New group makes bid for bankrupt Channelside Plaza

A new local group now wants to buy the lease for the struggling Channelside Plaza. It’s offering $7.5 million.

Benjamin Mallah, a developer, made the offer Tuesday morning to the Tampa Port Authority board. He said his company specializes in turning developments like Channelside around.

"I see a major destination for anyone living or visiting the city of Tampa,” he said.

Mallah pointed to the Tampa Aquarium, Tampa Bay Times Forum, cruise terminals and new condos as reasons Channelside Plaza should be thriving.

"Everything is here,” he said. “All we need now is to inject the proper management and some capital, of course, into revitalizing the shopping center."

Rick Drury, the owner of Precinct Pizza, told ABC Action News the prospect of a new owner is encouraging.

"For six years this has been going on. I would love to see someone come in and invest some money back into the building,” he said.  “A simple paint job, general Repairs and things like that."
Mallah agreed.

"We feel we can step in, take over and get our hands dirty,” he said. “Dig into it. Turning it around and improve."

He thinks a homerun for the mall would be to fill in vacant spots with outlet. 

The federal bankruptcy judge asked the Irish Bank, which owns the lease in bankruptcy, to come up with a process to accept a bidder in April.
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