Best Of 2006

Best Architectural Facelift: Mahaffey Theater

Mahaffey Theatre (Photo by Alex Pickett)

When plans for the overhaul of Mahaffey Theater began, a study determined that the adjacent Bayfront Center was obsolete and the squat, hulking eyesore was demolished in December of 2004. Mahaffey’s much-anticipated $20-million facelift began several months later and continued to the theater’s May 14, 2006 ribbon cutting, which revealed a sleeker, more visually appealing structure designed by Clearwater architecture firm Aude, Shand & Williams. Aside from necessary maintenance and upgrades to the roof, wiring, air-conditioning and plumbing, renovations included adding 30 seats the theater, extra restrooms and concessions areas to the lobby, and making improvements to the ballroom-banquet-meeting area. The most marked change, however, is the expanded, multilevel lobby, a light and airy space with windows overlooking the sprawl of lawn where the Bayfront Center once stood, and running the length of the lobby almost all the way to its “signature component”: an elegant atrium with three-story glass windows that provide a spectacular view of Tampa Bay.