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Centro Ybor owner joins the bidders vying for Channelside

TAMPA — Another prominent bidder wants to own Channelside Bay Plaza.

Chicago-based M&J Wilkow Ltd., a firm that owns and operates Centro Ybor, has submitted a bid to buy the retail and entertainment complex in the Channel District of Tampa. The firm has paired with two other investors.

"We have bid," said David Harvey, acquisitions director. "We hope we get selected for the bid and redevelopment."

Harvey declined to reveal the amount of the bid or the names of the other investors. The firm paid $11.9 million for Centro Ybor in 2006 and $4 million more to pay off back taxes and other debt.

Last week, the Tampa Bay Times revealed that at least two well-connected local groups have submitted bids to buy Channelside. Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has teamed with Andrew Wright, head of Franklin Street, a commercial real estate firm in Tampa, and Anthony Everett, founder and president of Everett Realty Services in Tampa.

The other group includes Bill Edwards, who recently bought St. Petersburg's BayWalk, Rick Michaels, chairman and CEO of Communications Equity Associates in Tampa, and Ken Jones, executive vice president and general counsel for Communications Equity Associates. Real estate titan Lee Arnold, chief executive of Colliers International Tampa Bay, is doing the real estate consulting for the group.

The $49 million Channelside complex opened in 2001 with few tenants and strong competition from nearby Centro Ybor, which opened about the same time. Channelside, Centro and BayWalk have all had financial struggles. The bank took back Channelside from the owners after they defaulted on a $27 million loan.

The Tampa Port Authority owns the land under the center and has to approve any offer. The agency and city prefer a local buyer and expect the selection process to take a month.

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Centro Ybor owner joins the bidders vying for Channelside 04/09/12 [Last modified: Monday, April 9, 2012 8:56pm]
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