The southwest portion of Channelside Bay Plaza will be razed to make way for a heavily programmed park featuring art, festivals and pop-up bars and restaurants.
The Port Tampa Bay board of directors on Tuesday voted unanimously to grant Strategic Property Partners permission to demolish a portion of the plaza and allow for tenants other than retailers and restaurants in the space. SPP is the real estate development company controlled by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Cascade Investment LLC.
Port Tampa Bay owns the ground beneath Channelside; SPP acquired the ground lease to the property in 2014. The request approved Tuesday is an amendment to the lease agreement.
“Our plan is to create a vibrant, yet functional waterfront, while respecting the unique needs of the port as well as maximizing value for both the port and the community,” Ali Glisson, a spokeswoman for SPP, wrote in an email Monday. “We believe the existing plaza would only fail again if it remained a retail-only destination.”
Bryan Moll, SPP executive vice president and development director, presented the developer’s plans for the property to the port board.
Moll told the board that there is high demand for the office space in the plaza, which is about 75,000 square feet on the second level and 15,000 to 20,000 square feet on the ground floor.
In September 2016, SPP presented its initial vision for a redeveloped Channelside to the port board. The group is still working on a plan with the port, Glisson said.
“We remain committed to our vision to redevelop the Channelside waterfront,” Glisson wrote, “which involves the eventual demolition of the existing plaza structure.”
Demolition of the southwest wing could begin later this summer. That would remove a building with a 27,500-square-foot footprint and replace it with a park that’s nearly 42,400 square feet (nearly 1 acre). The park is a temporary development and could be in place for three to five years.
“The primary goal is to open up the existing plaza to the water,” Moll said following the meeting.
SPP officials said Tuesday that they have selected a local contractor for the work but did not identify the firm. Project costs were not disclosed.
Ashley Gurbal Kritzer is senior reporter for the Tampa Bay Business Journal.