Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinick unveiled artist renderings of his vision for downtown Tampa during a Hillsborough County Commission meeting Wednesday. It’s a $1 billion project that would create office space, entertainment and living space across 3 million square feet.
Sorry Rays, there’s no baseball stadium in any of the pictures.
What the pictures do show is a robust landscape of walkable entertainment centers around the existing Amalie Arena where the Lighting play, casual outdoor dining, new office towers and even a new hotel. One rendering shows a skywalk connecting the arena to the new hotel and a Lightning game being broadcast on the side of a wall.
The new hotel would include 400 rooms and 50 penthouse condos. An aerial drawing of the southern part of downtown Tampa adjacent to Amalie Arena shows a black hole of empty space used now largely for parking. A rendering of what that space would look like under Vinik’s plan shows that space transformed into a useful cluster of buildings and waterfront park space.
Vinik’s unveiling of plans wasn’t just a ploy to dispel any remaining baseball speculation, rather a way to drum up some business for him and the future of his development plans. According to the Tampa Bay Times, of the three office towers planned, two of them will be on hold until there are enough contracts with occupants. This release is meant to draw interest.
During a presentation Strategic Property Partners, the company that will ultimately oversee construction, told commissioners they expected the plan to yield some $900 million in economic impact and $35 million in new tax revenue. They expect the project to create 3,700 jobs.
Other components of Vinik’s vision released were a plan to extend Riverwalk to the Tampa Bay History center. That plan includes a boardwalk along the mangroves in Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park and would include slips for boats. There would be a waterfront park behind Channelside and some of the confusing roads in the less dense parts of downtown would be fixed.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, there are some hiccups. Vinik doesn’t own all of the land necessary to complete the entire plan. Vinik has tried unsuccessfully to buy that land. Other property, like the Channelside parking lot, is considered prized land by developers, not just Vinick.