“From Streetcar Barn to Mixed-Use Hub”
Armature Works is a truly unique space that provides a lens into the rich history of Tampa. What was formerly a streetcar storage and repair facility has become a modern, eclectic mix of dining and entertainment options nestled right along the Hillsborough River.
The site also hosts many different events, from weddings to concerts, farmers markets, and more.
We sat down with Ashley McChesney, Director of Events at Armature Works, to discuss the story behind the brand, how they run their events, and how Fintech has helped play a role in its alcohol management.
Can you tell us about the Armature Works story? How did it get started?
“Armature Works is a fully restored mixed-use building that breathes new life into The Heights District neighborhood. Now an integral part of the City of Tampa and its development, Armature Works offers unobstructed views of the Hillsborough River and its community destination with more than a dozen casual eateries and multiple private event spaces.”
What is the story behind the name? I know the space used to be a streetcar barn. How has the history of the space played into the development of Armature Works?
“Armature Works dates to 1910 and was once known as the TECO Streetcar Warehouse. The Armature Works structure played a significant role for the City of Tampa as the repair and storage facility for the Tampa Electric Street and Railway Company (formally known as the Streetcar Barn). The barn was integral to Tampa’s development in connecting the surrounding neighborhoods.
In 1946, the system was abandoned for more modern means of transportation, the automobile. Tampa Armature Works (where its name originates from), a phosphate machinery manufacturer, purchased the building from TECO in 1960. Today, Armature Works has been repurposed to its originality, becoming the heart of the Heights neighborhood as a mixed-use commercial building.”
Which types of events are hosted at Armature?
“We cover a wide range of events, from small and intimate to large and extravagant. Some examples include birthdays, baby showers, wedding showers, holiday parties, meetings, networking events, weddings, corporate events, etc.”
Were events always part of the plan for Armature Works?
“Not only were events always part of the plan, but they were also part of its past. Maintaining much of its original architecture, Armature Works also maintains its use as an entertainment space. Historically, our “Theatre” event space was used as a bar and stage-equipped performance space by TECO streetcar workers to wind down after a long day of work. It’s truly full circle.”
How do you think Armature Works has influenced the Tampa community?
“Armature Works set the path and inspiration for other Tampa Bay mixed-used food halls that came after our inception. Armature Works was kick-started and initiated the City’s remodeling of the Tampa Riverwalk. Our mission is to enrich and enhance our beautiful city by bringing our community together, whether that’s through our private events, public-facing events, co-working space, workshops, fitness classes or culinary scene.”
What type of experience does Armature try to emulate for its guests?
“Being in the hospitality industry, we take pride in providing the highest quality of service and care to our clients and guests. However, what sets us apart is that we are dedicated to crafting immersive and unforgettable experiences for our guests. We don’t just plan events, we curate multi-sensory engagements through our expertise, creativity and meticulous planning that leave long-lasting impressions on our guests.”
What has been your most memorable event at Armature?
“There are several that really stand out. For example, there was a mother-daughter joint 50th and 21st birthday celebration with this elaborate Moroccan-inspired décor made up of multi-jeweled colors and drapes from the ceiling. The mom and daughter were even carried into the party by a chariot lifted by Moroccan-inspired strong men.”
“Then there are the ones that really tug at your heartstrings, like two of our favorite charity events: ‘Wine, Women and Shoes,’ which is the ultimate fashion-inspired girls’ night out for a great cause; and then there’s the ‘Children’s Dream Fund’ organization that takes us back to the 80s with their themed gala that makes you feel nostalgic with a blast from the past.”
Can you tell us more about the night markets and Second Sunday markets? How do local vendors get featured?
“Our next Heights Night Market is September 13th and is held every second Wednesday night of the month from 5:30pm – 9:30pm. Our Second Sunday Market + Art Walk is held every second Sunday of the month from 11am – 3pm, with the next one being on September 10th. Both markets feature carefully curated handmade goods from local artisanal makers. You’ll find items such as jewelry, apothecary, candles, apparel, art and more. Local vendors can submit a new vendor application, which can be found on our website calendar’s event pages.”
What type of cocktails do you offer at events?
“Our standard bar features a popular selection of liquors, beer and wine. We also enjoy creating specialty drinks with our events, such as a themed cocktail inspired by the wedding couple’s pets or a festive holiday drink for our December holiday parties.”
What is your favorite cocktail at Armature?
“There are a lot of excellent cocktails at Armature Works, but I have to say my absolute favorite is the “Crazy Eyes” cocktail made with tequila from Stones Throw. The spicy flavor is the perfect amount of spice and it’s super refreshing.”
How has Fintech helped Armature Events with its alcohol management?
“We could not operate without it! It makes paying invoices so easy and it’s one thing I never have to worry about.”
Which parts of Fintech are most beneficial for your business?
“The distribution of invoices makes our work lives so much easier and more convenient. It really makes the process much more efficient, so we can focus more on what we love to do, which is orchestrating these amazing events.”
We thank Ashley McChesney for the chance to speak about Armature Works Events in Tampa. Their location captures the history of Tampa Bay and has set the tone for other mixed-use spaces in the area. Be sure to check out their Events Calendar to stay current on what’s happening.