TAMPA - The Staples Center in downtown L.A. is where the Lakers and Kings play. Nearby there's a Ritz Carlton Hotel, the Nokia Theatre, a Fleming's Steakhouse and a Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill.
It's a glitzy entertainment model Jeff Vinik's group called Medis Channelside, LLC. is pitching for Channelside.
"If you look at L.A. Live and a drawing of what LA Live looks like, that is what Channelside looks like," said Tampa Port Authority board member Sandy Murman.
Murman tells me she's seen Vinik’s group’s plans to link everything from the Tampa Bay Times Forum to the Florida Aquarium, including a parking lot, into one entertainment strip.
She says overhead pedestrian bridges would connect parking garages across the street and a new grand entrance facing south would lure the Lightning game crowd.
"It is very pedestrian-friendly, very visitor-friendly, very resident-friendly," said Murman.
The Channelside - West Coast connection has everything to do with the Tampa Bay Lightning's CEO Tod Leiweke. His brother, Tim Leiweke, is an entertainment group president with ties to the L.A. Live development.
Tuesday, Port Authority board members learned the bank that owns the Channelside entertainment complex is still negotiating.
"We'd like to see something done as quickly as possible, but in reality, it's probably going to be at least 30 to 60 days before we work out a deal," said Charles Klug, Deputy Port Director Tampa Port Authority.
The Tampa Port Authority owns the land underneath Channelside Bay Plaza. ,The building itself is owned by an Irish government-owned bank.
Murman hope a deal moves quickly.
"A shot in the arm,” she said. “It would give us such a tremendous advantage for visitor attraction. ,It would bring residents to the area.”
And maybe bring a little bit of L.A. glitz to Tampa.
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