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Ask any business person worth their weight in salt, and they will tell you that lots of them are keeping their eyes on Tampa.  Quietly, steadily, Tampa is starting to take shape as a new urban center which may be on the verge of a boom which would dwarf the first two, the ones that actually put Tampa on the modern map.

Boom number one took place in 1969 with the opening of Tampa International Airport.  It was a monumental moment for the city as it unveiled a masterpiece of modern aeronautics ~ an airport so advanced, so cutting edge, it would be decades before another even remotely as efficient would be accomplished, and some say, still hasn’t.

The opening of TIA was just that ~ the opening of central Florida to the world.  Massive, new tourist attractions needed people, and TIA brought them.  As Disney World and Busch Gardens boomed, Tampa became the gateway.  To this day, Tampa International is recognized as one of the world’s best airports and voted THE best by travelers, consumer groups and the travel industry itself for decades.

Boom number two came in 1976 as a direct result of boom number one.  Tampa was on the move in the 70′s.  People were discovering its historic neighborhoods, colorful festivals, great food, beautiful weather, friendly people and easy lifestyle.  Then, the NFL discovered Tampa.  The arrival of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ushered in the big one ~ a boom so impactful, Tampa was on the lips of every developer, real estate agent, bank, and progressive, upwardly-mobile young professional in the country.  Tampa became known nationwide by its new slogan:  “TAMPA: America’s Next Great City.”  The skyline exploded, cultural events bloomed, and people poured into the city, swelling the population and making Tampa one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic cities on the globe.

Is boom 3 lurking?  Is it waiting in silence for some magical switch to be flipped?  Many economists say yes.  Tampa is prime real estate ~ developed urban Florida land surrounded by water.  Thanks to the economic downturn, the area is full of homes in foreclosure or short sale.  In other words, incredible investments are at the doorstep.  As it appears, people are once again discovering Tampa for its endless financial possibilities.  Add to that all the planned and approved development on stand by, and the financial influence and contribution of the University of South Florida ~ now recognized as a top-tier research university with more than 1.3 billion dollars in local economic impact.

One of the most exciting projects on the books is “The Heights Tampa.”  A massive parcel of land on the Hillsborough River just north of downtown, this development is expected to bring a flood of people, businesses and money to the center of the city. The property already hosts numerous events including art walks, fashion shows and specialty functions that have brought people into an area that until recently had been left in disrepute.   Florida’s High Speed Rail connecting Tampa to Orlando is another massive project which will leave a futuristic mark on the landscape.  And the possibility of bringing professional baseball to downtown Tampa is a thrilling proposition for almost anyone here.

Tampa is also emerging as a blue-chip technology, information and banking force.  Many companies have recently chosen to relocate their business or offices to the city because of its cost-effective operation practices, tax base and ample work-force, yet another advantage of USF.  Ironically, TIA has a proposed expansion plan that could usher in this boom, too.

This is an exciting time to be in Tampa.   BIGTAMPA.COM is here for it.   Come on, everyone….BOOM!

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