The former weathered Sans Souci Building on 1315 7th Ave. in Ybor City has moved on and has been totally renovated to house the 6th largest GLBT community center in North America, Metro Wellness & Community Centers. The week long Grand Opening Celebration event that included a huge ribbon cutting ceremony with out going Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, Ybor Property Group developers Joe Capitano, Sr, Frank Capitano and Alan Kahana, Mark Huey – Tampa Economic & Urban Development Administrator and Vince Pardo – YCDC Mgr on Monday. Saturday had hundreds of national, state and local attendees tour the totally renovated 2 story 22,000 s/f yellow brick facility open house. Champagne, refreshments and hors d’oeuvres were served with Special Thanks to Stephen Moss & Steve Donahue of Florida Entertainment Group. Outside is a special patio designed by Tampa’s Pondscapes. Also part of the building is Bio Script Pharmacy and forthcoming USF Primary Pediatric Health Clinic.
The Metro Wellness Center is the largest HIV/AIDS service organization in the West Coast of Central Florida. It provides free HIV testing, substance abuse and mental health treatment and education, clinical services, HIV medical case management and counseling. More community health programs are in the works.
”This used to be a mafia butchershop. People came in but didn’t go out! ” voiced Metro Executive Director, Lorraine Langlais to the large open house group in their new white painted decorated community room. The 1906 landmark building also had been a movie theatre, telegraph office, Maas Bros.Dept Store and a Badcock Furniture store up until early 2003.
A very inspirational opening prayer by MCC Tampa Rev. Phyllis Hunt followed by Dr. Scott Strader, chair of Metro Board of Directors, welcoming all attendees.
”An eyesore but now a shining gem!” said Carrie West, Barrio Latino Commissioner and President of the GaYBOR District Coalition. ” This is a big triumphant moment not just for the GLBTA community but for everyone in Tampa, to help move forward and redeveloping the heart of Tampa, historic Ybor City.”
Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The Aids Institute. applauded the new beautiful facility , the volunteer staff and the exceptional turnout of committed citizens for this HIV AIDS event. ” I want to let everyone here in this room know that if Lorraine needs to get to the ear of the President of the United States, I will tell you she can!”
Terry Stone, Executive Director of Centerlink, GLBT Assoc of Community Centers spoke about Tampa Bays new Metro Center is the 6th largest GLBT Community Center in North America. ” It is bigger and more grandeur than what I was told and possibly imagined but that is Lorraine!”
Florida State House of Representative District 59, Betty Reed said that, “…the commitment of the legislature is for the need of… the overall health of the citizens in this great state.”
Metro Wellness Center is home for everyone! Welcome to GaYBOR and Historic Ybor City.