Sunday, November 19, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Climbing out of the Channelside morass

RECOMMENDED READING


The effort to turn around Channelside Bay Plaza in Tampa was daunting enough before this week's news that its Irish owners have moved the property under the protection of an out-of-state federal bankruptcy court. This is bad news for the Tampa Port Authority, which owns the land under Channelside; bad news for the Channel District, which needs an active retail and entertainment center; and bad news for taxpayers, who have primed that part of downtown for new shops and residents and who have a vested stake in seeing that area succeed.

The Tampa Bay Times' Jamal Thalji reported that the Irish Bank Resolution Corp. filed for federal bankruptcy protection Monday in a move to secure its U.S. holdings from creditors. By adding a new legal layer to the Channelside drama, which will begin next month in a Delaware court, the bank has complicated and likely slowed the process of selling the retail center, renovating it and bringing Channelside under much-needed local control.

Channelside's situation has gone from bad to worse. In the past year, two purchase agreements have collapsed, the center has lost more shops and customers, and the complex has lost valuable time in a recovering economy by failing to repair its brand. The center's two-headed governing structure is a major problem: While the bank owns the buildings, the port owns the land, and both sides must agree on any new operator. That leaves the port and the public as players in the Irish bank's liquidation proceedings.

It's become increasingly clear that the port needs to move the bank out of the picture. Ideally, the port would secure outright ownership of the property and hire a retail operator, or act as go-between to connect the bank with a credible buyer. This month, the port authority board authorized chairman Stephen Swindal to negotiate directly with the bank and any potential buyer. Swindal has the business sense to break the logjam. But the port is suing the bank over the conditions at Channelside, which has caused a breakdown in communication between the two sides. The environment to make a deal could not be worse, even though the bleeding at Channelside is unsustainable.

The port should keep pushing for a breakthrough. It needs an accurate value for Channelside and a plan for incorporating the complex into the port's broader business operation. The board should have a public discussion over a vision for Channelside, and it needs to show a greater sense of urgency in resolving the impasse with the bank. Having Swindal as the point person is a start. But the port must work quickly to establish a new direction for this coveted public property.

Comments

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old — barely middle age among higher education institutions — USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17