In the early 1880s, Tampa was an isolated village with a population of less than 1000 and a struggling economy; however, its combination of a good port, Henry Plant’s new railroad line, and humid climate attracted the attention of Vicente Martinez Ybor, a prominent Spanish-born cigar manufacturer.
Ybor considered several communities in the southern United States and decided that an area of sandy scrubland just northeast of Tampa would be the best location. In 1885, the Tampa Board of Trade helped broker an initial purchase of 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land, and Ybor quickly bought more.
Historically, the boundaries of “Greater Ybor City” stretched from Tampa Bay on the south to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (formerly Buffalo Avenue) on the North, and from Nebraska Avenue on the west to 40th Street on the east. This would include all of today’s neighborhoods of Historic Ybor, East Ybor, VM Ybor, and Ybor Heights plus a portion of East Tampa. The Ybor City Historic District encompasses the central portion of that area, approximately straddling Interstate 4, which bisected the neighborhood in the 1960s.
Ybor City median real estate price is $121,584, which is less expensive than 73.8% of Florida neighborhoods and 68.0% of all U.S. neighborhoods. The Ybor City neighborhood is very unique in that it has one of the highest proportions of one, two, or no bedroom real estate of any neighborhood in America.