Tampa, Florida -- At the corner of Old Water and South Morgan streets in Tampa sits a nondescript parking lot, but as of today symbolizes big change for the city.
Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's group filed an application Thursday to build a 400-room hotel on this 2.8-acre lot. These renderings show what could be including 45,000 square feet of retail, residential units, and meeting space.
For tenants and guests of the mostly desolate Channelside the saying rings true: If you build it, they will come.
"I'd love to see it packed again!" cries one man walking down the corridor of Channelside on his way to the bowling alley.
The manager of Channelside's Hooters, Simon Beadle, was ecstatic for the news.
"I was delighted to hear the news! To break ground is a big deal for us here in Channelside. I'm surprised, but in a good way."
Mayor Bob Buckhorn believes Vinik's announcement will revitalize downtown and attract large conventions and is a step in the right direction for all of Tampa Bay.
"Creating a destination means there's going to be people staying downtown, and spreading money all over the area. It's an exciting time in our communities. It makes me feel like all the work we've done in the past three years is coming to fruition," says Buckhorn.
Thursday's proposal includes first draft renderings, which will likely be changed many times before a plan is finalized. So far, there is no date to break ground.