In the West Tampa neighborhood between Howard and Armenia, just south of I-275, sat the long vacant Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, a facility once used by the National Guard. It later became an event venue which hosted concerts by icons such as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and Pink Floyd as well as speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John F. Kennedy.
By 2004, the building was mostly abandoned. Then the Tampa Jewish Community Centers & Federation began looking in South Tampa for a place to house a wide range of community programs and recreational activities. Repurposing the Armory into a premier state-of-the-art venue seemed like a perfect fit.
APG got on board early in the design process, working with Fleischman Garcia Architecture and Creative Contractors to take on this challenging project. The existing 83,500 cavernous square feet, with a solid concrete and granite structure, would undergo a $30 million transformation. The building expanded to more than 110,000 square feet, including an event center with a grand ballroom, a large commercial kitchen, a visual arts studio operated by the City of Tampa (where classes such as pottery, digital media, and jewelry making are taught), and a large fitness and aquatics center with multiple locker rooms, a full-size gymnasium with elevated running track, various exercise studios, a café, and three pool areas. The facility also includes a Florida-Israel Business Accelerator, administrative and clinical offices for Tampa Jewish Family Services, massage studios, and administrative areas.
This undertaking involved every APG group. Engineering provided the full Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Technology, and Fire Protection design through many phases and changes. Our construction teams provided all electrical, fire alarm, voice/data/video cabling, and access control for this project, under the field supervision of Brian Faller, Eric Talatinian, Matt Diaz, and Joey Key along with project managers Josh Smith, Dennis Kuhns, Kip Goulder, and Eric Brockmeier.
When the ribbon was cut and the doors opened on December 8th, visitors were amazed – a once abandoned behemoth had been transformed into a beauty. This striking facility also marks the beginning of a revitalization in the West Tampa neighborhood along the Howard and Armenia corridor. We are honored to have been a part of the team that brought this project to life and are proud of the hard work put into it by all involved!