Randall Cook can’t believe all the development that’s sprouted up in Water Street Tampa since he started working on his new hotel there, an extended-stay concept called Roost.
“We’re doing projects in different cities around the country, and I don’t know that there’s many comparable things to Water Street,” said Cook, the co-founder and CEO of Method Co., which operates Roost hotels. “The thought and the level of detail that has gone into the selection of the architects, the scale of the buildings, the density and this urban feel that has a very walkable streetscape, I think it’s really special and very unique.”
So he’s not entirely blowing smoke when he calls Roost, which officially opened Monday, “one of the nicest offerings anywhere in the country. It’s kind of like living in a resort.”
Roost occupies 97 units in the same building as Asher, the largest residential tower in Water Street Tampa, a $3.5 billion development backed by Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment. As at Roost hotels in Philadelphia and Cleveland, it’s geared toward longer stays; Cook said many guests live in those hotels temporarily during moves.
It’s the first of two new hotels in Water Street Tampa this summer. The Edition, which aims to be Tampa Bay’s first five-star hotel, is slated to open in late summer at 500 Channelside Drive.
Roost’s amenities, which it will share with Asher residents, should set it apart from other downtown hotels.
The building’s seventh-floor rooftop pool deck features cabanas, communal gathering spaces and direct access to the building’s gym, “so you can flow from indoor to outdoor and then have multiple areas to gather,” Cook said.
Method Co. is managing the hospitality for both Roost and Asher, which includes a bike-sharing program and events like workout classes and wine tastings designed to foster a sense of community. Those programs, Cook said, create pockets of activity in areas like communal kitchens and lounges.
“Let’s say you and I both live there and we work from home,” he said. “Let’s go sit down on the lounge and work on our laptops for a little bit. We may not have a reason to strike up a conversation as much as if we were taking a wine tasting class together. It built to foster more engagement and more community-building.”
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One new element of Tampa’s Roost is a pair of co-living spaces that function almost like dorm suites. The units feature a living room, kitchen and laundry area and adjoining bedrooms, each with its own private bathroom. The bedrooms can be united one at a time or in groups of four or eight, in a concept Roost calls “a hotel within a hotel.”
Unlike most of Roost’s extended-stay rooms, the co-living units may be rented for shorter periods of time, Cook said, making them ideal for friends and family visiting Asher residents.
“There’s great bedrooms and a place to hang out, and they can come visit you in your building,” he said. “It could be for business or a group of friends going to Tampa for a long weekend and renting one of the units and having a common area to hang out. But everyone can go back and have their private bedroom and bathroom.”
Asher’s ground-floor amenities are still in the works, including an Asian restaurant called Wagamama, scheduled to open later this year, and “a contemplated coffee and wine bar adjacent to the Roost lobby that is still in the concept phase,” Cook said.
“We always try to make our newest project our best project,” Cook said. “It’s been definitely the nicest package that we’ve done to date,” Cook said. “It’s fun to keep seeing the brand evolve, and also I think it works really well for the building and for the market.”