Lightning owner Vinik breaks ground on new $3 billion development project

TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik joined Tampa city leaders on Tuesday in breaking ground on a $3 Billion project.

10 new buildings are slated to begin construction along "Water Street Tampa" near Amalie Arena this year.

22 new buildings are expected to go up in the area over the next decade, doubling the size of Tampa's skyline.

The first to break ground is a new luxury hotel called J.W. Marriott.

It's one of two new Marriott branded hotels opening on Water Street, in addition to one Marriott Hotel that's already there.

The J.W. will be 26 floors high, with over 500 hotel rooms, about 126,000 square feet of meeting space, and a 30,000 square-foot hotel ballroom, expected to be the largest in the city.

The building will also have two full-service restaurants, retail space, and the city's highest rooftop bar.

It's already planned to be a media and fan event space when the Super Bowl returns to Tampa in 2021, which sets a hard deadline to finish the hotel.

The J.W. will replace a parking lot currently used by Amalie Arena.

"Our mission is nothing short of raising the bar and improving experiences for everyone that lives in this Tampa Bay area," Vinik told the crowd about the "Water Street Tampa" project during the groundbreaking Tuesday morning, adding, "if we just make money, and create a thriving district on our 55 acres and that's all we accomplish, we have failed."

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