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Group planning Channelside takeover meets with public today | News

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Group planning Channelside takeover meets with public today
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Tampa, Florida -- In just two weeks, the big Channelside development could be on the path to a new owner. And Wednesday, we will hear from the people planning to take it over.

The twelve-year old complex is officially called Channelside Bay Plaza. An Irish bank took charge of it after its owners couldn't pay the mortgage. But that Irish bank failed, so essentially the government of Ireland owns it.

Lightning owner Jeff Vinik emerged as a frontrunner to take over last year. But he backed off his plans as it became clear how much legal red tape he'd face taking over the property.

When the Tampa Port Authority meets in two weeks, they'll have the option to bring in a new pair of developers to take over the complex.

That move would pave the way for those developers to work to officially buy the place over the next two months.

Who is this? They're Bay Area developers called Liberty Group and Convergent Capital Partners. Each company has multiple revitalization projects going in our area right now.

They say they have a contract with the Irish owners of Channelside and can seal the deal if they get all the right approvals.

Leaders from the two companies are holding a town hall meeting Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at The Florida Aquarium to talk about their plans, and -- they promise -- to listen to ideas and concerns from folks in the neighborhood.

What will they build? We hope to learn a lot today.

They've told the Tampa Tribune we'll see a new gateway feeling to the area with "significant changes there to the sense of arrival for residents, visitors, fans at the Forum, the Florida Aquarium and so on."

And they've told us they're planning a big investment to make the complex more of a mixed-use complex than just a retail mall. That means places to work, and shop, eat, and stay the night -- all in one spot.

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