Owning Channelside Does Not End Story, Is Just Starting

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik may have won Channelside in a bid at bankruptcy court but the Channelside saga is far from over. In fact it is just beginning just in a more positive direction.

Now that Vinik and Liberty LLC have settled out of court and Vinik has the property in his name, the next question is what happens now to the defunct property.

The Vinik ownership hasn’t made anything clear but one thing that is for certain Liberty will be involved in at least some of the development ideas as part of the settlement.  But, what are the development ideas?

Well Vinik isn’t ready to unveil what he is planning on doing to Channelside but he has unveiled a timeline of when he is going to do it.

Per Richard Mullins, of the Tampa Tribune, who spoke with Jim Shimberg, Vinik’s executive vice president and legal counsel, here is what the timeline for Channelside will look like:

♦ Phase One: The nuts-and-bolts mechanics of signing the deal to become the operator of Channelside and discharging the current court-appointed operator of the site. That may happen within one or two weeks, he said.


 Phase Two: Vinik’s designated property manager and leasing agent, Andrew Wright, will begin some of the immediate fixes on Channelside, meaning everything from burned out light bulbs and uncovered electrical panels to fixing any roof leaks, and perhaps repairing the broken escalators to the second level.


♦ Phase Three: With litigation put to rest, Shimberg and others can finally start direct talks with shopkeepers, neighbors and port staff about possibilities within Channelside. The port owns the land underneath the complex and Vinik is the designated tenant/operator.


Vinik has already put aside $10 million in credit to help with repairs and the immediate fixes in “phase two” as a part of his original bid.  Now there aren’t any specific dates associated with this layout but one would think that phase one and two will not take more than six months to a year. Phase Three is the one that will take longer as Vinik and crew find the right shops to set up in the complex.


The story of who owns Channelside is over but the story of what happens to the complex is just beginning. At least there is some semblance of a plan to go with it.

Information from the Tampa Tribune was used in this report.