Mayor calls restaurant key to revitalizing Tampa Heights

TAMPA – Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the Columbia Restaurant’s President Richard Gonz­mart and Chairman Casey Gonz­mart will push shovels into the dirt along the Hillsborough River this morning during a groundbreaking for a restaurant at the former Tampa Water Works building.

But the ceremony is far from the start of this project.

The Gonzmarts have spent more than a year working with architects, construction supervisors, historians, water managers and city officials to transform the building into the restaurant Ulele (pronounced You-lay-lee).

In May, the Tampa City Council voted to approve a 20-year lease with the Columbia Restaurant Group. The group was selected in 2012 to renovate the 9,800-square-foot building, beating out three other bidders.

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