If the walls in West Tampa’s homes could speak, they would have some stories to tell. With homes that are nearly 120 years old, it’s the perfect spot for homeowners looking for charm and character. “When you find a West Tampa home that you like, whether you want to restore an old school bungalow or demolish and rebuild, you are actually part of the story,” said Aminta Goynes, agent and founder of the Goynes Group Coldwell Banker Realty. In addition to the glass door handles, original penny tile floors, and claw foot tubs found in many of these homes, you’re also just a short drive from some of Tampa’s biggest new developments, from Armature Works and Heights to just northwest of Midtown.
“The West Tampa area and the West Tampa Historic District are very busy,” says Goynes. “West Tampa is going to be a place everyone wants to be.” Read on for four homes that best define the West Tampa neighborhood.
01.2513 W. CHERRY ST.
Goynes estimates that roughly half of West Tampa’s new homeowners are buying and renovating or restoring, while the other half are demolishing properties that cannot withstand remodeling. However, she notes that building owners show an “awe” for the history of the district in their designs. “They mix the old and the new, but they try in their own way to help preserve the character of the West Tampa neighborhood.” The builders of this home clearly took their inspiration from their surroundings and built in a bungalow look with an updated artisan-style pillar and a much larger footprint than the original homes. With three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, this build is 1,857 square feet in 2018.
2319 W. Pine St.
02.2319 W. PINE ST.
Historic West Tampa is known for its timber frame bungalows with distinctive pillars on either side of the porch. “Some people think that all columns are created the same, but they are not,” says Goynes. This house, built in 1903, has ion columns that curl up at the top where they meet the roof, reminiscent of Greek or Roman architecture. Like many of the houses built around the turn of the 20th century, this house also has double hanging sash windows. It’s tiny by modern standards, too – just over 800 square feet. “At the time, it was very common for houses to be much smaller [than homes built later in the century]”Explains Goynes.” They almost mimic the row houses that were built early in Ybor City to attract cigar workers and their families. “
1917 W. Grace St.
03/1917 W. GRACE ST.
This home is inspired by the 1920s style West Tampa bungalow. On these structures, verandas became much wider and Doric columns were introduced. These pillars are round and flat at the top to support the expansive space at the front of the house. Like the house on Cherry Street, this Grace Street property blends the original West Tampa with more modern elements. “What you have is more of an artisan-style house and a few elements of that bungalow, one of which is this porch,” explains Goynes. She says homeowners looking to buy in West Tampa try to recreate or replicate these unique, original features as much as possible. “They have an affinity for old-school charm,” Goynes adds. “We’re not dealing with the cookie cutter personality type. They are very specific about what they want when buying these homes. “
3216 N. Rome Ave.
04.3216 N. ROME AVE.
Beyond the historic district, West Tampa’s architecture changes subtly in areas like Macfarlane Park to the northwest and the West River along Hillsborough. Here, houses like this look more like a mid-century look. According to Goynes, these areas are perfect for homeowners who crave variety in their architecture but still want the amenities of West Tampa and proximity to the urban core. She has buyers from all over the country and even other parts of Tampa looking to get closer to downtown growth. They’re all part of why West Tampa is starting a new chapter. “I feel like West Tampa is taking on a different shape and identity,” Goynes says. “We have people from other cities and states who want to be part of this expansion. … While other areas are stagnating, Tampa is busy. Tampa is thriving. We have a vibrant city, so we welcome those who want to come with open arms. “