Tampa Florida is pioneering the development of an entire city district; 40 acres will convert into a mixed use development project. The development surrounds the Amalie Arena, where the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Tampa Bay Storm play. The project is expected to break ground in 2016, with $2 Billion earmarked for the renovations for the proposed healthy district. Delos and Strategic Property Partners, a joint venture of Cascade Investment, LLC and Jeff Vinik, will invest more than $20 million specifically for health- and wellness-focused, state-of-the-art technologies and design strategies for the project.
Tampa expects over 7,500 people to directly benefit by living and working in the area. The Mayor of Tampa, Robert Francis “Bob” Buckhorn Jr, envisions visitors benefiting and taking ideas back to their home cities. With over half the population living in cities and 90% of our time spent in buildings, the built environment has a profound impact on our health. The WELL standard is applied to a district exactly as it is to a building and has seven major categories including; air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. The city of Tampa shows great commitment and leadership towards building a healthy and sustainable built environment.
The district planners envision it as a shining beacon and example for all other cities to follow in the steps of healthy city design. “Tampa is proud to be the first city in the world to be home to a WELL Certified District,” Mayor Buckhorn said. “Our city will demonstrate that city design, not just building design, can be healthy and sustainable, and it will position our community as forward thinking.” All new buildings within the district will seek WELL certification including; a 400-500 room hotel, a 650,000 square foot signature office tower, the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute, and approximately 200,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space. The district desires WELL certification for the entirety of actual buildings.
Buildings are the location we spend over 90% of our time. The design and materials used in our buildings posses a profound impact on our health. Determined to improve rather than cause detriment to our health, the WELL Standard was developed. After a 2012 Clinton initiative meeting, Dalos and Strategic Properties Partners met and discussed developing a district-wide effort of buildings and interconnected space being WELL certified. Each and every building will conform in ways towards the WELL standard. These buildings are attracting interested parties and clients.
Reducing Risk Factors
The design of the built environment can positively or negatively affect the life expectancy of people. Living in a compact, connected and walk-able area promotes better health including lower obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. In order to encourage both air quality and fitness levels, the neighborhood is deigned with the concept of car free urban living and a walk-able 24/7 city district.
Aiming to reduce risk factor demands, the district focuses on a green infrastructure and improved walkways. The district must be as self-contained as possible. The mixed-use area already has designs for a section to promote healthy eating establishments, within walking distance to the office buildings. New, improved and wider bike paths are also aspects of the improvements to the areas.
Seeking to encourage the best air quality, comprehensive daily air quality monitoring, low-pollen trees and low-emission transportation are implemented. Constant monitoring will ensure the goals of air quality are met as well as any challenges are known immediately.
Current research suggests exposure to natural and scenic landscapes is directly linked to improved mood. In efforts to improve mental well being, the area will also receive sound barriers to reduce the effects of sound pollution. A green infrastructure and waterfront exposure, shielded from the sounds outside of the district, strives to reduce stress during time within the district.
Tampa Florida and three different organizations saw the need for vast improvements in the design of the urban built environment. The government of Tampa, the owners of the district as well as Dalos, the developers of the WELL standard, worked in conjunction to develop district wide health benefits.
The move positions Tampa as a leader in health design. The city actively seeks engagement in adoption of the WELL standard. Knowing the revitalization potential to drive economic growth, Tampa courts new businesses to establish offices and headquarters within the city. The health benefits are not just sought after by millennials, in fact it is sought after by nearly all demographics.
For more information about the WELL Building Standard, check out GBRI’s newest course titled “10 Things You Should Know about the WELL Building Standard” here.