Tampa Bay WaVE, a local start-up incubator, is opening a second Tampa location inside Channelside Bay Plaza.
WaVE's downtown Tampa location has been filled to near capacity with entrepreneurs since it opened in March 2013. The second location, a 14,000-square-foot office in Bay Plaza formerly occupied by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, will open on March 1, according to a press release. Tampa Bay WaVE has already leased much of the new space to three client companies.
Tampa Bay WaVE expects more than 30 workers to use the new incubator space within the first month, and that number could double within a year. WaVE moved its first incubator to 500 E. Kennedy Blvd., in 2015.
"Thanks to a vibrant local entrepreneurial ecosystem, we continue to see an increase in the number of quality startups being created and looking for support. We are literally bursting at the seams with the greater demand from companies for space to build their businesses, especially those businesses that are still growing at rates too fast for most commercial real estate options," said Linda Olson, president of Tampa Bay WaVE, in a statement. "Flexible space like this new location in Channelside Bay Plaza is critical for helping companies stay here and grow here."
CBP Development LLC, a company of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, bought the struggling 230,532-square-foot retail center from the Irish Bank Resolution Corp. in 2014 for $7.1 million. Bay Plaza hasn't changed much since CBP Development LLC, took over. The center is 70 percent vacant and several tenants were given eviction notices late last year. Strategic Property Partners, the real estate company backed by Vinik and Bill Gates' Cascade Investment, moved its offices there from Amalie Arena in May.
"SPP is proud to support Tampa Bay WaVE and local tech startups," said James Nozar, CEO of SPP in a statement. "As a company, we are passionate about fostering entrepreneurship throughout our community. We're delighted that WaVE and other new tenants are joining SPP at Channelside Bay Plaza."
SPP and Tampa Bay WaVE signed a flexible short-term lease. Tampa Electric, Vology, Frontier Communications and the city and county governments will cover some of the up-front moving costs and make minor improvements to the Bay Plaza space for WaVE client companies, the release said.
In September, Nozar unveiled the details of a redevelopment plan for Bay Plaza, which includes new waterfront condos, restaurants and a park. The plan must be approved by Port Tampa Bay's board of directors. It is unclear if Tampa Bay WaVE will be permanent tenant if the redevelopment plan is approved.