Vinikville drawings released – no baseball stadiums

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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.

Enterprise Florida and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. plan to offer public incentives to encourage companies to relocate.

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.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email