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  1. Opinion

Ruth: Searching for a catchy name for Jeff Vinik's downtown Tampa project

It is said Jeff Vinik, one of Tampa's biggest moguls, is not crazy about having his $2 billion real estate development smack dab in the middle of the city's downtown referred to as "Vinikville."

It does have a sort of "Grapes of Wrath" feel to it, hardly the image one wants if creating an urban renaissance. Still, "Vinikville" is probably preferable to Hockey Puck Place. A little perspective never hurts.

The 40-acre footprint of the Tampa Bay Lightning owner's domain remains without a catchy name to adorn marketing materials for potential investors, clients and tenants of what is going to be a massive complex of business, retail and residential properties. It's going to be huu ..., well, you get the idea.

To be fair, the moniker Vinikville only gets thrown around because he hasn't come up with anything catchier. So the search is on to brand, or name or whatever all the dirt into some snazzy, memorable title.

Apparently "Vinikville" was more grating on Vinik's sensibilities than Monty Python's Knights Who Say "Ni!" More recently the project has been loosely referred to as "Vinik-Cascade Properties," which really sounds like yet another drab, dreary Florida strip mall project. Tattoo parlor optional.

In a community as large as Tampa, there must be some great minds capable of creating a snazzy description of the property that will be remembered for the ages, although we can probably discard Monticello, San Simon and Mar-A-Lago since they're already taken.

And let's quickly dispense with Channelside Trump Plaza before anyone gets too mischievous.

Other sizable development projects around town managed to get named early on their lives. Encore, The Heights, and even Tampa's SOHO District. Yet Vinik continues to roam the moors of the Channelside District to find just the right title for his Big Guava empire.

As a public service to encourage the artistic minds employed by the tycoon, this space has a few humble suggestions offered free of charge to Mr. Vinik, which is about what they are worth.

Briga-Vinik has a nice ring to it, suggesting a care-free environment where every day is almost like being in love.

Or perhaps Vinikphalia and its suburbs, Upper Vinik Estates and Vinikvania would capture the feel of the vast real estate empire cobbled together by one of Tampa's most prominent business figures.

Vinikalot would certainly suggest a high-end luxury royal feel. Imagine the advertising slogan, "I Wonder What the Vinik Is Doing Tonight."

On the other hand, Vinikian's Rainbow has possibilities where when you're with the developer you love, you love the developer your with.

Jeffwood? Hmmmmm. Perhaps that's a little too lawless. Let's move on. Why not Vinikican City, where miracles happen every day? We could even rename the trolley system the Jeffmobile.

Then again, this is a pretty big real estate project deserving a pretty big name denoting the bigness of it all. Who wouldn't want to live and work in a place called The Vinikderosa, ruled by the Pa Cartwright of Channelside.

Vinik Mountain has some flair. Or perhaps not.

In a nod to its nearby sometimes randy nightlife neighbor, Vinik might consider V-bor City.

Whatever the space eventually gets called, the name is expected to imply an active urban neighborhood teaming with shops and restaurants and condos populated by beautiful people doing whatever it is beautiful people do.

While someone associated with Tampa's downtown visionary may come up with some elegant, urbane signature for the area, it is quite likely the 40 acres of untamed land in the middle of town will forever be regarded as the Garden of Vinik.

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