Tampa, Florida -- An investment group led by Lightning owner Jeff Vinik had the winning $7.1 million bid at an auction Wednesday for control of Channelside Bay Plaza in downtown Tampa.
Vinik's group, CBP Development, was the only group to make a presentation to the Port Authority, which owns the land under Channelside. The board approved the bid unanimously.
Vinik's vision is to turn the plaza into an open-air entertainment complex called Channelside Live.
"We've brought in world-class experts. We brought in the folks that did LA Live," said Tod Leiweke, who also is CEO and alternate governor of the Lightning, said earlier this week.
Later Wednesday, Port Tampa Bay issued a statement: "Port Tampa Bay is pleased that the future appears bright for Channelside Bay Plaza. The port authority is looking forward to continuing to work closely with the IBRC (Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited), the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and CBP Development, LLC in finding a resolution to make the complex into the first-class attraction that the people of Tampa Bay deserve and assuring that it becomes the gem of downtown Tampa."
The board's decision must be approved by the bankruptcy judge overseeing Channelside at a July 15 hearing in Delaware.