Tampa’s ‘Meatyard Ybor’ could include more than 50 affordable art workspaces and gallery

It's named in honor of Jerry Meatyard who was a painter and sculptor in the historic district.

click to enlarge Open Workshop for Architecture's work on Meatyard Ybor will also involve the warehouse behind the Dave Gordon & Co historic structure. - PHOTO VIA CITY OF TAMPA
Photo via City of Tampa
Open Workshop for Architecture's work on Meatyard Ybor will also involve the warehouse behind the Dave Gordon & Co historic structure.
Plans are still in the site review phase, but an Ybor City warehouse could eventually be home to approximately 55 affordable art workspaces plus gallery space.

A representative from the Tampa Arts Alliance of told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that The Meatyard Ybor—located at 1728 E. 2nd Ave.—is named in honor of Jerry Meatyard who was a sculptor in the historic district and professor at Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor Campus from 1969 to 2001. Jerry—which is what his students called him—died in 2016 at the age of 86.

Together with his wife, architect and artist Jessie Shell, architect and photographer Fadi Garcia is working on the renovation and restoration of the old Dave & Gordon Co. building on 2nd Avenue and 18th Street (now known as Angel Ovia Sr. Street).

He told CL that he has a preliminary plan meeting with the City of Tampa next week and an approximately month-long process with the historic district’s Barrio Latino Commission after that. His work will also involve the warehouse behind the historic structure.
click to enlarge Architect and photographer Fadi Garcia is working on the renovation and restoration of the old Dave & Gordon Co. building on 2nd Avenue and 18th Street (now known as Angel Ovia Sr. Street). - PHOTO VIA GOOGLE MAPS
Photo via Google Maps
Architect and photographer Fadi Garcia is working on the renovation and restoration of the old Dave & Gordon Co. building on 2nd Avenue and 18th Street (now known as Angel Ovia Sr. Street).
“The building is pretty much the same,” Garcia said, noting that Dave Gordon & Co. used to manufacture parts for the orange grove industry. A 1946 clipping from the Tampa Tribune shows the Dave Gordon & Co. also used to sell diesel engines, light plans, nozzles and more.

“It’s always been a place of makers,” Garcia added.

His company, Open Workshop for Architecture, is tasked, in part, with recovering elements from the original Gordon & Co. days, including storefront windows and awnings. “Exteriorally, we’re going to get it as close as possible to the original.”

Garcia has experience in the field, too. Almost a decade ago, he worked with Maureen Ayral to renovate a historic building on the corner of Franklin Street and Henderson Avenue in Tampa Heights. That building is the former home of the Hall on Franklin food hall (and future home of Urban Hawkers Asian food hall), plus CL offices and Full Moon Branding’s Sunset Room on the second floor.
click to enlarge Garcia's company, Open Workshop for Architecture, is tasked, in part, with recovering elements from the original Gordon & Co. days, including storefront windows and awnings. - PHOTO VIA CITY OF TAMPA
Photo via City of Tampa
Garcia's company, Open Workshop for Architecture, is tasked, in part, with recovering elements from the original Gordon & Co. days, including storefront windows and awnings.
It’s too early to tell how much rent will be on the artist spaces (which aren’t live-work, by the way), but Garcia said the owner of the property wants to make sure artists have an affordable place to work within a district that will undoubtedly see rents rise just as they have across the entire country.

Public record says the owner of Meathouse Ybor is Ybor Pedroso LLC, which is connected to Darryl Shaw, the now-retired Blue Pearl Veterinary founder who recently purchased and is in the process of demolishing the old Tampa Park housing projects to make way for the Gas Worx development.

“He understands that at one point, artists were here, but then got priced out, and he knows they have to be here to have a vibrant neighborhood,” Garcia said, adding that he expects to share more renderings once he gets more concrete approval on the proposed plans.

The public gets its first chance to be on site next weekend on March 19 when Meatyard Ybor hosts an all-day open house when folks behind the project show off the pre-renovation look and also stage an art show and concert featuring visual artists like Selina Roman, Neil Bender and Edgar Sanchez Cumbas, plus bands like Nervous Turkey, Same Day Delivery Orchestra with Pusha Preme, Katara and Noan Partly.

UPDATED 03/08/22 12:40 p.m. Updated with information on an open house at Meatyard Ybor, and to make clear that Jerry Meatyard was a sculptor.