Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Goodbye Richmond, Hellooooooo Tampa!

Wow, where to start... I'm gonna do my best to not make this an uberpost since I have so much to write but I don't want to overload the readers with details. I believe last time I wrote (I can check but I'm lazy), I was either torn about taking this new opportunity in Tampa or maybe I already announced that I took it... well, in case I left it at "decision to be made," I took the job. There were tons of people involved in the decision making process and to all of them who are both readers and nonreaders (ie, they don't even know this blog exists), I am extremely grateful.

So, once I decided to take the job, I started looking for places to live. The relocation package that my new company gave me was basically a killer lump sum that allowed me to do whatever I wanted in terms of making apartment hunting trips, actually moving, etc etc. So, initially, I was planning on going on an apartment hunting trip. 2 days prior to actually doing it, I decided that I should just drive down and fly back to Richmond to take care of business. So, on Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I made the ~13hr drive down to Tampa. I checked in to my hotel and on Wednesday, started my apartment hunting trip.

Now, when I was searching for apartments online, I had a few places in mind. My top choice was this one:



I mean, I'm moving to Tampa so what better than a place right by the water? Close to downtown Tampa, Ybor (major party city) and Channelside (area that some people mentioned was cool), I figured this was a great location. Once I got there though, I immediately hated this place. For Richmonders, think Short Pump. Literally, a community that was developed and everything was built for that community. Totally convenient, definitely upscale, and completely isolated (it's out on its own island). I hate the fuckin suburbia now, why would I move to another? I pretty much immediately nixed this place. However, this place played a big part in choosing my final destination. When I was talking to the guy who worked at the rental office, he mentioned that this property was close to Hyde Park. I didn't know what that meant but I do remember nixing the apartment properties in Hyde Park when I was searching online because I didn't think the area was all that awesome.

My next stop was a high rise apartment in the heart of downtown Tampa. It's a building that really stands out in the skyline of Tampa (which is just as impressive as Richmond... ha ha ha, seriously, downtown Tampa blows). Anyways, here's the entry way to the apartment that on the inside is very impressive...



Basically, it's a modern condo turned apartment. 24hr concierge service, dedicated parking deck, and magnificent view of Tampa are clearly the selling points of this place. The rooms were very impressive. I mean the layout was cool and the views were definitely cool... the thing is, these were the condos that were built in the peak of the bubble... and when the economy hit the tank, no one was buying them (which is why they turned it into a rental property). As such, there are tons of retail space available on the ground floor... presumably from when this was built. No one was moving into downtown Tampa... seriously, it made downtown Richmond look awesome... after being impressed with the apartment, walking around this area made it easy for me to lose interest. Of course, this is very close to Hyde Park but close as in few miles away... few miles is a long way to go when you're drunk. So, sure enough, when I went to Hyde Park (since both locations mentioned "close to Hyde Park"), I immediately fell in love with the area.

Hyde Park area is essentially where it includes Bayshore Blvd (allegedly, the longest sidewalk in the country and as the name suggests, right along the bay), Hyde Park Village (outdoor mall - Richmonders, think Stony Point), and Soho (short for South Howard Ave) which is the home of the area's most popular bars and restaurants (Richmond, think the Fan but slightly better, according to my biased opinion). And here, I found the apartments that are essentially your typical, non-fancy, normal rental housing as you can see in this picture.



From what I saw, these apartments are mainly filled with mid 20's young professionals... a bit younger than me but I party like a mid 20yr old so I think I can get by. Literally a stumbling distance away from the bars and a crawling distance away to brunch for some hangover recovery food... in other words, perfect for me and a great transition from the hell hole of suburbia that I am in... now let me clarify that I don't hate the suburbs... except I'm single and all my neighbors are families with dogs and 2.5 kids...

Anyways, I loved the area so even though I didn't "love" the apartment (at least not the way I felt about the apartment downtown), it was definitely good enough for now. So, here I am, filling out the app for the apartment.



Sorry, this became an uber... I had a feeling it would.

One thing that sucks about Tampa... it's freakin November and it was 80 degrees today... I'm gonna die in the summer time.

One more thing... naturally, I would have the tendency to compare things to Richmond. I believe I mentioned this before (I know I have but I'm not sure I did on the blog) but I felt that Tampa was like Richmond but in FL and right by the water. After being down here for a week exploring, I believe my assessment is fairly close. Of course, it's got a major sports team (if you can call the Bucs as such but then again, my team just lost to the lowly Chiefs and then to the hated Ravens) and it's right by the water so there are things that make it better but in terms of the city itself, it's clearly not the metropolis that I was hoping to move to in the near future (think NY or Tokyo). But, it was a good time for me to leave Richmond (18 yrs in Tokyo, then 15 years in Richmond!? I mean seriously...) and this gave me the opportunity to do so and explore a pretty cool city in the meantime. I will miss all my friends and everything I had built up in Richmond but I am really excited for the new opportunities to come in Tampa.

8 comments:

smokkee said...

Clearwater rawks. I'm sure you'll be in a drunken stupor for at least the first month....and yes that shit is hot/humid during summertime, enjoy!

congrats!

pokerpeaker said...

Not sure if you're still running the Vegas Half but good luck if you are. Run hard!

Schaubs said...

Dude, are you balding? LOL JKJKJK

Ummmm what about the Lightning?

See ya in Vegas!!

lj said...

11/8/09 - text from lj to alan (sent while seated on stage watching november 9)

"talking to guy who lives in tampa. he says very cool check out soho and hyde park"

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David said...

Tampa is beautiful. Enjoy :)

Bayne_S said...

Dude your team lost to Raiders

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