Jeff Vinik's drive to develop the Channelside District is moving in new directions — across the street.
the owner of the Tampa Bay Storm and Lightning, is now part of groups
that have purchased at least two properties across the street from the
Tampa Bay Times Forum where his teams plays, and just down the street
from the Channelside shopping complex that he hopes to purchase.
parcel is a wedge-shaped plot that previously housed a bar called The
Hut, and before that Newk's Cafe. The restaurant has remained dormant
for months. Facilities staff for the Lightning were cleaning out the
property this week and installing new safety railings around the outside
placed, that property follows Channelside Drive to the south, Nebraska
Avenue to the West and Brorein Street on the northeast.
parcel last sold for $2.4 million in December 2010 to 514 Channelside
Properties LLC — just a few months after Vinik purchased the Lightning.
Officials with the team confirmed that Vinik is now a "noncontrolling"
participant in that group, though they declined to say what Vinik's
long-term plan could be for the property.
For now, the venue will host some events during the Republican National Convention in August, which will be held in the Forum.
a similar move, Vinik is now part of a group that owns a plot to the
west, at Morgan Street and Channelside Drive, that once held a
restaurant and law firm. That property sits vacant. The plot last sold
in March 2011 for $2.7 million, according to the Hillsborough County
property appraiser's office.
properties could play into Vinik's overall plan to redevelop the much
wider Channelside District as he's in the lead to purchase the
Channelside Bay Plaza shopping and entertainment center down the street.
the Forum, Vinik controls a large parking lot to the southeast of the
stadium, plus another to the east that abuts the Channelside complex.
Bob Buckhorn has praised Vinik for his investment into the city and
previously said he expects whoever owns Channelside will need help with
likely we'll limit that to things like sidewalks and landscaping," the
mayor said in April. "To expect a huge investment from the city would be
this summer, officials with Vinik expect to present his proposed
redevelopment design for the shopping complex, and they've long
expressed a desire to have the overall neighborhood revamped.