Balbin Brothers Cigar Factory
A few images of the Balbin Brothers Cigar Factory on North Howard Avenue. Most of the historic cigar-making activity in Tampa was in Ybor City, but several cigar factories, including this one, are in Old West Tampa. The Tampa Cigar Examiner provides an excellent virtual walking tour of the remaining factories.
This particular building was built in the early 1900s and purchased from Balbin Brothers by the Tampa Cuba Cigar Company. This article gives some background on the building, with a link to a timeline of its history. These photos are somewhat out of date – last year Tampania wrote about the building’s further decline and the possible beginning of a restoration.
It is a shame to see historic buildings like this abandoned and neglected. A few of the old cigar factories have been restored and are being used for retail or office space. But several of them are empty and decaying. The most recent information I’ve found about the Balbin Brothers building is that it was purchased by Intelident Solutions in 2006. They announced plans to restore the building for a corporate office, but as far as I know it remains empty.