Buzz has long been building over Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's plan to transform, rebuild and revitalize a southern swath of downtown Tampa. It just got a big buy-in from the City Council, and shovels will soon hit the dirt to get things started.
So. What are we supposed to call it?
As the Times' Justine Griffin reports, Vinik's big real estate venture has yet to be named. (Though one would assume a snappy moniker would be valuable for getting people who live here behind it.) The generic "Vinik project" seems to chafe some involved who think any reference should represent both Vinik and Cascade Investment, which formed the developer Strategic Property Partners, or SPP.
The Vinik Cascade SPP Project?
To his credit, Vinik was not enamored of the unsolicited early nickname Vinikville. But over those University Club power lunches with that million-dollar high-rise view of what he will one day have wrought, people have to call it something. It's like your neighbors brought home a new baby but hadn't gotten around to that whole naming thing. Awkward.
Well, we're happy to help out here.
Hooterville has been offered — a nod not only to Tampa's small-towny ways but also to the tight-T-shirt-and-chicken-wing emporium that stuck it out at the beleaguered Channelside entertainment complex perched at downtown's edge.
Times readers helpfully suggested San Vincisco, Vinikwood, San Vinadino, Vinsylvania, Viniapolis, and Most People Can't Afford To Live There Town. I bet Vinikville is starting to sound pretty good about now.
Worth actual consideration: Waterside, the Waterfront, Downeast and SoDo, as in south downtown, complementing the nearby Soho fun mecca on South Howard Avenue.
There's the Lightning District. Bayside (though Miami already has one). Top of the Bay, where it sits, though the mayor who likes to wear shamrock pants and dye the river green might prefer Top O' The Bay.
In fact, Mayor Bob Buckhorn has yet to get his moniker on anything major around here, since the big parks coming to fruition under his watch are already named for prior notables. (Though he did manage to etch his name in stone on a pillar at one of them.) Buckhorn has been a most enthusiastic booster of That Which Will Not Be Called Vinikville.
"Bobtown?" suggests Patrick Manteiga, political columnist and publisher of La Gaceta.
City Council member Charlie Miranda likes something not too aloof. Councilwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin suggests the South River District, given the Hillsborough River that winds through downtown and the pretty Riverwalk at its edge.
Here's an interesting suggestion from the City Council's Guido Maniscalco, something apart from the Cuban sandwiches and cigars iconic elsewhere in town: Tocobaga, the Indian tribe that long ago lived in the area.
" 'Where do you live?' 'The Tocobaga.' " he says. "Sounds exotic."
You get the point. Clearly, people are interested enough to want to call it something, a good sign.
So name that baby already.
Sue Carlton can be reached at [email protected]