Best Of 2013

Best renovation boom: Downtown Tampa’s history in the re-making

Tampa's Federal Courthouse, soon to re-open as Le Meridien.

With preservationists like Stephanie Ferrell continuing to show the way, Downtown Tampa’s innovative repurposing of older buildings is outright thrilling. The grand Federal Courthouse is undergoing complete renovation and will open in April 2014 as Le Meridien, an elegant hotel and restaurant. On the corner of Ashley and Kennedy, the mid-century modern IBM building is forging a new identity as the Aloft hotel catering to tech-savvy travelers in early 2014. Just up the Hillsborough River, the city’s original waterworks building is morphing into the Ulele, a new restaurant centered around a giant grill or parilla.