Tampa Bay Lighting owner Jeff Vinik admitted that he formed his group "Strategic Property Partners" so he could slowly and quietly buy up property surrounding the Amelie Arena in downtown Tampa.
That silence was shattered Wednesday when he finally unveiled his "vision plan" for the Channelside District.
Calling it a "game-changing moment" for the city of Tampa, Vinik told a packed house of Tampa dignitaries in a Marriott Waterside ballroom what he planned to do with the forty acres he acquired:
- 575,000 square feet of new hotel and meeting space (400 new hotel rooms projected) to go along with the Marriott Waterside Hotel his group has bought and will also be redeveloping;
- 250,000 square feet of retail space, including a "retail corridor" that will connect Amelie Arena to the new hotel and the Tampa Convention Center. Channelside Bay Plaza on the development's opposite end will also be redeveloped;
- 1,100,ooo square feet of office space, including four office towers. Vinik is working with city and state officials to bring at least one major corporate headquarters to the area;
- 660,000 square feet of both high and low density residential space.
"We think it is a game changer in people wanting to be here and millennials, empty nesters, they want to move back to the urban corridor, it's been well-documented," Vinik told reporters. "We're creating what is in such high demand right now nationally, it's a trend, it's for real, and we're going to hopefully provide that opportunity in a relatively seamless manner."
- 330,000 square feet for the relocated USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute;
- and around 5,000 new parking spaces in five garages.
Vinik's ultimate goal: form an urban neighborhood surrounded on three sides by Tampa's waterfront.
"We are trying to create an 18-7 live-work-play-stay environment here," Vinik said, mentioning the need for residents to get six hours of sleep. "It should be a great urban waterfront and frankly, it was a lot of fun to share our vision of bringing a corporate headquarters down and USF School of Medicine and new hotel and Channelside renovation and retail and residential and entertainment."
It will cost more than a billion dollars to redevelop almost 3 million square feet of downtown, with much of that money coming from Microsoft founder Bill Gates' Cascade Investment LLC, which Vinik said has been a supporter of the plan "since day one and a half."
A few more numbers were also unveiled Wednesday:
- $910 million annual economic output for the region;
- 6,700 total jobs including 3,700 'direct' jobs in the district and 3,000 elsewhere in the county. The 'direct' jobs are forecast to have an average wage of $78,000;
- and $35 million in annual total taxes generated by the area, including $15 million in sales taxes and $14 million in property taxes.
Vinik estimates it will take five to ten years to complete the redevelopment. Construction could start as early as next summer, with road alterations starting things off. USF's medical facility is expected to be among the first buildings to break ground on.
Vinik and Tampa officials are asking for residents to weigh in on the plan by visiting their "crowdsourcing" website, TampaWaterfront2020.com.