Make us your home page

New hints emerge for Tampa Bay Lightning owner's plans for downtown Tampa

Jeff Vinik and partners own 21 acres in the Channel District.

Jeff Vinik and partners own 21 acres in the Channel District.

TAMPA — Some of the ideas Jeff Vinik is considering for the Channel District are old ideas that might see new life if his plans come to fruition one day.

Representatives of Vinik and his partners are contemplating building a hotel and "possible residential" space of an unknown size on a parking lot at the corner of S Florida Avenue and Old Water Street, records show.

The site sits between the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the venue's parking garage and the 27-story Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina. It's one of the parcels Vinik acquired when he bought the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and Times Forum lease in 2010.

It's an old idea for that corner of downtown, said Mayor Bob Buckhorn, and a good one for an empty lot so close to the Tampa Convention Center.

"I think it's probably logical to assume that it's forthcoming," Buckhorn said, "and that's a great location for an additional hotel. It might also help us in terms of additional meeting room space to complement the convention center."

Vinik's representatives also approached the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority about extending Cumberland Avenue east to Meridian Avenue and turning it into a four-way intersection.

Cumberland and Meridian are separated by the CSX rail line that serves the nearby ConAgra flour mill. Developers first pitched linking the two roads in 2007, but it never happened because their project never happened.

"We didn't see any problems with it then," said Pat Maguire, the expressway authority's general counsel, "and we don't see any problems with it now."

However, Cumberland runs through 13 contiguous acres of empty land that Vinik and his partners own between the Times Forum on the south and the ConAgra plant on the north. They're being used as parking lots for hockey fans, but in Buckhorn's mind that's also the ideal spot for a baseball stadium — assuming ideal funding is ever found.

Vinik and his partners own 21 acres around the Times Forum. A spokesman declined to comment Wednesday about Vinik's plans for his Channel District holdings.

The records that offer hints at Vinik's plans don't appear to be a sign that he's about to execute any grand plan for the Channel District. Instead, the records appear to show that Vinik's people are meeting with public officials to explore the possibilities for those areas.

Though Vinik controls a great swath of the Channel District, there's one important piece he has no control over: Channelside Bay Plaza, the failing retail center whose sale has been held up in federal bankruptcy court.

The Tampa Port Authority owns the land under Channelside, but it signed a deal to buy the building from the Irish Resolute Bank Corp. Once the deal has been blessed by federal and state judges, the port can find a new operator for the complex.

Vinik was once the frontrunner to do just that, and planned to unify the center with the Times Forum.

But his ownership group bowed out in 2012 due to legal complications. There has been no indication from his representatives whether Vinik wants another shot at it.

However, the port's governing board has said in the past that Vinik is still its ideal choice.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at (813) 226-3404, or @jthalji on Twitter.

New hints emerge for Tampa Bay Lightning owner's plans for downtown Tampa 01/15/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. '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]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street


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

  3. 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.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters


    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights


    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.


    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]