Monday, April 23, 2018
Business

Vinik-Cascade project hires Dallas parking company for Amalie Arena lots

TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's real estate venture has hired a Dallas-based parking company to handle lots during games, concerts and other events at Amalie Arena.

ParkHub's cloud-based software and handheld readers will create "more payment options and less time in line," company founder and CEO George Baker said Tuesday in a news release, noting that parking is often an arena's first point of contact with fans.

Time wasted in slow-moving lines of cars is something Vinik and his partners are thinking about as they create a plan for Strategic Property Partners' 40 acres near the arena.

"Traffic flow — getting in and out — is so critical," Vinik recently told a Tampa business group.

Using ParkHub's products, attendants will be able to take credit card payments, track cash and validate bar codes or QR codes from parking reservations purchased in advance, the company said. Parking operators also can manage personnel more efficiently and adjust prices on the fly based on supply and demand.

It's an impressive and innovative use of technology "to improve the parking experience," said Jim Shimberg, chief operating officer for Strategic Property Partners, the development team Vinik formed with Microsoft founder Bill Gates' Cascade Investment fund.

Bringing ParkHub on as a vendor, Shimberg said in a written statement, is expected to allow Vinik's real estate team to "concentrate on our core business: developing downtown Tampa as a connected, urban, multiuse project on the waterfront."

ParkHub will be used at the arena but not for daily parking at any other Strategic Property Partners-controlled venues, including the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina.

Still, hiring ParkHub is not the only step Strategic Property Partners is taking to smooth the flow of traffic and make pedestrians feel welcome in its planned waterfront district. At last week's Thought Leaders @ The Centre Club discussion series, Vinik also talked about planned road improvements and speed limits being lowered in the district.

"Here's a statistic for you," Vinik said, citing urban planning research he recently read. "The average pedestrian, to stay interested and stimulated as they walk down the street, they need a new experience every 5 seconds."

To achieve that, Vinik said parking garages will be wrapped with stores and cafes. With individual buildings, planners are looking at ways to vary what people see at street level so they remain engaged and interested.

"Without that, we have no district," he said. "All we have is a series of buildings."

Strategic Property Partners' plans include upgrades to the Channelside Bay Plaza shopping center and the 719-room Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, the construction of the second hotel just west of the arena, plus a 650,000-square-foot office building, 200,000 square feet of stores, restaurants, galleries, sports bars and nightclubs, 1,000 residential units, the University of South Florida's Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute, plus another office building for health-related companies.

In addition to Cascade, Vinik has a partnership with Delos, a New York-based real estate company that works to improve the health of the people who live, work and visit its projects through enhanced air quality, better lightning, ample green space, easily walkable design, the use of nontoxic building materials and access to nutritious food.

Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times.

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