Tampa-based real estate development firm Strategic Property Partners, LLC (“SPP”) and the International WELL Building Institute (“IWBI”) today announced that Water Street Tampa, the transformative new lifestyle destination in Downtown Tampa, has achieved the WELL Community Certification at the Gold level, becoming the first neighborhood in North America to receive the prestigious distinction. Awarded by IWBI, the certification celebrates Water Street Tampa’s successful, strategic integration of design and policy decisions that promote health and well-being across all aspects of the neighborhood. Leading to this certification, Water Street Tampa was the first neighborhood in the world to pilot the WELL Community Standard in 2017.
“From the very beginning, we conceived of Water Street Tampa as a place that would honor and promote the well-being of all our residents and visitors in unique and thoughtful ways,” said Josh Taube, Chief Executive Officer for SPP. “The WELL Community Certification illustrates our ongoing commitment to creating spaces where people want to spend their time. We’re proud to set a new national precedent for urban design and community-wide wellness efforts at a time when the design of our environment plays a critical role in our daily lives and is a key factor in people’s decisions for where to live and work.”
As the internationally renowned authority on health and well-being in the built environment, IWBI created the WELL Community Standard to recognize neighborhoods promoting health and well-being across all community life. The rigorous scientific and evidence-based approach evaluates neighborhoods — like Water Street Tampa – that implement design and policy strategies meant to improve the lives of their residents and visitors through the concepts of air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, and community. Like the WELL Building Standard, which focuses on health leadership in buildings, the WELL Community Standard sets a new bar for neighborhood development by assessing the design of public spaces and all other aspects of a community, including many factors of the physical environment that can have a significant impact on day-to-day health, happiness, and productivity.
“We are so excited to congratulate Water Street Tampa for its trailblazing leadership in community health as the first neighborhood in the country and across North America to earn WELL Community Certification,” said Rachel Hodgdon, President and CEO, IWBI. “By deploying WELL’s comprehensive and interdisciplinary roadmap to support human health and well-being at the community level, Water Street Tampa has secured its place as a true pioneer, inspiring other neighborhood projects around the world.”
Water Street Tampa achieved WELL Community Certification for implementing health-conscious and community-focused elements throughout the entire neighborhood, including improving walkability with double-wide sidewalks and engaging street-level experiences, measuring neighborhood air quality, fostering high levels of community engagement through a comprehensive public art program and regular free public events, increasing access to drinking water through strategically placed water stations, increasing access to healthy foods with a neighborhood grocery store and regular farmers markets, encouraging movement via new bike lanes and free community fitness classes, increasing digital connectivity through free public Wi-Fi, incorporating native landscaping, reducing light and noise pollution, and much more.
As the highest standard for wellness at a community level, the WELL Community Standard helps support higher tenant satisfaction, increased productivity, and improved physical and mental health, according to IWBI. Maintaining the designation requires additional reevaluation to confirm Water Street Tampa’s design and programming will remain consistent with the certification’s stringent requirements.
In addition to becoming the first WELL Certified Community in North America, Water Street Tampa is home to individual buildings that prioritize wellness. The neighborhood’s trophy office tower, Thousand & One, is the first building in Tampa to achieve WELL Core Certification and the first in the region to achieve the certification at the Gold level. Thousand & One received this distinction earlier this year for integrating design and operational strategies that directly impact tenants’ well-being, including accessible outdoor spaces, ample natural light, highest-possible water quality, indoor temperature monitoring, amenities that support new mothers, and the use of MERV 15 air filters. According to a recent study in the Journal of Building and Environment, workers surveyed in WELL-certified buildings reported a 30 percent increase in overall satisfaction, a 26 percent increase in well-being, and a 10-point increase in median productivity scores compared to their experiences before certification.
Water Street Tampa was also recently awarded the Urban Land Institute’s Americas Award for Excellence 2023, recognizing its public-private partnership between developers, local government, and community leaders. Known for setting global standards in innovation, Water Street Tampa is also the world’s first WiredScore SmartScore Precertified Neighborhood for its technology infrastructure and was recently named one of Time’s “World’s Greatest Places” for 2023.