Cinema owner: "I don't see how Channelside can survive"

7:55 PM, Apr 22, 2011   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- It's billed as one of Tampa's major entertainment spots with nightclubs, movie theaters and even an upscale bowling alley. However, one of the major tenants at the complex is saying he doesn't see how Channelside can survive.

Parking for the complex is a big part of the problem. When people pay for parking at the garage across the street from Channelside, they use a chip that they get when they pull in that calculates the time in the garage.

Jeff Cole put the token in the machine on Thursday and it said he had been there one day and 23 hours, although he had only been at Channelside for an hour and a half. Cole was told he would have to pay $28 for his hour and a half in the garage, which is owned by the Tampa Port Authority. He says he was told the policy is that he had to pay and then request a refund, but he refused to do it.

Howard Edelman, one of the owners of the Channelside Cinemas, paid the bill but says there is a major issue over parking. He says others have who come to the theater complain about similar overcharges at the garage and say parking is a nightmare.

In addition to the overcharges, Edelman says there are problems every time there is an event at the St. Pete Times Forum. He says that despite the fact his lease says people going to the theater can park for four hours for 50 cents, the garage charges $10 to park.

Edelman says the Port Authority doesn't care. He also lashes out at the city, because when there is a major even at the forum, the city closes off Channelside Drive, which Edelman says further discourages people from coming.

He says he can't see Channelside surviving.

Edelman says those who are overcharged for parking, or can't get to Channelside easily, say they won't come back. 

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