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According to the Tampa Bay Times the Westshore Marina District has gone from 52 empty acres to hosting the first group of what will be hundreds of new homes over the next year, as $1 billion in development begins to bear fruit. "It's very exciting,'' said Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen, "we have the opening up of a whole new waterfront community, and the Gandy connector is going to be a huge alternative for people who are now getting off Gandy (Boulevard) and cutting through residential neighborhoods to get to Westshore and downtown Tampa.''

Tampa is in the midst of several transformative projects, led by the $3-billion-plus redevelopment of the southern part of downtown and the revitalization of the city's long-neglected riverfront. But with St. Petersburg blossoming at the same time, it was inevitable that areas closer to Pinellas County would also see dramatic changes. The most striking of those is Westshore Marina District.

In 2006, a developer announced plans for a huge community near Gandy and Westshore boulevards, kicking off sales with a buffet, open bar and Cirque du Soleil-style performers. Buyers put down deposits on waterfront condos costing up to $2 million in what was to be called New Port Tampa Bay. The Great Recession killed that project, and the land sat idle. Five years ago, South Florida developer BTI Partners acquired title, changed the name and began selling tracts to other companies.

At a champagne reception earlier this month, Miami-based WCI revealed the first four townhomes in what will be a 35-home community-within-a-community dubbed Inlet Park. Prices start in the $400,000s for the three-story residences, built in a contemporary coastal style with Bermuda shutters.
WCI, a high-end subsidiary of Lennar Corp., eventually will have a total of 140 townhomes in the marina district, many with water views.

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