Saturday, November 18, 2017
Business

Suitor seeks to block sale of Channelside to Port of Tampa

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — The owners of Channelside Bay Plaza sought a federal judge's approval last week for a speedy sale of the faded downtown mall to the Tampa Port Authority.

A former suitor is saying not so fast.

Liberty Channelside LLC, which tried and failed to buy the mall last year, asked the judge to block the sale until a court rules on Liberty's claims that the port improperly thwarted its bid to purchase the mall from current owner Irish Bank Resolution Corp.

It's the latest legal back-and-forth over Channelside and threatens to further delay a sale that was supposed take place by the 2013 holidays.

"The Sale Motion should be denied and the Court should provide for an auction … ," reads the motion Liberty filed on Monday, "that not only provide for a full and fair sale but which also re(-)mediate the abusive and overreaching tactics of the Port Authority in tainting the competitive sale process."

Last year, the port and the Irish bank resolved their long and bitter feud over choosing a new developer to turn the nearly empty retail center around. In September, the port authority, which owns the land, agreed to buy the Channelside building from the bank for $5.75 million so that it can have sole power to choose a new developer.

But the sale needs the approval of the federal court because last year the bank sought Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection for its American assets.

After months of delay, the bank asked the judge on Friday to approve the Channelside sale as soon as possible and to waive the standard 14-day window for anyone to challenge the deal in court.

Liberty quickly challenged the expedited sale. Negotiations over its own offer to purchase Channelside for $5.5 million grew contentious last spring, and in May the port board voted to reject the sale.

Then, after the port signed its own deal to buy Channelside, Liberty sued both the port and the bank in federal court in December.

In its filings Monday, Liberty's attorney said that neither the port nor the bank has responded to the allegation in its December lawsuit: that the port intentionally sabotaged its deal.

Liberty not only wants Channelside to be auctioned off, but it is also seeking unspecified monetary damages against the port.

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

Comments
Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

As economists predicted, the tough hit that Florida jobs took from Hurricane Irma was not long-lived. The state added 125,300 jobs in October, almost breaking even from the 127,400 jobs it lost in September. According to state figures released Friday...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Apple will postpone release of  HomePod

Apple will postpone release of HomePod

The Washington PostApple said Friday that it’s pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year.The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart s...
Updated: 11 hours ago
HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

ST. PETERSBURG — Good Housekeeping and St. Petersburg-based HSN have chosen five finalists for their entrepreneur competition. The partners are searching for a novel item to promote as endorsed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, denoting reliability and ...
Published: 11/17/17
Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

How are we doing?That was the Big Question posed more than once this past week in Tampa Bay. First, the Tampa Bay Partnership and USF debuted in-depth and new ways to measure Tampa Bay across a wide range of indicators to gauge whether we are gaining...
Published: 11/17/17
Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

The main course was expected: a pair of sleek silver Tesla semi-trucks that get 500 miles per charge, go from zero to 60 mph in five seconds and — if the hype is to be believed — promise to single-handedly transform the commercial trucking industry.B...
Published: 11/17/17
We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

What one thing could be added to the Tampa Bay startup community to help it grow and prosper?The Tampa Bay Times reached out to these leading area entrepreneurs and startup experts for answers.RELATED COVERAGE: Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? D...
Published: 11/17/17
Before you hit the mall: here are some key holiday shopping hours

Before you hit the mall: here are some key holiday shopping hours

Plotting a shopping strategy for the holiday weekend? Here’s a look at holiday store opening hours for some major retailers:Thanksgiving8 a.m.: Kmart1 p.m.: JCPenney4 p.m.: GameStop5 p.m.: Best Buy, Macy’s, Toys "R" Us, Kohl’s6 p.m.: Old Navy, Target...
Published: 11/17/17
Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

TAMPA — The two biggest trends in the automotive space are ones you’ve likely heard of: electric vehicles and autonomous cars. Both will feature prominently at the Tampa Bay International Auto Show today through Sunday. The event at the ...
Published: 11/17/17
Developer changes approach as downtown Largo project lags in financing

Developer changes approach as downtown Largo project lags in financing

LARGO — Driving down West Bay Drive, you may notice some changes to downtown Largo.A new 29-unit apartment complex on Ridge Road stands finished and ready for residents. South of the complex, land that was formerly home to a community of rundown cott...
Published: 11/17/17
Want to travel solo? Local enthusiasts share stories, tips for holidays trips

Want to travel solo? Local enthusiasts share stories, tips for holidays trips

Stephanie Maisonneuve visited the walled city of Cartagena, a port city off the Caribbean coast of Colombia. She rode horseback down the city’s cobbled streets clucking past flower-filled balconies and massive, wooden arched doors. The travel enthusi...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17