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Tampa still retains 25 cigar factories, with 23 of them actively in use



Tampa still retains 25 cigar factories, with 23 of them actively in use

In the 1920s, Tampa was rightfully known as “Cigar City” due to the presence of over 200 cigar factories, with the majority concentrated in Ybor City and West Tampa. During this era, Tampa held the esteemed title of being the global epicenter of the cigar manufacturing industry.

However, as the decades passed, a combination of urban renewal, interstate construction, and devastating fires took their toll. Now, only 25 of these historic factories remain, and just one continues to operate as a cigar factory. Nevertheless, there has been significant progress, with only two of these heritage buildings currently standing vacant.

Here’s an informative update on each of these historic cigar factories, with asterisks denoting those protected from demolition or modernization due to their status as locally designated historic landmarks or their location in historic districts:

Andres Diaz

  • Address: 3102 N. Habana Ave.
  • Modern use: Headquarters for the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association
  • Built: 1908

Arturo Fuente (formerly The Charles the Great Cigar Factory)*

  • Address: 1310 N. 22nd St.
  • Modern use: Arturo Fuente Cigar Co.’s corporate headquarters
  • Built: Construction date unclear, with records suggesting 1903 or 1895

Balbin Bros. (formerly Samuel I. Davis Cigar Company)

  • Address: 1202 N. Howard Ave.
  • Modern use: Currently undergoing conversion into a boutique hotel
  • Built: 1904

Berriman Morgan

  • Address: 1403 N. Howard Ave.
  • Modern use: Now a Saint Leo University satellite campus
  • Built: 1904

Corral Wodiska

  • Address: 1302 N. 19th St.
  • Modern use: Office space shared by multiple companies
  • Built: 1916

F. Lozano & Sons (El Sama)*

  • Address: 1410 N. 21st St.
  • Modern use: Serving as the Central Florida Lions Eye Bank headquarters
  • Built: 1908

Garcia Y Vega

  • Address: 3104 N. Armenia Ave.
  • Modern use: Converted into a co-working office space
  • Built: 1908

Gonzalez-Fisher (El Reloj)*

  • Address: 2311 N. Angel Oliva Sr. St.
  • Modern use: Functions as a U-Haul facility
  • Built: 1908

J. Seidenberg*

  • Address: 2205 N. 20th St.
  • Modern use: Office space occupied by TransferWise, a London-based financial tech firm
  • Built: 1894

La Corina

  • Address: 202 S. 22nd St.
  • Modern use: Currently rented as office space by multiple companies
  • Built: 1895


  • Address: 2802 N. Howard Ave.
  • Modern use: Shared office space
  • Year built is unclear, with records indicating 1898, 1905, and conflicting historical reports

Oliva Tobacco Building (Casa Oliva)*

  • Address: 2008 N. 19th St.
  • Modern use: Transformed into Casa Oliva apartments
  • Built: 1888

Pancho Arrango*

  • Address: 2115 N. 15th St.
  • Modern use: Part of Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor campus
  • Built: 1905

Perfecto Garcia

  • Address: 2808 N. 16th St.
  • Modern use: Undergoing conversion into an apartment building
  • Construction date uncertain, with conflicting reports of 1914, 1915, and 1917

Regensberg & Sons (El Reloj)*

  • Address: 2701 N. 16th St.
  • Modern use: J.C. Newman Cigar Co. operates Tampa’s last operational cigar factory here
  • Built: 1910

Salvadore Rodriguez

  • Address: 402 S. 22nd St.
  • Modern purpose: Serves as the headquarters for the Pilgrim Permocoat construction company
  • Construction date unclear but dating back to the late 1800s

Samuel I. Davis

  • Address: 900 N. Howard Ave.
  • Modern use: Currently vacant, with a for-sale sign removed recently and no record of sale
  • Built: 1910

San Martin & Leon

  • Address: 2202 N. Howard Ave.
  • Modern use: Houses the headquarters for MaintenX International, a facility maintenance and repair company
  • Built: 1902

Santaella & Co.

  • Address: 1906 N. Armenia Ave.
  • Modern use: Functions as artists’ lofts, with plans for a restaurant and banquet hall pending city approval
  • Built: 1904

Tierra del Lago*

  • Address: 1908 N. 36th Street
  • Modern use: Undergoing conversion into an event space
  • Built: 1908


  • Address: 200 N. Edison Ave.
  • Modern use: Houses the University of Tampa’s Facilities Management Department
  • Built: 1923

Vicente Nieto

  • Address: 2708 N. 18th St.
  • Modern use: Currently vacant, with ownership by Liana Fuente, great-granddaughter of Arturo Fuente Sr.
  • Built: 1925

V.M. Ybor (Tampa’s first brick cigar factory)*

  • Address: 1911 N. 13th St.
  • Modern use: Functions as a Church of Scientology facility
  • Built: 1886

These surviving cigar factories, each with its unique history and architectural significance, are a testament to Tampa’s rich heritage as a cigar-making hub.

Y. Pendes y Alvarez

  • Address: 2301 N. Albany Ave.
  • Modern Use: Currently undergoing conversion into a winery.
  • Built: 1909
  • In the know: This factory, designed by architect Fred J. James and constructed for $7,000, is a historical gem. Notably, Fred J. James also designed the iconic El Centro Español of West Tampa. Y. Pendes y Alvarez stands out as one of the two remaining factories with a clock tower, adding to its architectural significance.

This information was sourced from city and county reports as well as news archives, contributing to the preservation of Tampa’s rich cultural heritage.


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