From ‘Good Bones’ to a Hatred of Cars, Here’s What Drives the Developer Behind Downtown Tampa’s Micro Apartments

Tampa Bay Business Journal

When real estate investor Omar Garcia first toured West River Flats in Tampa, there was raw sewage in some of the apartments, the roofs were bad, and it was a known hangout for drug dealers.

Garcia saw right through the mess.

“It was solid concrete block,” he said. “You’ve gotta look at the bones. If it has good bones, you can do a lot with it.”

Garcia and his partners in Urban Core Holdings LLC closed on that property in December 2014. Today, it’s 100 percent occupied with a significant waiting list, and a popular housing choice for University of Tampa students.

With that project complete, Urban Core Holdings is turning its attention to another real estate transformation: The redevelopment of an old office building at 220 E. Madison St. in downtown Tampa into 120 micro apartments, between 300 and 400 square feet each. If the group’s vision is fully realized, the building won’t have any parking, and the majority of residents won’t own a car. (A waiver from the city, which is subject to city council approval, is required to convert the building to apartments without parking spaces.) Read more.