TAMPA – The century-old clock of the Y. Pendas y Alvarez cigar factory will ring again.
When the factory was built in 1909, the clock tower was the second in the region, the tallest in the state, played music in a syncopated gong on time and lit up at night.
After the factory stopped producing cigars in the 1950s, the building fell into disrepair. The clock has not worked for decades.
“We want to give it back to its original life,” said Ted Boscaino, whose family now owns the West Tampa Building at 2301 N. Albany Ave. “It will be our gift to the community.”
The Boscainos are restoring the three-story, 43,000-square-foot plant from the basement. The 120 foot clock tower will be the last piece of the project.
The adjoining 18,000 square foot warehouse built in the 1950s and the factory basement will be the new home of Boscaino’s Wine Stream company.
The Boscainos produce their wine in Italy and ship it to the United States in “flexible tanks,” Boscaino said. “They’re like giant bladders.”
Wine Stream transfers the wine to vats and then barrels for sale, a process that will take place in the warehouse of the cigar factory. It is currently taking place at a 5,000 square foot facility in Drew Park.
The basement of the factory will serve as storage for barrels for Wine Stream and its customers.
“You can buy a barrel and age it in the basement for as long as you want,” said Max Boscaino, the patriarch of the family. “You watch the aging and keep it there for a month, three months, six months, whatever you want.”
The first floor is being transformed into a wine bar and pizzeria.
The second floor will become an Italian market and the third will serve as an event space or office.
Finally, the Boscainos will take care of the restoration of the clock tower.
The warehouse, basement and first floor are expected to be open to the public by January, the Boscainos said, but there is no schedule for the rest of the plant.
“We wanted to have a type of historic building linked to our brand and our business,” said Ted Boscaino. “We came across this building and said, ‘Bingo. It is the perfect place to develop what we do. ‘”
The capital lease is $ 4.5 million, they will spend around $ 3 million on restoration and the building will be in their name in a year, said Max Boscaino.
The clock tower, he said, will cost around $ 70,000 to restore.
They buy the factory from Phil Farley and Henry Bentley, who also own the nearby Santaella Cigar Factory at 1906 N. Armenia Ave., which they had painted white. This design decision is unpopular among historic preserves, but legal because the plant is not designated as a local historic monument. Such a designation prevents homeowners from altering the original historic appearance of a building’s exterior.
Farley and Bently bought the Pendes factory for $ 3.3 million in 2019 in Tampa Tarp, which manufactures items such as cushions, umbrellas and tarps there.
The Boscainos have said they are restoring the Pendes factory as if it were a historical monument. They could apply for an official designation when they are done.
“This would protect our work from any change,” said Max Boscaino. “But I don’t think anyone would want to change our job. It will be perfect.”
They are also restoring the interior to match its original appearance by removing the modern suspended ceilings and wood walls to expose the wood ceilings and brick walls.
And the Boscainos incorporate the remaining artifacts from the cigar factory into the interior design. These include a cigar press, tobacco scale and a safe. The third floor has a six-piece wooden humidifier.
“The clock still has the original faces,” Ted Boscaino said. “And the original engine.”
Y. Pendas & Alvarez Co. built the plant for $ 7,000 from a project by architect Fred J. James, who then created El Centro Español de West Tampa.
“With this new building in West Tampa, Pendas & Alvarez will then easily be the city’s most cosmopolitan company,” the Weekly stand reported. “In the distance, enhanced by a large tower, it appears like a church.
The only other clock tower in the area was the Hillsborough County Courthouse, where the Tampa Police Department is now located.
A year after the end of the Pendes factory, the El Regensburg Cigar Factory was built in Ybor City, along with another clock tower.
The Regensburg-based company purchased the Pendes factory in 1920 and produced cigars at both factories until it moved operations to Pennsylvania in the early 1950s.
Today, the Regensburg factory in Ybor City is owned by JC Newman Cigar Co. It is the last factory in Tampa to still produce cigars. The Newman family restored the factory clock in 2002.
The name Regensburg is spelled out on a tiled floor at the entrance to the Pendes factory.
But the Boscaino family said the tiling needed to be removed so the wood underneath could be restored. They fear that the tile will not survive the process.
If not, Max Boscaino said they could install a new tile panel with his family’s name on it.
“This building,” he said, “I want it to be my family’s legacy.