Downtown Tampa Salvation Army will sell properties, renovate existing admin building

The nonprofit will remain in South Tampa Heights.

click to enlarge Downtown Tampa's Salvation Army, which the nonprofit hopes to have remodeled by 2020. - Ray Roa
Ray Roa
Downtown Tampa's Salvation Army, which the nonprofit hopes to have remodeled by 2020.

Plans are preliminary, and the zoning process must still be completed, but Tampa’s Salvation Army is going to sell three of its downtown properties — a 23,00-square-foot shelter, warehouse and parking lot — and then use part of the money to renovate its current, nearly 100-year-old administrative building that sits on the corner of Henderson and Florida Avenues.

The warehouse is two blocks south of the admin building at 1428 N. Florida Ave., and the shelter known as Red Shield Lodge is catty-corner from the administrative building. The Salvation Army has been in what some are now calling South Tampa Heights for more than 60 years.

"If [the properties] are liquidated we have an opportunity to see the fruit that comes from that property that we have in the area," Captain Andy Miller of the Salvation Army told WFTS. "The market is such now that we think this is the best time for us to optimize using the capacities and resources God has given us to accomplish the mission he has given us.”

The plan is to permanently move the current, 150-bed Red Shield Lodge — which can only fill about 120 beds due to funding constraints — over to the renovated administrative hub, which would house roughly 180 beds are serve as the nonprofit's one-stop downtown headquarters.

The shelter will exist at the admin building — located at 1603 N. Florida Ave. — during the remodel and sale, which the nonprofit hopes is done by 2020. All kinds of non-homeless folks are excited about the sale and what it means for the rapidly changing neighborhood that’s seen foot traffic slow down after the Salvation Army stopped operating a soup kitchen a couple of years ago.

"The Franklin Street corridor is on the verge of significant redevelopment opportunities that will reflect and complement the existing neighborhood of Tampa Heights and the area around the Tampa Riverwalk," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a statement. "Whatever remaining social services exist should tailor their activities to enhance this reality."

"I think there’s a lot of support for what we’re doing," Miller told the Tampa Bay Times, adding that Red Shield Lodge guests must show they’re working to get back on their feet. "Our relationship with the Tampa Heights Civic Association, the businesses on Franklin and on the Riverwalk is evidence that we’re good neighbors."

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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