J.C. Newman continues apace with their renovations throughout Ybor City and, more specifically, the block surrounding the company’s historic El Reloj cigar factory on N. 16th St, Tampa, FL.
Following the major restorations of the factory itself in 2020, the company announced plans to restore a neighboring property across the street the year following. Once known as the Sanchez y Haya hotel, the building had fallen into significant disrepair since its early 1900s construction, becoming home to a colony of as many as 10,000 bats. At the time of announcement, J.C. Newman planned to open a new hotel, restaurant, and cigar lounge in the building, with an estimated completion in late 2023.
The plan also included a safe relocation for the bat colony as well, moving them to a bat house in a nearby park. These plans have now been elaborated on, with local station Bay News 9 covering the story earlier this month.
The company plans to build a 10,000-square-foot park named Cigar Workers Park, which will include a safe home for the bats, plants and trees, a large fountain in the center, and “a place to gather for our neighbors, for visitors, [and] our employees, to really be able to sit outside and enjoy nature.”
Future plans expand to include a small tobacco farm as well, with fourth-generation J.C. Newman owner Drew Newman noting:
“Just to see what type of conditions we have in Tampa because cigars have never been grown here,” he said. “So, that we can actually grow tobacco here in Tampa and naturally cure it, ferment it and age it and then use it to roll cigars upstairs.”
J.C. Newman has planned the ribbon cutting for Cigar Workers Park on May 5, which also happens to be the company’s 128th anniversary.