Tampa Bay WaVE to open second startup incubator in Channelside Bay Plaza

Florida High Tech Corridor president  Randy Berridge is stepping down this week.  CHERIE DIEZ   |  Times
Florida High Tech Corridor president Randy Berridge is stepping down this week. CHERIE DIEZ | Times
Published Jan. 31, 2017

Tampa Bay WaVE, a startup incubator, is opening a second Tampa location inside Channelside Bay Plaza.

WaVE's downtown Tampa location has been near capacity since it opened in March 2013. The second location, a 14,000-square-foot office in Channelside Bay Plaza formerly occupied by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, will open on March 1, according to a news release. Tampa Bay WaVE has already leased much of the new space to three client companies.

Tampa Bay WaVE expects more than 30 workers to use the new incubator space within the first month, and that number could double within a year. WaVE moved its first incubator to 500 E Kennedy Blvd. in 2015.

"Thanks to a vibrant local entrepreneurial ecosystem, we continue to see an increase in the number of quality startups being created and looking for support," said Linda Olson, president of Tampa Bay WaVE, in a statement.

CBP Development LLC, a company of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, bought the struggling 230,532-square-foot retail center from the Irish Bank Resolution Corp. in 2014 for $7.1 million. Channelside hasn't changed much since CBP Development took over. The center is 70 percent vacant and several tenants were given eviction notices late last year. Strategic Property Partners, the real estate company backed by Vinik and Bill Gates' Cascade Investment, moved its offices there from Amalie Arena in May.

SPP and Tampa Bay WaVE signed a flexible short-term lease. Tampa Electric, Vology, Frontier Communications and the city and county governments will cover some of the up-front moving costs and make minor improvements to the Channelside space for WaVE client companies, the release said.

In September, James Nozar, CEO of SPP, unveiled the details of a redevelopment plan for Channelside, which includes new waterfront condos, restaurants and a park. The plan must be approved by Port Tampa Bay's board of directors.