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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Upscale sports bar coming to BayWalk...or is it?

ST. PETERSBURG -- Two sentences posted on Facebook page are causing quite a stir.

"New Ultra Sports Lounge and Night Club coming soon to Baywalk. Casual family fun all day and Miami style club all night."

That's big news for watchers of BayWalk, the shopping and entertainment complex that is now about 80 percent vacant. For months, BayWalk managers have begged city officials to be more patient, telling them that their vote on banning protesters in front of the complex last year would pay off once tenants moved in to make the project successful again.

So, is it true? Well, not quite...or maybe, not yet anyway.

"They have not signed a lease," said BayWalk's leasing agent, Curtis Rorebeck. " We have traded proposals, but we have not consummated a deal yet. Let me take the word 'yet' back. We have not consummated a deal."

"They" would be owners of The Loft, a Courtside Grille meets Miami nightclub concept, according to Angelo Proestopoulos, one of the club's four partners. The Facebook page in question was registered to The Loft BayWalk.

"One of our marketing people posted it," Proestopoulos said. "It's getting a lot of hits."

After BayWalk officials noticed it, Proestopolous said his group was told to chill.

"We were told not to push anything until we have a signed contract," he said.

But Rorebeck and Proestopoulos agreed that the buzz on the premature announcement means great publicity for BayWalk.

"I'm not overly against it," Rorebeck said. "It probably helps us more than it hurts us."

-- Michael Van Sickler, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Thursday, September 16, 2010 3:40pm]

    

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