Bid submitted for downtown property

A $43.1 million bid submitted by the University two weeks ago for the former Hillsborough Area Rapid Transit (HART) parking lot located in downtown Tampa has been targeted as the only “viable” location to house a new training facility for health professionals.

The Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS), a state-of-the-art training and research facility and the hopeful new tenant of the lot, is projected to provide 56,000 square feet of housing for training simulators, according to a release.

USF has submitted the only bid for the land thus far, which, according to a Request for Proposals issued by the city of Tampa, is intended to “encourage the development of a medical, educational and simulation complex that could stimulate the development of other businesses pertaining to the medical technology industry.”

University spokesman Michael Hoad said to The Oracle in April that USF Health has looked at locations on campus and in the Tampa Heights development as a possible home for the building, but the 135-space HART lot is the best candidate so far.

“This is a promising proposal because there are hotels nearby, and therefore, this site doesn’t need a hotel development,” Hoad said. “The trick is that the site has to include a facility for training – which USF Health would build – hotel beds, parking and an attractive location for out-of-town visitors. That is why it has taken a while to sift through the various sites.”

The building, which is estimated to cost more than $20 million and would be located just south of 107 N. Franklin St., is projected to create 65 new jobs downtown and book as many as 13,000 local hotel rooms annually, which would stimulate the area’s economic growth, Hoad said.