The Corners will open a new New York-style pizza place at Water Street in downtown Tampa

It's the second location for Corners, which brought Detroit-style pizza to Sparkman Wharf.

click to enlarge The Corners will open a new New York-style pizza place at Water Street in downtown Tampa

After bringing Detroit-style squares to downtown Tampa, Sparkman Wharf’s Corners Pizza is expanding to the nearby Water Street development. A Tuesday night press release says that a new location will be called “3 Corners Pizza,” as a nod to the New York-style slices it’ll specialize in.

“I worked in the New York City restaurant world for 20 years, but Tampa is my home, so it’s particularly exciting for me to bring those worlds together with this new dining concept.” Corners founder Noel Cruz wrote.

Cruz is known for bringing two Ichicoro ramen locations to town along with c.1949 Beer Garden and the forthcoming Ganchu Korean fried chicken restaurant in Seminole Heights.

The 2,500 square-foot, 120-seat 3 Corners will live at 815 Water St. and include both a full bar and extensive patio area.

click to enlarge The Corners will open a new New York-style pizza place at Water Street in downtown Tampa

Water Street is Lightning owner Jeff Vinik’s 56-acre mixed-use neighborhood that'll feature 9 million square feet of new residential, commercial, hospitality, retail, educational, entertainment and cultural space downtown. The development is one of several in the U.S. to make use of the since-departed Trump administration’s “opportunity zone” incentive baked into Trump’s 2017 tax plan.

The tax plan was supposed to create jobs by handing over $1 trillion in tax cuts to corporations and our nation’s billionaires. But since Trump knew he also had to appeal to the proletariat, a portion of the plan was dedicated to things called “opportunity zones,” which would supposedly create jobs and housing opportunities for our nation’s poorest residents.

But a report from ProPublica found that a few of Florida’s richest residents lobbied then-Governor Rick Scott for this lucrative tax break. Despite taking the tax break, it became clear in November 2019 that Tampa’s poorest residents wouldn’t be able to afford to live at Water Street. In response to the report, Jeff Nozar—CEO of Strategic Property Partners (SPP) which is developing Water Street—told reporters that the first 1,350 units at Water Street would be “market rate housing,” and that “the housing that we’re providing is in the range of 50%-80%of median area income.”

The problem there was that “market rate housing” in Tampa is already incredibly overpriced for the area’s poorest residents, the very people the tax break was supposed to eventually benefit. In October 2019, the market rate rents for last October in Tampa averaged $1,339 (up 3.6% from the previous year). This means that people interested in living in Vinik’s development would have to make at the very least $53,467 per year to avoid being “rent-burdened,” which means you pay no more than 30% of your income on housing. Someone making $53,467 a year hardly qualifies as one of the area’s poorest residents.

As predicted, rent at Water Street isn’t cheap. At Heron, where 3 Corners will live near a Publix GreenWise Market and retail, rent for a 545-square-foot one-bedroom starts at $1,918 per month.

Creative Loafing Tampa Bay has reached out to PR reps for SPP for any updates about the way Water Street might be fulfilling its opportunity zone obligations in 2021.

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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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