Bryan Roberts opened the Roosevelt 2.0 in Ybor City with a mission to bring the community together. Monday, the cooperative behind the Roosevelt announced its closing due to a lack of funds.
"Ybor is a tough spot for a place like Roosevelt," Roberts said. "It just wasn't financially sustainable. We're going to regroup and see where we stand now."
Redner Enterprises owns the building at 1812 N. 15th St. Roberts said he and his crew tried to gather enough investors to purchase the building (Redner Enterprises said the building is no longer for sale and they're negotiating with a new tenant). Roberts said maintaining the building cost the Roosevelt upwards of $6,200 a month. Coupled with costs of necessary renovations (more than $125,000), they decided it was time to move on.
Last week, the folks at Roosevelt won two Best of the Bay awards for their Twilight Market (which is currently seeking a new location) and Tampa's Zine Fest. Tuesday afternoon, Kevin Wilkes began taking down the Roosevelt's indoor farm. Wilkes has worked with Roberts, and partners Ami and Mike Bowen, since last August.
"It's horrible," Wilkes said. "There's no other place in Tampa where you can be a part of something like this. And it was in Ybor of all places. It was this shining beacon."
Wilkes is moving the urban farm to a private warehouse.
"It kills all of us," Wilkes said. "We did everything we could. Our blood, sweat, and tears to use the cliche."
But Wilkes and Roberts said the mission behind the Roosevelt will go on.
"The connections we've made are indelible," Roberts said. "A lot of great things that are still alive today that started out in that building. The relationships were the most valuable thing we built together."
Roberts said he'll take his waste-to-energy Cordis technology on the road, and without the $6,200 for Roosevelt costs, they'll be more "nimble." They're also working on developing a co-housing community in Tampa.
"Tampa needs examples of sustainable ways of living and operating around one and other," Roberts said. "That's the message behind the Roosevelt that will carry on. A talented group of people came together to make the Roosevelt happen, and we're moving forward together doing the same thing in a different form."
Roosevelt projects such as IamBadger.com will continue.
"We're not in that space anymore," Roberts said. "But we're far from gone."