Keith Connors

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Ybor City cigar company sends Bat Signal. The JC Newman Cigar Co. has been hand-rolling cigars for over 100 years, and their presence in Tampa dates back to the 1950s. The company recently acquired the Sanchez y Haya building, which was once a hotel and bar for factory employees over the past century. However, when they began the renovation process, they discovered that thousands of native bats had taken up residence on the building’s second floor. Yep, Night Owls and even the Bats love Ybor City.

To ensure that the bats were not disturbed or harmed during the renovation process, the company built two bat houses across the street and hopes that the bats will become an attraction for the area. Drew Newman, a fourth-generation owner, hopes that this will help educate the public that bats are not harmful creatures.

The Newman family plans to restore the building to its former glory by installing a bed & breakfast, cigar lounge, and bar. They also hope that the revitalization will help the entire Ybor City Historic District by encouraging further development and investment to preserve this part of Tampa’s history.

This may be a cool win/win actually. The JC Newman Cigar Co. is not only preserving their own history but also contributing to the preservation of the historic district in Tampa by restoring the Sanchez y Haya building. They are doing so in an environmentally conscious manner by ensuring that the bats are not harmed and by making them an attraction for the area. NewsChannel8