Investor Spotlight: Strategic Property Partners

July 27, 2021

Strategic Property Partners, LLC (“SPP”) is a full-service commercial real estate developer, owner and operator based in Tampa, Florida.  With a thoughtful long-term approach to real estate, the firm is focused on creating enduring, sustainable and high-quality experiential places. SPP’s first project, Water Street Tampa, is being developed on 74 acres of land in downtown Tampa. The phased Water Street Tampa development project commenced vertical construction in 2018 and is revitalizing a currently underutilized tract of land into an urban, mixed-use waterfront district consisting of approximately 9 million square feet of new office, retail, residential, hospitality, cultural, entertainment, and educational uses, totaling over $3.5 billion in private investment from SPP. Integrating principles of walkability, sustainability, connectivity, design quality, and wellness, SPP intends to own and operate this new world-class neighborhood in Tampa for the long-term, while also working to elevate the city’s national prominence. The company is owned and capitalized through a partnership between Cascade Investment LLC, and Jeff Vinik.

James Nozar, Strategic Advisor to the Board

James Nozar joined SPP in March of 2016 as the company’s first Chief Executive Officer and was tasked with building a full-service development company while concurrently commencing design and construction on the transformational $3.5 billion, 9 million square-foot Water Street Tampa project. With its first new buildings delivering over the past year – the JW Marriott hotel, Sparkman Wharf waterfront offices and retail, the Heron apartment buildings, and Thousand & One, the city’s first trophy downtown office tower in over two decades – the company is poised for several more building deliveries in the coming months as well as future phases of Water Street Tampa. In late 2020, James’ role with the company transitioned to a Strategic Advisor to the Board where he has shifted focus towards new investment and development opportunities for the firm.

James is the incoming chair of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council and sits on the Boards of the Georgia Tech Alexander-Tharpe Fund and the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

You’re preparing to take the reigns as EDC chair in the next couple of months, what are your top priorities for the EDC to tackle over the next fiscal year?

Despite weathering a global health crisis over the past year and a half, the Tampa Bay region is poised for tremendous growth in the years ahead. I look forward to working closely with the TBEDC and our partners to assess our region’s needs and competitive positioning in a post-pandemic world, and how we can best sustain our high quality-of-life and grow a more diverse and inclusive workforce in the years ahead. We need to continue elevating the stature of Tampa Bay on the world stage as a tremendous place to live and do business, specifically highlighting why our region is a superior option for companies to consider growing in or relocating to. Given my role with SPP where we have been actively recruiting companies to Tampa to help anchor Water Street office space, I have had the benefit of working closely with the TBEDC team on various pursuits and pitches over the years. A key area of focus for me will be working with the TBEDC and our partners to strategically home in on key target business sectors and geographies that are well-matched to our region’s strengths – so we can have a more tailored approach to attracting new employers to the region.

It must be so gratifying to see the first phase of Water Street Tampa nearly complete. What’s next for the development and what do you think its biggest impact will be for the local community and its residents?

Yes, we are incredibly excited to see the vision of Water Street Tampa come to reality, with our first five new buildings having opened and entire first phase delivering in the months ahead — encompassing over 500,000 square feet of new world-class office space, 70 new retail and restaurant spaces, over 1,300 new residences, three phenomenal new hotels, Sparkman Wharf and the Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute. We look forward to opening the expansive public realm, anchored by a multi-block retail and tree-lined linear park along the neighborhood’s namesake, Water Street, this fall. We believe this will become one of Tampa’s primary community gathering places, which will continue to grow and evolve as the rest of the neighborhood builds out. Our goal in the first phase of Water Street Tampa was to create a sense of place with a synergistic mix of building types and uses that we could then build from. The future phases of Water Street Tampa will include a diverse range of new homes, workplaces, retail and community gathering places that are in the planning stages now. We hope and believe Water Street Tampa will be a catalyst for thoughtful and connected community-oriented development throughout the city and region that will enhance the quality of life for residents and help lure new visitors, businesses and employees to the area.

Why is it important for the local business community to continue to support economic development efforts?

Economic development is the lifeblood of any prosperous and thriving region. We are very fortunate to have a unique public/private partnership that supports the TBEDC and has provided us with the resources and perspective to grow the competitiveness of our area. To remain competitive and best shape the growth of our region, it is imperative that our entire local business community – across all sectors – maintains an active role in economic development, as an aligned stakeholder group investing in our future.

You’ve been in Tampa for several years now. What has surprised you most about Tampa and how do you describe our area to people you know or meet outside of the market?

Tampa is a thriving working city that has the comfort and warmth of a small town. When I first moved to Tampa over five years ago, I was fearful that the city would be too slow-paced and adverse to growing and evolving, which I quickly learned was a very unfair characterization. I have been blown away by the close-knit community that has a shared passion for our wonderful area and enjoys a wonderful quality of life (and great sports teams!). The best way to showcase our market is to invite people here to see it themselves – doing so has proven to be an excellent recruitment tool!