They're big, made out of tens of thousands of bricks and — in many cases — either rundown or vacant. But the couple of dozen surviving cigar factories that dot Ybor City and West Tampa made this region what it is, creating the first industry at the turn of the last century and instilling a vibrant Hispanic culture. Today, a debate lingers about whether Tampa officials should designate the former factories as historic structures or allow owners to do what they will with them. The Tampa Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects addresses the matter in "Preserving Tampa's Historic Cigar Factories," a panel discussion featuring factory owner Nick Jammal, West Tampa businessman Jason Busto, the city of Tampa's historic preservationist Del Acosta and preservationist architect Stephanie Ferrell. Thurs., July 20, 11:30 a.m., Lozano Cigar Factory, 1410 N. 21st St., Ybor City, $20 (reservations required), 813-229-3411.