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Receiver says Channelside Bay Plaza could go up for sale soon

TAMPA — Long-struggling Channelside Bay Plaza could go up for sale in as soon as two months, a court-appointed receiver said Tuesday.

The CB Richard Ellis real estate firm will market the property, said receiver Chuck Taylor, a commercial real estate veteran who has run Channelside since September.

An asking price probably won't be made public, he said.

Taylor has worked to keep tenants and spruce up Channelside. But the property still had plenty of problems.

The city had 22 fire code violations that were in force when Taylor arrived. Resolving them could take months, he said.

Two-thirds of the waterside shopping and entertainment center is occupied. Annual rent payment are running $700,000 short of covering Channelside's operating expenses, said Taylor, a senior vice president for the real estate management firm Madison Marquette.

The mall is a tenant of the Tampa Port Authority, which owns the land under Channelside. Taylor told the Port Authority's board Tuesday that he renegotiated leases to keep six tenants and is working with five or six more. He fixed cosmetic flaws and said he didn't find structural problems.

The Port Authority's staff feuded for months with the previous owner, New York real estate firm Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. They charged last year that he let the center fall into disrepair, violated city fire codes and didn't pay the agency for giving shoppers free parking in its lots.

The Irish bank that financed Ashkenazy's purchase of Channelside sued to foreclose on the property a year ago.

Anglo Irish Bank of Dublin said in the suit it loaned Ashkenazy's local company, Channelside Bay Mall LLC, $27 million in 2006 to buy the property. Channelside hadn't made a payment in more than a year and owed $26.1 million, the bank said.

The Port Authority later sued to evict Channelside Bay Mall, a move designed to let Irish Anglo take over the property and bring in new management. The agency waived $440,000 it claimed Channelside Bay owed.

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813) 875-1356.

Receiver says Channelside Bay Plaza could go up for sale soon 04/19/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:57am]
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