Public weighs in on future of Tampa's Channelside - WFLA News Channel 8

Public weighs in on future of Tampa's Channelside

Posted: Updated:
Artist's rendering of possible future look for Channelside Artist's rendering of possible future look for Channelside
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

People packed a room at the Florida Aquarium Wednesday night to give developers suggestions about how to turn around Tampa's sleepy Channelside district.

Suggestions ranged from making the area more pet-friendly to improving waterfront views.

"We live here. We work here. We want Channelside to really become what it was always destined to be," said Punit Shah, President and Chief Operating Office of the Liberty Group. "We could've invested in so many different type of properties. This is just the crown jewel of Tampa."

Shah and his partner Santosh Govindaraju envision a "mixed-use lifestyle center."

"A work-play-live component to it where there's activity at all hours of the day," he explained.

They won't disclose how much they'll invest in the district, but made one thing clear.

"We are not financing it. It's all cash. So we're ready to go," Shah said. "We need to make sure this is done in a world-class manner, and we are looking for feedback from the neighborhood and community in general to tell us how we accomplish that."

Developers hope a hotel could attract the one million cruise passengers who come here each year to stay here.

They don't envision a tower, because some already complain Channelside obstructs the water view. It could be about three stories tall on top of the existing Channelside.

They would also like to see a skybridge to ease parking worries.

"I think that if they can really pull this off ... and it sounds like they've got some great people working with them to try ... I think if they can pull this off - they're not only going to change this area - they're going to help draw in all of downtown too," said Lauren Capo, who attended the meeting and is a commercial real estate researcher. "They're doing something that's different for downtown, which is: They're really enveloping the neighborhoods, which no one has really done in the past 25 years down here."

David Kunkel, who lives in the district, says it's a good start.

"There seems to be a disconnect between some of the developers ... I'd like to see them work together and put together a comprehensive concept to turn this whole district around," Kunkel said. "I think these are the type of developers that are important to build upon the future of the Channel District, which unfortunately came to a stall back in 2007."

There are big concessions Tampa's Port Authority must first buy into.  Investors are asking to pay half the rent they normally would for the first two years, saying they'll pump so much money into the place they'll lose $1 million in the first year.

"I don't see roadblocks, per se," said Paul Anderson, Director of the Tampa Port Authority. "I see that they have to pass some very stringent due diligence on our part. We owe it to the citizens in this community."

Shah and Govindaraju make their pitch in front of the Port Authority on May 21.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @wflatampa

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Bradenton apartment complex to be repaired after 8 On Your Side report

    Bradenton apartment complex to be repaired after 8 On Your Side report

    Friday, August 22 2014 3:06 PM EDT2014-08-22 19:06:47 GMT
    Last week, 8 on your side showed you some of the dilapidated conditions inside some units at the Townhouse Park Apartments in Bradenton.Tenants were having problems with mold and rodents.There was also water damage.
    Last week, 8 on your side showed you some of the dilapidated conditions inside some units at the Townhouse Park Apartments in Bradenton.Tenants were having problems with mold and rodents.There was also water damage.
  • 2.2 million bean bag chairs recalled after deaths

    2.2 million bean bag chairs recalled after deaths

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-08-22 15:01:24 GMT
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. CPSC photoAbout 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. CPSC photo
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death.
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death.
  • TPD claims training stories fell short

    TPD claims training stories fell short

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:12 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:12:02 GMT
    The Tampa police department is responding to an 8 On Your Side investigation into a January shooting.The police contend the reports were incomplete and contained errors.The stories focused on a January 9th police shooting in Tampa and the lack of crisis intervention team training at T.P.D.
    The Tampa police department is responding to an 8 On Your Side investigation into a January shooting.The police contend the reports were incomplete and contained errors.The stories focused on a January 9th police shooting in Tampa and the lack of crisis intervention team training at T.P.D.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Life easing back to normal in NY Amish community

    Life easing back to normal in NY Amish community

    Friday, August 22 2014 2:35 PM EDT2014-08-22 18:35:38 GMT
    An investigator says a northern New York couple kidnapped two Amish sisters from their family farm stand with a plan to turn them into slaves but released them after becoming frightened by news reports.
    Life among the Amish in this northern New York community is easing back into a sense of normalcy a week after two young sisters were abducted from their family farm and as more detailed allegations emerge about their day...
  • Haircuts for the Homeless

    Haircuts for the Homeless

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 11:38 AM EDT2014-08-20 15:38:55 GMT
    On his days off, stylist Mark Bustos gives free haircuts to the homeless of New York City. Here are some of the transformations.
    On his days off, stylist Mark Bustos gives free haircuts to the homeless of New York City. Here are some of the transformations.
  • 59 Arrested By Greenville Police In Latest Prostitution Sting

    59 Arrested By Greenville Police In Latest Prostitution Sting

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:30:28 GMT
    Greenville Police released information Tuesday that 59 people were arrested in a four day long prostitution sting.
    Greenville Police released information Tuesday that 59 people were arrested in a four day long prostitution sting.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.