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Downtown Tampa land sold to companies with ties to baseball

TAMPA — Land once targeted by an advocate of a downtown baseball stadium has been bought by two companies connected to a Colorado businessman with significant pro sports stadium experience.

In December and January, the 7 acres north of the St. Pete Times Forum sold for a total of $9.2 million, property records show.

The buyers were 514 Channelside Properties, which paid $2.4 million for a triangle of land where Newk's Cafe once sat, and Pinnacle Channelside Properties, which paid $6.8 million for the site of the once-proposed Pinnacle high-rise condominiums.

Both companies share an address with the real estate firm Gold Crown Management in the Denver suburb of Greenwood Village. Gold Crown partner Raymond Baker has served as chairman of Denver's Metropolitan Major League Baseball District and Metropolitan Football Stadium District, which helped arrange financing and construction for the city's pro football and pro baseball stadiums.

But the new owners say they are not thinking baseball.

Gold Crown Management has owned and operated multi-family, retail, industrial, and parking real estate in different markets since the mid-1970s, Michael Baker, the son of Raymond Baker, said in an e-mail to the Times.

"Our partnerships purchased the real estate in Tampa with an interest in parking in the near-term and as of yet undetermined development in the future but certainly not tied to a baseball stadium," he said.

The assembled properties in Tampa's Channel District are bounded by Channelside Drive on the south, E Finley Street on the north, S Nebraska Avenue on the west and S Caesar Street on the east. That assemblage was part of the proposed downtown baseball stadium site floated by Tampa real estate broker Claire Clements. Options for the land encompassed by that vision expired more than a year ago, and that site included additional property to the east.

The land recently purchased is too narrow for a typical baseball stadium. For example, a St. Petersburg waterfront stadium proposed by the Tampa Bay Rays would have occupied a site nearly twice the size, and would have been a tight fit at that.

Downtown Tampa land sold to companies with ties to baseball 06/03/11 [Last modified: Monday, June 6, 2011 12:46pm]

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