Port Tampa Bay unveils Channel District Vision with maritime park, landmark towers

Landmark towers slender, 75 stories tall

TAMPA - Port Tampa Bay unveiled its stunning new vision for Tampa's Channel District-- a waterfront destination to live, work and play.

The plan will transform 45 acres of Port-owned land in Channelside. The idea is to open the waterfront up to the community and a key piece will be a new park.

PHOTOS: See renditions of Channel District

"You'll be able to walk. The whole idea is the entire waterfront is public use,” said Luis Ajamil, CEO Bermelo Ajamil & Partners, Inc.

"The first project will include a residential tower, a hotel and a market,” said Ajamil.

"The park is really one of the top priorities for us-- to get that park done,” he continued.

A maritime park along the Channel District's Ybor Channel is the centerpiece of a proposed mixed-used redevelopment featuring a two tier park with an elevated walkway. Wavelike residential towers as high as 75 stories tall would anchor the seven acre green space.

"Narrowing of the buildings so that you didn't obstruct, have large buildings blocking the water, which you see in South Florida, Southwest Florida, on the beaches. We didn't want that so we have great public spaces in this project,” said Port Tampa Bay President and CEO Paul Anderson.

The Channel District vision is a $200 million investment of Port funds and CRA money or special tax district money reinvested in the same neighborhood it’s generated.

"Just as the urban core has turned its page, it's time for Port Tampa Bay to turn its page,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

The vision also depends on an estimated $1.5 billion in private money with final phases boasting a new marina and the expansion of Cruise Ship Terminal 3.

Consultants say Terminal 6 will be torn down to make space for the redevelopment.

The Port's plans will dovetail with Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik's Downtown Vision plan to redevelop Channelside Bay Plaza. The Florida Aquarium sits in the middle of the two Channelside redevelopments as a tourist driven fulcrum.

MORE: Vinik announces plans for Channelside

Vinik's team, Strategic Property Partners, has not revealed its master plan yet.

GALLERY: Renderings for Channelside district 

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