Q&A: Coastal Construction sees potential in Tampa Bay beyond Water Street

Date: 07.16.2019

Published On: Tampa Bay Business Journal

The general contractor on some of Water Street Tampa’s splashiest buildings sees room to grow in the Bay region.

Miami-based Coastal Construction, which took over the bulk of the first phase of Water Street construction in early 2018, has hired Craig Klingensmith as Tampa division president. Dan Whiteman, vice chairman of Coastal, had been overseeing the company’s role in Water Street until Klingensmith’s hire.

Coastal employs 60 people in its Tampa office.

Klingensmith was most recently the Northeast division president for Lennar Corp.’s vertical urban assets arm. Prior to that, he was president of WCI Communities’ tower division for 10 years — where Coastal was the general contractor on several of the developments WCI built.

“Over his impressive career, Craig has stood out as a leader in the real estate and construction industry, meticulously overseeing large scale developments across the nation. Due to his years of proven success and excellence, we know he will be a major asset to our team and especially the Water Street Tampa development,” Whiteman said in a statement.

Klingensmith recently spoke with the Tampa Bay Business Journal about his new role and what Coastal sees in the Bay area real estate market. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Is Coastal’s Tampa division strictly limited to Water Street?

We have the JW Marriott, 815 Water Street, 1001 Water Street and soon, we’ll be breaking ground on hotel-condos [the Edition Tampa]. The long-term goal for Coastal is not just to do Water Street Tampa, but it’s to stay here and do long-term work.

Our focus right now is 100 percent on Strategic Property Partners [the developer of Water Street, controlled by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Cascade Investment LLC]. But we’re growing the Tampa business and we want to be here a long time.

What types of projects will you pursue outside of Water Street?

Our specialty is high rise, but we would also consider eight-, nine- and 10-story buildings. Whether it be office, hotels or condos, we’d certainly be interested.

It’s at least a year or two down the road before we start considering that. The four buildings I just listed are 2.3 million square feet of work, so there’s already a lot on our plate.

What is Coastal’s long-term forecast for the Tampa Bay real estate market?

As Water Street and other communities are being developed, it’s shining a brighter light on this area with a true live-work-and-play environment. Any time you have a city like that — it’s just a natural situation that will progress forward. There’s also phase two of Water Street, and as that continues to work forward, there’s always a situation, potentially, that we don’t do anything besides work for SPP.