Tampa, Florida -- Businesses in the Channelside Plaza are excited now that Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is taking control of the complex.

Businesses like Qachbal's Chocolate and Surf Down Under are glad they stuck it out through the hard times and are ready for big changes downtown.

Although Vinik's team hasn't revealed a master plan, some details are known:

-- This month, Vinik submitted plans to the city for a 400-room hotel just north of the Forum. His team also hinted at the possibility of developing luxury residential units.

-- Vinik has also been buying empty lots along Channelside Drive, a location some people speculate could for a baseball stadium. Vinik's people had no comment on that issue.

No one knows if Channelside Plaza will be razed or remodeled. If it's the latter, look for a cosmetic facelift, because the property has been neglected for a while.

Once everything is legal and the place gets some spit and polish, the next big step will be meeting with the business owners to discuss ideas about what Channelside should ultimately be.

After that, count on Vinik wrapping his arms around the entire area of Channelside from the Tampa Convention Center all the way to the Florida Aquarium and forge it into a massive business, residential, and entertainment complex.

Businesses in Channelside welcome the plaza's new owner, Jeff Vinik.

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