A rich history, a bright future - FOX 13 News

A rich history, a bright future

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

From the outside, the city of Tampa's old Waterworks building looks run down, but one man saw the potential in saving the historic landmark.

"I can imagine my family drinking the water from this building that was once a proud area. We're going to once again build that pride and self-esteem," said Richard Gonzmart.

Gonzmart's family used water from the old building to cook. That cooking eventually led them to open the Columbia restaurant. Now, he wants to give back to the neighborhood with a new restaurant named Ulele.

The building will be transformed into a multicultural restaurant. It will serve foods inspired by Native American and European explorers.

"This is going to be a destination for Tampaians and visitors who come here," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

The city believes Ulele will spark a Tampa Height's revitalization. They said the key is the Hillsborough River.

"Tampa now recognizes that this waterfront is the best thing we have going for us, and we have to focus on it," Buckhorn said. "We have got to develop it, and we got to encourage private sector capital to come and build."

Gonzmart's family will front the bill, while the city will improve a nearby park and spring that will tie in with the restaurant. It is an expense Gonzmart said is well worth it.

"It is an opportunity to develop something that the next generation can be proud of … it's a legacy that I will leave behind for my children and my grandchildren," he added.  

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