampa from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  

At that event, business owners or their representatives can learn how to do business with the city.  Staff will be on-site to walk firms through the application process for minority, woman-owned, or small business certification. Prime contractors and nonprofit organizations will also be on hand to provide information on current projects.   

The event is free to city business owners or their representatives, but space for one-on-one certification is limited. Businesses can register at the city’s Bridges to Business Tour webpage to better ensure space. 

The City website is here.

While we still have to see how it works out, we really like this idea.  Done right, it can help any business gain access to potential contracts.  Hopefully, other local governments will do something similar.


And Again the Trees

There was news about tree ordinances:

The governor signed a new law that bans cities from regulating the removal, replanting, pruning or trimming of a tree on private property if a licensed arborist determines the tree poses a danger. Tampa city attorneys said the legislation removes the city’s arborists from the role of verifying dangerous trees and being involved in the pruning of trees through the permitting process.

They also fear that trees will be allowed to be cut down without any recourse from the city.

We understand that there are some things that require or are better served by some level of statewide rules because they implicate issues that cross jurisdictions (ridesharing or minimum environmental regulations, for instance).  On the other hand, some things are really of local concern.  Preserving and protecting the tree canopy is one of those.  Sure, there are things in the new Tampa ordinance to which someone might reasonable object.  But that is a local concern (remember when people said “local is better”)  It has nothing to do with Miami or Pensacola (or Polk).  Hopefully, this ill-advised statute will not do too much damage to Tampa’s canopy.

Which brings us to an article in the Guardian regarding the benefits of planting trees (see here).

Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on crop land or urban areas.

As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating. New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities, a figure the scientists describe as “mind-blowing”.

The analysis found there are 1.7bn hectares of treeless land on which 1.2tn native tree saplings would naturally grow. That area is about 11% of all land and equivalent to the size of the US and China combined. Tropical areas could have 100% tree cover, while others would be more sparsely covered, meaning that on average about half the area would be under tree canopy.

The scientists specifically excluded all fields used to grow crops and urban areas from their analysis. But they did include grazing land, on which the researchers say a few trees can also benefit sheep and cattle.

If true, that is relatively easy to do if your government does not prioritize sprawling development.  As the Governor said at his inauguration:

For Florida, the quality of our water and environmental surroundings are foundational to our prosperity as a state — it doesn’t just drive tourism; it affects property values, anchors many local economies and is central to our quality of life. The water is part and parcel of Florida’s DNA. Protecting it is the smart thing to do; it’s also the right thing to do.

We agree, with the caveat that, of course, all the environmental issues are connected – water, trees, pollution, etc.  That’s why we should also protect (and increase) the trees.


Parks and Recreation


— Outside Downtown

Speaking of trees,

According to a recent study from WalletHub, Tampa is the fifth-best city in the country for recreation.

The study rated cities according to 48 metrics of recreational value, such as basic living costs, recreational facilities, access to entertainment and the quality of the parks.

You can see the study generally here and methodology here.

Tampa scored 53.73 in this study, merely five points behind the top-scoring city, San Diego, which scored a 58.27. Las Vegas, Orlando and Honolulu are the other cities ahead of Tampa.

Tampa has the 13th-best weather and the 14th-best entertainment and recreational facilities. It only has the 36th-best “cost ranking” and the 74th-best quality of parks.

First, we need to point out that Tampa’s weather ranked 13th while Orlando’s ranked 28th.  We understand the two places do not have identical weather, but they are not that different.  Setting that aside, we get that we have outdoor activities.

According to the study, “neighborhood parks…are instrumental to building a sense of community, boosting property values, improving public health and reducing pollution.”

The city of Tampa’s Parks and Recreation director, Paul Dial, underscored the sense of community that the city’s parks foster.

“Parks are something that is there for all of us, regardless of age, regardless of backgrounds,” he said. “It’s something that’s there that is there for every resident to enjoy. With that, it pulls those communities together.”

The low ranking for quality of parks thing is interesting though, especially with so much money recently spent mostly on a few parks (which are, no doubt, nice but not really community parks).  We are not against having larger, central parks, but we think that both the City and the County could do a better job addressing having better facilities in neighborhoods.  That is not to say there are not some very nice neighborhood parks (and even large parks away from central Tampa).  There are.  But more need to be better.


— Inside Downtown

And speaking of parks:

City officials insisted that they removed the benches from Lykes Gaslight Square Park as a temporary measure to refurbish them and not to drive off the homeless people who rested there.

Whatever the intent, though, that’s been the effect, say homeless advocates and some of the neighboring business owners.

The number of people showing up for a free meal served twice a week at the park across from City Hall has dropped from as many as 60 to just 20 since the benches were removed in March, said Jen Derless, a volunteer with the Tampa chapter of Food not Bombs.

The City has another story:

As for the refurbishing the benches, that idea has been scrapped in favor of replacing them with cafe-style seating — small tables and chairs, said city spokeswoman Ashley Bauman. There’s no timeline for the work, though, Bauman said.

The city is working on the project with the Downtown Tampa Partnership.

“We’re excited about the potential because it is a pretty great space,” said Kelsy Long, partnership spokeswoman.

* * *

The trash cans and ping pong tables also are gone from Lykes Gaslight Square and the power is now shut off at city parks. People who used outlets there to charge a cell phone or wheel chair now have to turn elsewhere, Derless said.

The park is undergoing a facelift, Bauman said.

The ping pong tables have outlived their usefulness and the electrical outlets, installed to power public events, often were vandalized, she said.

The benches, Bauman said, are beyond repair.

We pretty much agree with the substance of what URBN Tampa Bay said on the subject:

. . . if you want to address the homeless problem, then by all means please do so. Just stop messing with us all by purposefully diminishing the allure of our urban parks to scare off the homeless. And stop installing hostile public furnishings that are uncomfortable for everyone to use. It is counterproductive, and to at least some residents, offensive to see their tax dollars spent in such ways.

The day these benches and other furnishings were removed from Lykes Square, the city should have had the replacements already on hand and ready to be installed. Every day that passes without this “renovation” of the park being completed only amplifies the city’s failure on this issue.

Whatever is going on at the park has been done poorly.  The fact that there was no stated plan and that it is taking so long without any substantive information gives the impression that either the City is not telling the full story and/or is disorganized.  While we understand that whatever is going on began under the previous administration, it is now the job of the new administration.  They need to get it worked out.


Economic Development/Ybor City – Cool

There was an article from the Business Journal regarding a cybersecurity incubator in Ybor City.  After an odd introduction, it tells us this:

“We like the history, the feel,” Sheffield, the founder of Undercroft, said. “It matches the culture of the computer community. It’s more behind the scenes.”

Undercroft is looking to follow in those historic footsteps by serving as a cybersecurity incubator, allowing companies to work in the 1320 E 9th Ave space while providing help as needed.

“I focused on workforce development with tech and entrepreneurs and with everything going on in Tampa Bay, we see the tech community booming,” he said. “And I think it will continue to boom and as it continues to grow, we need to keep pace by providing talent for the product they’re looking to bring to market.”

The bootstrapped organization will be helping a slew of cybersecurity professionals, from those running their own companies to others who want access to specialized equipment. The offerings range from helping “apprentices” who could be students or self-teaching build a portfolio of work, to those who have been in the industry for over a decade. Interested members can get their own dedicated offices or, similar to coworking spaces, have a shared area.

“To my knowledge we’re the only ones doing this [concept] nationally,” Sheffield said.

We actually like the concept and think it has a good bit of potential. (And we like the history and feel of Ybor, too) The cybersecurity field is not going likely to go away anytime soon and it seems that a cluster is starting to develop here.

“This is the kind of business we want to see here,” Travis Horn said at the grand opening and ribbon cutting Friday. “I want to commend everyone for coming together and creating something unique. [Ybor City] was a sprawling urban metropolis when places like Miami were just backwater. So we’re taking Tampa Bay back on the uptick, and innovation starts right here in Ybor City.”

Setting aside that being a sprawling metropolis is not necessarily a good thing, while certainly more developed than Miami in the early days and has more history than most urban areas of Florida, Ybor’s was hardly a sprawling metropolis. (It was not even its own city after 1887.)  And, for business purposes, is that even relevant?  We prefer a simple, memorable (and more accurate) sales pitch like “Ybor’s cool.  Cybersecurity is cool.  Let’s be cool together.”  When it comes down to it, that is what everyone is really trying to say anyway.


Economy – How Dynamic?

We ran across an interesting report regarding the economy: the “Most Dynamic Metropolitans 2019” from the Walton Family Foundation/Moving Heartland Forward (report here)

On page 4 of the pdf we are told:

Our Most Dynamic Metropolitan Index, and the analysis contained in this report provides objective insight into the communities providing economic opportunity for their residents, separating high performers from the low. Most Dynamic Metropolitans provides fact-based metrics on near-term and medium-term performance and prospects for long-term growth. The index allows economic development officials the ability to monitor their metro’s vivacity relative to others on a national basis or within their region and state. We also look through the lens of the Heartland—the 20 states in the middle of the nation—to discern its performance and understand practices that can boost economic prospects.

While international and national economic and geopolitical factors can influence growth patterns, the index provides an objective measure of whether local development strategies have the desired effect. Additionally, Most Dynamic Metropolitans aids public-policy groups, elected officials, academics, businesses and other researchers in monitoring and assessing metropolitan dynamism across the nation.

The Most Dynamic Metropolitan rankings are generated using performance-based metrics such as job growth, average annual earnings and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) gains and a new metric, the proportion of total jobs at young firms. The young firm employment ratio influences economic growth as new firms develop new products, services and advance innovation. It encapsulates information on the capability of entrepreneurs to start businesses and scale them—critical for future job and wage gains. For example, just four metros out of the top 30 and 12 out of the top 100 have a young-firm share below the mean of all metropolitan areas.

We include new data on regional price parities from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). These regional price parities are indexes indicating whether goods and services are generally more or less expensive than the national average. We use the indexes to adjust income measures for varying inflation rates and differences in purchasing power across metropolitan areas. Per-capita personal income reflects these adjustments and can be viewed as a measure of longer-term economic development because it is the stock of all prior welfare improvements.

Like many reports that include all metros and try to adjust for the cost of living, there are a few surprises – generally small metros in places you would not expect ranked higher than you would expect.  However, the Top 30 also includes many of the usual suspects (and a number of the smaller towns are relatively close to usual suspects):

Midland, TX; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA; Midland, MI; Elkhart-Goshen, IN; Bend-Redmond, OR; St. George, UT; Austin-Round Rock, TX; Greeley, CO; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA; Reno, NV; Provo-Orem, UT; Lake Charles, LA; Fort Collins, CO; Gainesville, GA; Wenatchee, WA; Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO; Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL; Boise City, ID; Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA; Boulder, CO; North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL; Coeur d’Alene, ID; The Villages, FL; Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN; Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX; Raleigh, NC; Redding, CA; and Charlottesville, VA

So, where are the big Florida metros?

Orlando is 39th; Miami-Ft Lauderdale-West Palm Beach is 59th; Jacksonville is 72nd; the Tampa Bay area is 113th. These are the Tampa Bay area’s rankings out of the 379 metros in the various categories  (pg 85 of pdf) with Orlando’s rankings in parentheses for comparison:

2016 Young Firm Emp. Ratio Rank: 97 (114)

2016 Per-Capita Personal Income Rank: 233 (332)

2013-2018 Job Growth Rank: 55 (7)

2017-2018 Job Growth Rank:  85 (12)

Dec. 2017-Dec. 2018 Job Growth Rank: 191 (19)

2013-2017 Avg. Annual Pay Growth Rank: 178 (111)

2016-2017 Avg. Annual Pay Growth Rank: 277 (205)

2012-2017 GDP Growth Rank: 95 (64)

2016-2017 GDP Growth Rank: 176 (161)

Do with it what you will.


Rays

Even the during All-Star break there were a lot of Rays articles, if not much news.  You can see a selection here, here, here, here, here, here, and  here. (And, if you are into baseball generally, you might be interested in this.)

One of the more interesting things we saw was actually a 2016 piece on demographics and the Rays.  We are not going to go over it here, but it is very interesting, especially when you consider that Hillsborough and Pasco have been growing at a good clip faster than Pinellas since the piece was written.  You can read it here.


Meanwhile, In the Rest of the Country

People like to argue that our car-centric development pattern is simply the result of the market at work.  Certainly some people prefer it and some people benefit from it.  But is it really just the market at work or is it pushed by regulation?  Recently, the Atlantic had an interesting article about how the law pushes a car-centric environment.  The law leans in that direction and support the interests that profit from it.

It’s no secret that American public policy throughout the 20th century endorsed the car—for instance, by building a massive network of urban and interstate highways at public expense. Less well understood is how the legal framework governing American life enforces dependency on the automobile. To begin with, mundane road regulations embed automobile supremacy into federal, state, and local law. But inequities in traffic regulation are only the beginning. Land-use law, criminal law, torts, insurance, vehicle safety regulations, even the tax code—all these sources of law provide rewards to cooperate with what has become the dominant transport mode, and punishment for those who defy it.

It is an interesting read, and you can find it here.

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