Tampa's Channelside could get new owners - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa's Channelside could get new owners

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Channelside went into foreclosure several years ago Channelside went into foreclosure several years ago
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Channelside Bay Plaza could be getting a new owner in just a matter of months.

A Tampa-based development firm, Liberty Channelside, LLC, is working to acquire the troubled entertainment complex.

If Liberty is successful, a major makeover is planned for Channelside.  There would be renovations, as well as new tenants.  Liberty would like to attract new retailers, restaurants and entertainment companies to fill the numerous vacant store fronts.

"Any plan is better than no plan," said Rick Drury, owner of Precinct Pizza.  "I'm certainly willing to invite any plan that includes a new landlord in Channelside. Definitely looking forward to it."

Drury said his business has been successful, but he's watched a lot of other tenants close their doors, and the buildings fall into disrepair.  Channelside went into foreclosure several years ago.  While there have been high profile suitors in the past, including Tampa Bay Lightning owner, Jeff Vinik, no one has been able to get a deal done.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said this time might be different.

"It's good to know the project is coming out of the morass, and seemingly moving forward," Buckhorn said.

The price Liberty would pay for Channelside is not being made public, but Buckhorn believes the company will get a good deal, and that will be good for downtown Tampa.

"It's huge. We couldn't have had a worse owner than the one we had," he said.

The Tampa Port Authority is currently in the process of reviewing the proposal. If approved, the closing could happen in less than two months.

Drury believes its a step in the right direction.

"We've always been called the Times Square of Tampa, and I think we could be the jewel of Tampa. There's no question about that," he said.

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