The Westshore District is home to one of the most notable shopping and dining destinations on Florida’s West Coast. September 2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of International Plaza and Bay Street, a mall frequented by thousands of Tampa natives and tourists each year. The mall was originally set to open on September 11th, 2001, but due to the 9/11 attacks it was moved to September 14th. Since 2001, this regional shopping center has grown and transformed into the distinctive Tampa Bay destination that it is today.
“We are so excited to celebrate our 20th anniversary and we look forward to many more years of bringing world class retail to the Tampa Bay region,” says International Plaza and Bay Street’s General Manager, Gary Malfroid.
Keep reading as we explore the history of International Plaza and Bay Street, highlight its standout shopping and dining options, and share how you can join in on the 20th anniversary celebration.
International Plaza and Bay Street is one of the Tampa Bay area’s top tier dining and shopping destinations. Located in the heart of the Westshore District adjacent to the Tampa International Airport, its prime location attracts both local residents and visitors. This enclosed, two-story regional shopping center accompanied by an adjacent outdoor lifestyle center features more than 200 specialty stores and 16 sit-down restaurants to satisfy anyone’s shopping style and cuisine cravings. In addition to these options, International Plaza features Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Dillard’s department stores as well as the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel for visitor or staycation accommodations. From quick service food kiosks and affordable shopping options to fine dining and high-end designer and luxury brands, International Plaza and Bay Street appeals to everyone’s shopping and dining preferences.
Since its inception 20 years ago, International Plaza and Bay Street has undergone many shifts and updates. Although International Plaza opened its doors on September 14, 2001, plans for the mall had been in the works since 1986 by real estate developer Dick Corbett first through International Plaza Ltd, and later Concorde Cos., partnering with Taubman Cos. The mall is built on 150 acres of land that was previously an 18-hole Hall of Fame golf course, and now encompasses 1.19 million square feet of gross leasable space. The plaza began with anchors Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Dillard’s, as well as an 11,000 square foot Cheesecake Factory restaurant. Since then, the Lord & Taylor has closed and been occupied by different stores, but the other four pillars remain. Despite its grand opening being only days after the September 11, 2001 attacks, International Plaza’s business started out strong and continues to thrive to this day.
With more than 200 specialty stores, International Plaza and Bay Street has endless options for shopping. Ranging from affordable fashion to high-end luxury brands, stores are available for all style and budgetary needs. Retail options can be broken down into twelve categories: Women’s fashion, Men’s fashion, Teen’s fashion, Luggage & Handbags, Accessories & Jewelry, Health & Beauty, Electronics, Entertainment & Attractions, Food Specialty, Home Decor, Kid’s & Toys, and Sports & Fitness. Some of the standout brands include Apple, Burberry, Gucci, Tesla, Tory Burch, Tiffany &Co., Peloton, lululemon, Zara, and Restoration Hardware.
Once all that shopping has worked up visitors’ appetites, they don’t even need to leave International Plaza and Bay Street to get a bite to eat. From quick bites to fine dining, this plaza offers a wide variety of cuisines to satisfy any craving. In kiosks around the mall you can find snacktime favorites like Auntie Anne’s, Great American Cookie, and Starbucks. Heading to the food court, shoppers can dig in to quick service bites from places like Chipotle, Chick-fil-a, and Aussie Grill. International Plaza and Bay Street has 16 options for sit-down restaurants, ranging from casual to fine dining. Casual options include California Pizza Kitchen, Nordstrom’s Bazille, The Cheesecake Factory, and Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar. For a more upscale meal, you can wine and dine at Brio Italian Grille, Ocean Prime, and The Capital Grille. Venturing out from the plaza itself, many Westshore District restaurants are nearby on Boy Scout Boulevard. These options include Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Outback Steakhouse, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant and more.
Located in the Westshore Business District, International Plaza and Bay Street neighbors many large corporate companies. These huge employers not only create jobs and bring in new residents to the Westshore District, but also increase foot traffic to the retail stores and restaurants located in and around International Plaza and Bay Street. Some of these companies include:
PwC was founded in 1998 and is the second-largest professional services network in the world. It is considered one of the Big Four accounting firms. PwC’s Tampa Bay office is located on Boy Scout Boulevard and employs around 3,500 people in this location.
Bloomin’ Brands is one of the world's largest casual dining companies, with a family of brands including Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, and Aussie Grill by Outback. Founded in Tampa in 1988, Bloomin’ Brands has kept their headquarters in the area with an office in Corporate Center One on Boy Scout Boulevard, adjacent to International Plaza and Bay Street.
Cousins Properties is a fully-integrated, self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT) founded in 1958. Their Tampa office is located in the Westshore District’s Corporate Center II, next to International Plaza and Bay Street. The 125,000 square-foot Tampa space employs 450.
To celebrate 20 years in the Tampa community, International Plaza is donating more than $10,000 to local nonprofits in 2021. They are also rewarding shoppers with a 20-gift card giveaway on Instagram! Visit Instagram.com/internationalplaza to enter for a chance to win one of the 20 prizes.