The real estate firm Jeff Vinik tapped to oversee Channelside Bay Plaza is laying the groundwork for revitalizing the tired waterfront mall.
Franklin Street, based in Tampa, is hiring an events manager for the plaza— someone to serve as the property’s “nucleus,” said Kelsy Pazur, director of public relations and marketing for Franklin Street, and communicate with Amalie Arena staff, plaza tenants and the general public.
Franklin Street’s strategy is to boost foot traffic at the plaza to support existing tenants and also to show potential tenants that a consistent customer base exists at the plaza. Capitalizing on existing events — like throwing pre- and post-game parties when the Tampa Bay Lightning play at home, for example — will be key.
Franklin Street is looking for someone who can create the type of events that will draw tourists and locals alike to the plaza.
“This is a brand-new position, so there isn’t a road map,” Pazur said. “We need someone who’s a visionary.”
Vinik closed on his acquisition of the ground lease to the plaza on Aug. 19. The plaza is just one piece of his downtown land holdings; he owns close to 25 acres between downtown and Channelside and is said to be in talks to buy the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina.
He hasn’t yet revealed his plans for the area, but his team has hinted at a mixed-use development that would include residential, office, retail and hotel components, all with a goal of activating the area around the hockey arena.
The plaza has struggled since it opened. It cost $49 million to build and opened in February 2001. By April, its developers were seeking leasing help to “recruit additional tenants at the mostly empty retail and entertainment complex,” according to a Tampa Bay Business Journal story from the time. View PDF