Friday, November 30, 2007

Area Business Directory: List your Business FREE

New Heights Magazine is listing businesses free of charge in its Local Business Directory section. This directory will be included in the hardcopy and online versions of the magazine, which will have a Tampa-wide circulation of 15,000+ per issue.

To qualify for your no-cost listing, your business must be in or service either the 33602, 33603, 33604, 33605 or 33607 zip code(s).

For more information, visit the magazine's blog at:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Park Renovations Underway

It looks like they are making some progress on the park directly north from Stetson University. It's hard to see in this camera phone picture, but I'm betting the majority of the work will be complete within 3-4 weeks.

What an awesome little addition to section of T.H. that's improving in leaps and bounds.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Call for Articles: New Heights Magazine - Jan/Feb’08 Issue

New Heights, the official magazine of Tampa’s Urban Corridor (UC), is requesting articles for key sections of its inaugural Jan-Feb 2008 issue. Articles must be prudent to residents and business owners within the UC (defined below), while written broad enough to appeal to all of Tampa. Extra editorial placement consideration will be given to articles with two or more direct quotes from residents/business owners within the areas that the magazine highlights.

Authors must submit their articles to Jay McGee at by 5pm on Dec. 7, 2007 for consideration. Articles chosen, as well as their accompanying images, will be published in the hardcopy and online versions of New Heights, along with appropriate author/artist credits. (There are no stipends available at this time.)

For more information, contact Jay McGee via phone, (813) 389-8116. or email, or visit the magazine's blog:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Church for Sale

Church on Tampa St. for Sale (can also be converted [no pun intended] to neighborhood business)

3201 N Tampa St.

Tampa, FL 33603

Property Use Type: Vacant/Owner-User
Primary Type: Special Purpose/Religious Facility
Building Size: 2,000 SF
Price: $249,900
Price/SF: $124.95

Property Description: Zoned PD (planned development) has been used as a Church. Has a small office and two bathrooms. Parking lot and lots of street parking available. Property adjacent also available for 249,900 was used as Church office and day care. Want both , make offer!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Introducing the first Magazine to Highlight the Best of Tampa’s Urban Corridor

For residents and business owners of Seminole Heights, Tampa Heights, Riverside Heights, The Heights – and surrounding neighborhoods – your time has come.

New Heights, the first Tampa magazine dedicated to sharing information about the revitalization of your community, is set to launch early 2008. But it can’t be done right without your help!

As editor of New Heights – and longtime local resident – I am seeking contributors to assist in the following areas:
  • Board of Directors – residents from serviced areas to contribute ideas and resources to the launch and success of New Heights.
  • Donors – people willing to donate time and money, who share in the vision of how New Heights will aid in the continuing revitalization of their community.
  • Writing – talented people to conduct research and contribute relevant, high-profile content.
  • Photographers – artists to provide photographs of local people and places to complement articles.
  • Distributors – people who wish to help distribute the good news of New Heights to local storefront stands and assist in USPS mailings.
  • Distribution Points – storefronts and organizations that would like to include a New Heights magazine rack at their location.
For more information, please call Jay McGee, editor/publisher, at (813) 389-8116 or email You can also visit the website,, or blog,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Span's Rededication Bridges Gap

This bridge is at the southwest corner of the Tampa Heights neighborhood. There are more stories about it if Google it, like:

Span's Rededication Bridges Gap
By JOSE PATINO GIRONA, The Tampa Tribune

TAMPA - Through the years, Hal Holtsinger heard people referring to the bridge as the North Boulevard Bridge.

But he remembered the summer day in 1959 when the bridge spanning the Hillsborough River was dedicated for his grandfather, Eugene Holtsinger, a developer who helped create Bayshore Boulevard's first subdivision, Suburb Beautiful.

Hal Holtsinger wrote to Mayor Pam Iorio asking whether the bridge's name had been changed. Coincidentally, his cousin Joan Holtsinger Turner wrote a similar letter.

No, the city said, the bridge is still named for Eugene Holtsinger.

A rededication was held recently in his honor, with new markers erected. Hal Holtsinger, 81, attended.

"I am happy that the proper markers are back up again," he said. "I am happy for him to have the recognition. I just think in his relatively short life he accomplished a lot in this city."

Eugene Holtsinger moved to Tampa in 1905 from Dandridge, Tenn. He teamed up with Alfred Swann, also of Tennessee, in a land-development business and built homes in Hyde Park, Ridgewood Park, Ybor City and West Tampa, as well as Suburb Beautiful.

Eugene Holtsinger was the developer of the area known today as Channelside. He also helped form the Tampa-Sulphur Springs Traction Co., which built the Garcia Avenue Bridge over the river for streetcars running between Ybor City and West Tampa.

Holtsinger, who had diabetes, was 48 when he died on Dec. 16, 1916.
The bridge bearing his name, which replaced the nearby Garcia Avenue Bridge, cost $800,000 and was dedicated July 22, 1959.

"While a lot of things change in our city, we always have to remember those historical figures who helped make Tampa what it is today," Iorio said at the October rededication.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

While I'm shilling art ...

My company, Jobsite Theater, has only two performances left of Gorey Stories in the Shimberg Playhouse at TBPAC. As you all likely know, TBPAC is the most convenient performing arts venue within reach of the neighborhood. Also, as a resident of Tampa Heights I don't feel bad about pimping my shows here, too.

We were originally slated to close on Nov. 4, but popular demand allowed us to extend through Nov. 11.

We have a show tonight at 8pm and Sunday at 4pm. We usually advise folks to buy tickets in advance, but you very well may be safe if you can get to the theater within an hour to half hour to curtain to purchase your tickets.

It's a sensational show, and we'll be sad to see it close. See what people are saying about it here.

New Bleu Acier show

I'm a little late in getting this one up - it opened last night!!!

I'm regretful I didn't get it up sooner, I've known Elsa since I was in undergrad at USF. A great artist and a better soul. If you ever get the opportunity to check her work out - it's worth the trip.

109 WEST COLUMBUS DRIVE TAMPA, FL 33602 TEL/FAX: 813 272 9746





8 PM Friday, November 9, 2007


Bleu Acier is pleased to present Tales From Old Japan and Other Stories, Marie Yoho Dorsey's first solo exhibition at Bleu Acier. Dorsey’s Japanese heritage is the primary stimulus of her work. A long time practitioner of Ikebana, she draws a continuous source of intellectual inspiration from this practice. Much like Ikebana whose exquisite forms are transient in nature, direct gravure has provided a sensitive tool with which to create the same fleeting forms in ink onto delicate Japanese paper. The elaboration of the image continues with the application of embroidery and sewing. As a result of this process the prints become sculptural images in nature and practice.
The three new direct gravures are images rooted in traditional Japanese folk tale. The Crane Wife, Love Echo and Stardust are tales constructed within a narrative landscape. There are references to the Japanese author Kenji Miyazawa and tales such as “The Crane Wife”, and “The Marriage Ceremony of Two Rocks on the Japanese Island of Saddo”.
In addition to these works on paper several new installations will be presented,
as well as the first sculpture edition realized and published by Bleu Acier.

In conjunction with ARTE 2007, The Festival of the Latin Americas, Bleu Acier is pleased to present the paintings of Miami based artist Claudia Scalise. Claudia Scalise is represented by the Dorsch Gallery of Miami.
The work featured is from her ongoing series, “Petits Fours”, which in French is the name given to small beautifully decorated puffed pastries. Claudia Scalise paints the people she knows and the things that she collects. She chose this title as she seeks to share through her painting the richness of the lives and histories of the people and objects she portrays. The images are an inventory of her environment. The paint is used as a tool to describe the natural atmosphere of the subject. Scalise is interested in “the intangible qualities and personal history of the figure or object and its universal aspects”. The suggested intimacy of the images allows a very personal relationship of the viewer to the image. The small scale also evokes the Mexican Milagros tradition. Milagros, which means magical, are small religious charms that help bring about well-being and equilibrium in the lives of those who use them for prayer and to the lives of those who are prayed for.
The artist when finished with an image allows the image to also do it’s magic when presented to the public thus bringing to the viewer an object (the work of art) which carries within itself a message for the viewer to share, reconstruct or disregard. Magic works in many ways, as does the artist’s image.

Especially for the evening of ARTE, Bleu Acier has invited Columbian Choreographer, Elsa Valbuena and her company Gaudere Danza for a one evening performance November 9th at 8 PM.

Gaudere Danza derives its name from the Latin word meaning to rejoice as it is in the process of the work that I : We, find special joy. Gaudere’s objective is creation, collaboration and communication through the language of the human body. It is a constantly changing organism. Each project begins with its own particular concept and inquiry. The outcome reveals itself unfolding in layers of movement, images that send us to the interior of our being towards a unique vision of time and undoubtedly to the human condition. The plasticity, sensual precise physicality and poetry contained in each piece show an esthetic vision, which is imprinted by its founder Elsa Valbuena.

BLEU ACIER INC. is an active fine art print publisher, print atelier, gallery and live-in loft that functions at the intersection of private and public space where art and the city keep company. Bleu Acier exhibits works in all disciplines by emerging, mid-career and established artists from the U.S. and Europe.

Gallery Hours: by appointment
For further information contact Erika Schneider 109 WEST COLUMBUS DRIVE TAMPA, FL 33602 TEL/FAX: 813 272 9746 BLEUACIER.COM

Friday, November 09, 2007

Threatening your Safety & Property Values with Jet Fuel

There was a meeting last night, that I do not know the outcome of yet (for I was out of town). But it had to do with putting a jet fuel line underneath Tampa Heights.

Number 1, it's a moronic idea. Number 2, the company who is slated to do this has a horrible track record.

I can explain this but an area blogger has already done a fantastic job:


Kinder Morgan has a dismal safety record

I understand there are some issues with the new proposed jet fuel pipeline. Kinder Morgan, which wants to build the 9-mile pipeline through parts of the Ybor City and West Tampa historic districts, as well as Tampa Heights and other neighborhoods. Afterall there has been a pipeline in Westshore since 1971 ('71 Jet Fuel Pipeline Draws Little Notice In West Shore).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Giving a hoot

Last night my wife and I went by New World Brewery after work for a quick pint before going home to eat dinner and watch HEROES on DVR. While we were there in our usual chairs slaving on the Megatouch machines, our old pal Martin came up with a ladyfriend.

I was worried he thought we were being rude since we merely grunted while punching letters in a frenxy, but when once we finished our game and I found him outside he admitted to also having a bit of a problem with the game, too. I felt better about myself.

The four of us got to talking about how we were "right down the street" and when we started discussing our neighborhoods, we realized that we both lived in Tampa Heights just about a block away from one another.

Small world. Small town anyway ...

So we keep talking and she mentions her dog - a St. Bernard. A light bulb immediately goes off over my head and I realize that I know who she is though I couldn't verify her face: she's the lady with the St. Bernard who picks up trash while walking her dog. I've seen her plenty of times, though I guarantee without the dog I wouldn't know her. It's odd how much I recall people's dogs better than their faces or names. She was actually a bit delighted that her deeds went noticed. If only we had less people actually making a mess in the first place ...

I know a lot of it comes out of windows since Tampa is a busy street. I pick up trash out of my yard almost daily. Mostly McDonald's, candy wrappers, religious tracts and beer bottles. A lot more of it though is unfortunately tossed by pedestrians walking to and fro or waiting at bus stops or from people on bikes.

In any case I only pick up trash in my own yard. It probably wouldn't kill me to bring a bag along on a dog walk though. It's a good idea.

Biz Op For Sale

Multi Unit Office Space
3302 N. Tampa St.
Tampa, FL 33603

Property Use Type: Vacant/Owner-User
Primary Type: OfficeOffice Building
Building Size: 3,353 SF
Lot Size: 15,000 SF
Price: $595,000
Price/SF: $177.45
Date Last Verified: 11/6/2007

Property Description:3,353 total s.f. on 15,000s.f. of land. Totally remolded. Ample parking.

Property also For Lease $12.00/s.f. Modified Gross (1,600s.f. available for lease. 4 offices. Waiting Room. Rec. Area. Break Room. 2 Restrooms.)

Location Description:Property is located on the west side of N. Tampa St. just south of Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd. in Tampa, Florida.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Great Loss for Tampa Heights and the City

Family, friends mourn Gram's Place owner
Mark Holland, whose Tampa Heights hostel was world-famous, dies of an apparent suicide.

TAMPA HEIGHTS - Mark Holland, the owner of the world-famous Gram's Place hostel in Tampa Heights, died Sunday afternoon of an apparent suicide, a family member confirmed. He was 56.

Just last January, neighbors and backpackers filled City Council chambers to support the free-spirited hostel owner as he fought 21 code violations for the hostel's rooftop crow's nest and treehouse-style deck.

Friends called him a cultural hero who welcomed evacuees from Hurricane Katrina, got drug dealers out of a park across the street and kept the independent flavor alive in Tampa. City Council members were impressed by the turnout and erased the violations for the hostel named after Mr. Holland's idol, singer Gram Parsons.

After the hearing, Mr. Holland held in tears as supporters surrounded him. "It's you guys that have saved me," he told them.

His brother, James Holland, is still trying to make sense of the death. There was an altercation with a guest dealing with payment about 4 p.m. Sunday. A worker at the hostel suggested Mr. Holland call the police, but he resisted the idea.

"He thought that if the police were brought into his place of business, it would look bad for the hostel and his surrounding area," his brother said.

Mr. Holland retreated to his room, where he died by hanging. It was Gram Parson's birthday.
November was the busiest season for his hostel and it is booked through the month, his brother said. His family plans to meet with a lawyer to determine the benefactor of his business.

Mr. Holland had just bought a $5,000 guitar and was planning a vacation to Canada, one of his favorite places in the world. He was teaching his nephew to play the guitar.

But "he was having difficult times dealing with life," his brother said. Lots of highs and lows. "I tried to get him help in the past, but he did not want to have any kind of help from the government."

Even as a kid, Mr. Holland was a "free bird," his brother said. He needed to work for himself. He bought the two-cottage property at 3109 N Ola Ave. in 1977 and made it a rooming house.

In 1989, he and a team completed a four-year project, the first video documentary ever produced about Gram Parsons, whom Mr. Holland recognized as the godfather of country rock. The Legend of the Grievous Angel aired on public access cable in Tampa. Fans spread it around the world on videotapes.

The following November, Mr. Holland traveled to Amsterdam. The city's laid-back nature inspired him to re-create a slice of it in Tampa, his hometown. He split outside patios into "Little Amsterdam" and "Little Montreal," where people could gather in the spirit of music.

Two years later, he began advertising it as a European-style hostel. Mr. Holland spent his childhood inviting friends over to listen to music. Now, he jammed with his band members and backpackers from across the world. They filled his guest books with praises.

"He was a very unique person, very unique" his brother said. "Everybody loved him. I'm just so sad."

Mr. Holland leaves behind two brothers, his mother and extended family. They want to hold a small memorial gathering at the hostel, but have not determined a date.

Sara Romeo, a former state representative and family friend who spoke for him at the City Council, describes him as a "kind spirit."

"What he did for Tampa Heights is just legendary," she said. "He helped revitalize the area."
She said hostel business had been picking up when Mr. Holland died. Mr. Holland had said that at best, he often only broke even. The business consumed him. His brother had tried persuading Mr. Holland to sell it and relax, but he never did.

Mark Holland loved his hostel, which he always said had a soul, "Where time stands still and the music plays on."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Family Dollar

FYI - the new location on the southwest corner of Columbus Ave. and Tampa St. opened a couple weeks ago with minor sprucing. It also appears they plan on trying to rent out a few thousand square feet to another business.

For some reason, I'm guessing a laundrymat but who knows.

Friday, November 02, 2007

More on Cafe Hey

TAMPA HEIGHTS - The north side of downtown seemed lonely and much too quiet to three Plant High School graduates.

So after noticing that a lot of people they grew up with still live in Tampa, many of them working downtown, they decided to open a neighborhood gathering spot.

Their coffee shop, appropriately titled Cafe Hey, is set to open in a week or two in the historic Franklin Printing building at 1540 N Franklin St.

The 500-square-foot space is just a block north of where Franklin meets Interstate 275 and is close to the southern border of the Tampa Heights neighborhood.

"It's on the outskirts of downtown, so it doesn't get as much attention as Ybor City or the center of downtown," said S. Cheong Choi, one of the owners.

"But things are happening here. There's a great amount of potential for this neighborhood. Before people with billions of dollars come in and start airlifting malls here, we should give it a personality."

Cafe Hey plans to distinguish itself with its local and Fair Trade coffees, from Gainesville's Sweetwater Roasters and Tampa's Naviera Coffee Mills. Food will be "classic coffee shop fare" with a Tampa bent, said co-owner Anne Vela. The shop will serve baked goods made on site, along with soups, salads and sandwiches. Offerings will include Cuban sandwiches and cafe con leche.

"The three of us are wanting to do something for the community and bring some youth into this area of downtown," said Vela, who partnered with her husband, Christopher, an architect who designed the interior, and Choi.

The three graduated from Plant between the early and mid 1990s. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The shop will be closed Monday. Vela said the plan is to eventually add more hours and occasional live music to the menu.