Make us your home page

Museum of Science and Industry board interested in Jeff Vinik's downtown Tampa project

TAMPA — Jeff Vinik was a tad busy Monday — his Tampa Bay Lightning were in New York for that night's NHL playoff game — but he still found time to address a very important group: the Museum of Science and Industry's board of directors.

Vinik is undertaking a $1 billion redevelopment of downtown Tampa, and he thinks MOSI would be a great addition to the project.

So on Monday the Lightning owner briefed board members on the idea — and they're definitely interested.

"I think the board was flattered to be asked to consider whether or not they want to be included in that strategy," said board chairman Robert Thomas, "and clearly, the board is interested."

The more than two dozen board members tasked the smaller executive committee with officially exploring the concept of relocating the museum from E Fowler Avenue next to the University of South Florida to somewhere in downtown Tampa.

Thomas said that likely means that sometime in the future, MOSI will hire a consulting firm to put together a feasibility study exploring such a move.

"We'll look at some outside help and guidance from an experienced professional who does this thing for a living," said Thomas, who is the CEO of Two Rivers Ranch Inc. in Thonotosassa.

Vinik owns and controls 40 acres of downtown property, including the lease to Amalie Arena and Channelside Bay Plaza. He intends to spend the next 10 years transforming it into a new urban waterfront neighborhood, business and entertainment district.

He hired a team of urban planners to make it a pedestrian-friendly area that will be attractive to not just millennials, but also families. One of the planners' ideas was to bring in a family-friendly attraction.

In April, MOSI officials acknowledged that they were talking about the idea to Vinik's downtown development company, Strategic Property Partners, or SPP.

But the MOSI board's move on Monday was the first step toward officially exploring the idea.

"We believe MOSI would make an excellent addition to the district, although it's too premature to discuss any detail of how or where it would specifically fit the footprint," Vinik spokesman Bill Wickett said. "We'll continue to study the possibilities with the MOSI board and Hillsborough County to see how we can continue moving forward."

The University of South Florida already plans to build its new medical school in the middle of Vinik's project. To that end, Vinik donated an acre of his downtown property worth up to $12 million to USF.

SPP has acknowledged that the Lightning owner might have to make a similar donation — be it land or money — to help make a downtown MOSI a reality. But no details have been discussed yet.

"We didn't get into anything specific," Thomas said.

After Monday morning's meeting, Vinik flew to New York to see his Lightning defeat the Rangers 6-2.

Contact Jamal Thalji at or (813) 226-3404. Follow @jthalji.

Museum of Science and Industry board interested in Jeff Vinik's downtown Tampa project 05/20/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 10:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. SOCom seeks civilian drone pilots to develop new technology through ThunderDrone


    TAMPA — For the last three years, Nicole Abbett has been using drones as part of her photography business, with clients like the city of Tampa and construction companies.

    Josh Newby, 31, Palm Harbor, of Tampa Drones fly's a drone in England Brothers park, Pinellas Park, 8/25/16. As drone popularity increases as a hobby and business, local governments are navigating a legal grey area- where, when, and how should drone flights be allowed?
  2. New apartment complex delivers unique floor plans


    RIVERVIEW — A new luxury apartment community has opened in the Progress Village area touting itself as a distinct living option just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.

    Alta at Magnolia Park dubs its new apartment community, that opened earlier this year in Riverview, a modern and distinct option for living just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.
  3. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  4. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  5. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24


    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.