Tampa Port Authority tries to takeover Channelside plaza

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The morass at Downtown Tampa’s Channelside Bay Plaza appears to be coming to an end, as the Port of Tampa has come to an agreement to buy the struggling retail center for $5.75 million.

Lightning owner Jeff Vinik appears to be the frontrunner to now buy and rehab the plaza, but Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn – a member of the Port’s board of directors – said the property will go out for bids since so many tax dollars will be at stake.

But since Buckhorn loves talking baseball, we can also count on lots of Rays-to-Channelside rumors the next few days. 

But this news doesn’t change much about the Stadium Saga – at least in the short-term. Finding a place for the Rays to play has never been a problem…it’s all about finding the money to build a new stadium.

And as for whether Jeff Vinik decides to sell his stake in the Boston Red Sox and get involved in baseball stadium-building or just focus on bolstering Downtown Tampa’s entertainment district….is a question for way down the road.

Cross-posted from Noah Pransky’s Shadow of the Stadium blog.