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Water Street Tampa first to achieve WELL D&O for communities

Designed by Gensler, 400 Channelside Drive features a 30,000-square-foot landscaped sky garden providing space for a daily connection with nature.

The heart and spine of the neighborhood, Water Street has been transformed into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly center of activity. (PRNewsfoto/Strategic Property Partners, LLC)

Water Street Tampa, the 56-acre mixed-use waterfront neighborhood that is transforming the city’s downtown, has achieved the WELL Design & Operations (“D&O”) designation under the WELL Community Standard, the first neighborhood to do so globally.

Grounded in its evidence-based approach, the WELL Community Standard builds upon the WELL Building Standard and aims to positively impact individuals throughout the public spaces where they spend their time. A WELL community functions to promote health and well-being across all aspects of community life.

Designed by Gensler, 400 Channelside Drive features a 30,000-square-foot landscaped sky garden providing space for a daily connection with nature.

The Water Street Tampa project helped inspire the creation of the standard in September 2015 when
Strategic Property Partners, LLC, the Tampa-based real estate development firm behind Water Street Tampa, joined President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative to make a commitment towards integrating wellness and sustainability into the all the places and spaces where we spend our time.

“Throughout the planning and design for Water Street Tampa, our team has been inspired by the vision behind the development of the WELL Community Standard, and we are incredibly proud to help pioneer this movement,” said James Nozar, CEO of SPP. “With the WELL D&O designation, we have achieved a milestone, and will continue to challenge the status quo in how wellness can be integrated into our neighborhood development and overall planning, design and operating processes. With the support of IWBI, we believe that Water Street Tampa has already proven to be a model for international learning in best practices.”

First introduced in 2017, the neighborhood-wide certification recognizes and honors neighborhoods – like Water Street Tampa – that implement design and policy strategies meant to improve the lives of their residents through the concepts of Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Sound, Mind, Temperature, Materials and Community. The WELL D&O milestone includes a review of the work already completed and validates the progress towards achieving certification.

Honoring its commitment to building, promoting and ensuring a comprehensive well-being at Water Street Tampa and fulfilling WELL Certification, SPP is employing various wellness- and community-focused measures throughout the neighborhood.

These initiatives include improving walkability, with sidewalk widths ranging from 14 to 45 feet, exceeding the City of Tampa’s requirements; comfortably-scaled building block sizes to promote pedestrian connectivity and an engaging ground-level experience; diverse activity programming such as yoga in the park to facilitate opportunities for physical activity; publicly accessible air quality monitoring data; filtered water bottle refilling stations to promote drinking water for overall improved health; curfew hours for public realm lighting to be dimmed where applicable, reducing light pollution; urban heat island mitigation through light-colored pavement and tree-canopy shaded sidewalks; urban water features, such as fountains, to moderate microclimate temperatures; recycling available throughout the public realm and in every building; celebration of place through native landscape, reinforcing local identity; increased digital connectivity with free public WiFi; a comprehensive public art and culture plan that intends to enhance civic pride and engagement; a publicly accessible community wellness center, as a neighborhood gathering place, with a demonstration kitchen that will be programmed with regular chef-led classes that will provide education on healthy cooking options; and an emphasis on providing access to fresh foods with a full-service neighborhood grocer to be located at 815 Water Street, in addition to regular neighborhood farmer’s markets.

“Across the globe, our communities are more than just where we live,” said IWBI Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “Our communities represent our culture, connect us with each other and help keep us safe. With this leading achievement, Water Street Tampa is at the cutting edge of this critical movement for communities by enhancing health and quality of life at scale.”

The vision for Water Street Tampa revolves around the philosophy that thoughtfully designed buildings are only as good as the spaces between them. Designed by Reed Hilderbrand, a Cambridge-based landscape architecture firm that serves as the master landscape architect, and master planner Elkus Manfredi Architects, a renowned Boston-based global firm, the vibrant waterfront neighborhood will feature public spaces designed to improve the health and wellbeing of those visiting, living and working within the neighborhood. 

Existing spaces such as Cotanchobee Park along the Garrison Channel waterfront, Thunder Plaza in front of Amalie Arena and the Tampa Riverwalk will be joined by new spaces, such as a rooftop lounge and terrace at the JW Marriott, a public plaza at the entrance of the USF Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute designed by renowned firm Nelson Byrd Woltz and a new public park planned at the intersection of Cumberland Avenue and Water Street, offering diversity of experiences, with sidewalk cafes, unique food and retail kiosks and spaces for programmed events and community gatherings.

In addition to becoming the world’s first community to reach the WELL D&O milestone, Water Street Tampa also intends to be LEED Neighborhood Development certified, which was created to shape more sustainable and well-connected neighborhoods.