Tampa, Florida -- "I'm here today to announce we are a bidder for Channelside," said Vinik development CEO Tod Leiweke.
And with that, Jeff Vinik's development company dropped the hammer. The owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning's bid to buy Channelside is impressive: $7.1 million, and a bold, exciting, cosmopolitan vision for the future.
"We've brought in world-class experts. We brought in the folks that did LA Live," said Leiweke, who also is CEO and alternate governor of the Lightning.
Vinik's group, CBP Development, was the only group to make a presentation, and the Port Authority, which owns the land Channelside sits on, unanimously agreed. CBP will formally bid $7.1 million at auction on Wednesday.
Then, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court would need to approve it. For Tampa, it's a match made in heaven.
"Once we get this property under Jeff Vinik's control, we know he will revitalize this entire corner," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
"We will put other projects on hold. That's how serious we are. Once this is completed, it will be the crown jewel of downtown," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman.
Residents and business owners like the idea, too. They say Channelside has languished far too long. "Actually, it should be done. It should've been done a long time ago. It would be a great addition to Tampa," said resident Blush Gorsen.