Tampa is a city in and the county seat of Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. It is located on the west coast of Florida on Tampa Bay, near the Gulf of Mexico, and is part of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Area. The city had a population of 346,037 in 2011.
The current location of Tampa was once inhabited by indigenous peoples of the Safety Harbor culture most notably the Tocobaga and thePohoy, who lived along the shores of Tampa Bay. The area was explored by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, resulting in violent conflicts and the introduction of European diseases, which wiped out the original native cultures. Although Spain claimed Florida as part of New Spain, it did not found a colony in the Tampa area, and there were no permanent American or European settlements within today’s city limits until after the United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1819.
In 1824, the United States Army established a frontier outpost called Fort Brooke at the mouth of the Hillsborough River, near the site of today’s Tampa Convention Center. The first civilian residents were pioneers who settled near the fort for protection from the nearby Seminole population, and the small village was first incorporated as “Tampa” in 1849. The town grew slowly until the 1880s, when railroad links, the discovery of phosphate, and the arrival of the cigar industry jump-started its development, helping it to grow from a quiet village of less than 800 residents in 1880 to a bustling city of over 30,000 by the early 1900s.
Today, Tampa is part of the metropolitan area most commonly referred to as the “Tampa Bay Area”. For U.S. Census purposes, Tampa is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. The four-county area is composed of roughly 2.9 million residents, making it the second largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the state, and the fourth largest in the Southeastern United States, behind Miami, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.
The Greater Tampa Bay area has over 4 million residents and generally includes the Tampa and Sarasota metro areas. The Tampa Bay Partnership and U.S. Census data showed an average annual growth of 2.47 percent, or a gain of approximately 97,000 residents per year. Between 2000 and 2006, the Greater Tampa Bay Market experienced a combined growth rate of 14.8 percent, growing from 3.4 million to 3.9 million and hitting the 4 million population mark on April 1, 2007. A 2012 estimate shows the Tampa Bay area population to have 4,310,524 people and a 2017 projection of 4,536,854 people.
Finance, retail, healthcare, insurance, shipping by air and sea, national defense, professional sports, tourism, and real estate all play a vital role in the area’s economy. Hillsborough County alone has an estimated 740,000 employees, a figure which is projected to increase to 922,000 by 2015. Several large corporations, such as banks and telecommunications companies, maintain regional offices in Tampa.
Downtown Tampa is undergoing significant development and redevelopment in line with a general national trend toward urban residential development. The Tampa Downtown Partnership notes development proceeding on 20 residential, hotel, and mixed-use projects as of April 2007. The city of Tampa operates over 165 parks and beaches covering 2,286 acres (9.25 km2) within city limits; 42 more in surrounding suburbs covering 70,000 acres (280 km2), are maintained by Hillsborough County. These areas include the Hillsborough River State Park, just northeast of the city. Tampa is also home to a number of attractions and theme parks, including Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Adventure Island, Lowry Park Zoo, and Florida Aquarium.
FOREVER FLAWLESS Store-Brandon Mall
The Forever Flawless Store is located in Westfield Brandon, a shopping mall located eight miles (13 km) east of Tampa, Florida, in the suburban community of Brandon. The mall is owned by Australian-based Westfield Group, and is one of five Westfield shopping centers in the state of Florida. Westfield Brandon is directly off Interstate 75, sitting on land between State Road 60 and the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway.
The mall was first conceived in the late 1980s, and originally opened in 1995 as Brandon Town Center. The mall served a million shoppers in its first seventeen days alone. When it first opened, Brandon Town Center boasted 974,000 square feet (90,500 m2) of retail space. The original anchors were Sears, J.C. Penney, Burdines (now Macy’s), and Dillard’s. Maas Brothers was signed but it filed for bankruptcy before the mall was built.
The Westfield Group acquired the Town Center in 2002 and renamed it “Westfield Shoppingtown Brandon” in line with the other Westfield centers. Many of the distinctive fountains featuring metal sculptures of Florida wildlife were demolished in favor of vendor kiosks in the months following the transition. Currently, 986,000 square feet (91,600 m2) of space is given to retail shops and restaurants. Once the second-most visited mall in Tampa, Westfield Brandon’s market share has dropped to fifth out of five malls, with 17 percent of shoppers in a 2005 Tampa Tribune survey stating that they had visited Westfield Brandon in the past month (compared to 25 percent for Tampa’s mall leader, International Plaza and Bay Street).
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