Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Business

After apologies, Channelside negotiations to restart on Monday

TAMPA — Liberty Channelside LLC said it made personal apologies to the Tampa Port Authority staff on Friday and that it would restart negotiations over the stalled sale of Channelside Bay Plaza on Monday.

Liberty, a partnership of local real estate developers Santosh Govindaraju and Punit Shah, has a deal in place to buy the beleaguered retail center's lease from the Irish Bank that foreclosed on it in 2010. But the Tampa Port Authority owns the land under the complex, and its governing board must approve any deal to sell the property.

The two sides are divided by the Tampa Port Authority's demand that Liberty Channelside put $8 million in escrow, in advance, to prove it will properly redevelop the waterfront property. Liberty countered with $2 million. The port said Liberty has also not provided detailed financial information required to push the deal forward. Neither side budged. Then on Wednesday negotiations turned acrimonious after Liberty made "unprofessional" remarks to the port staff.

Liberty apologized publicly Thursday and privately on Friday. The group said in a statement Friday that it is preparing to present more details about its financial resources and business plans to the port on Monday. If the Port of Tampa and Liberty reach a deal, it won't go before the port board until the June 8 meeting at the earliest. The deadline to get on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting has already passed.

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