Port Tampa Bay discusses dispute over purchase of Channelside

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Controversy over who will purchase the Channelside shopping center could be resolved during a hearing in Delaware Tuesday.

The Tampa outdoor mall is being sold by the Tampa Port Authority, which got a $7.1 million bid by a company controlled by the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

During a board meeting Tuesday in Tampa, Port Tampa Bay’s director Paul Anderson laid out the disagreement erupting because of a more recent offer by a challenger.

“CBP LLC was declared the highest and best bidder on the Channelside lease by the bank’s special liquidator. In the week following the auction, Liberty Channelside LLC, which appeared at the auction but refused to participate in it, filed objections to the auction and is now asking the bankruptcy court in Delaware to set aside the auction results and award it both the lease and loan assets.”

As of air time the Delaware hearing had not finished.

In other port business, Anderson reviewed a study by the Florida Department of Transportation on how future Port Tampa Bay cruise ship business could be affected by the height of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

“The only sector of our business being impacted by the height of the bridge is our cruise business. We believe strongly in the future of the cruise industry at our port and we recognize the responsibility that we have to proactively and thoughtfully analyze the issues and the options in working with our FDOT partner related to the height of the bridge.”

County Commissioner Sandra Murman encouraged Port Tampa Bay to write a letter to the Florida Department of Transportation to continue to the 2nd stage of the study. The board agreed.

This is huge for us. You look that all the stars are lining up. We have this Channel study, we’ve got Channelside, we’ve got the Master Plan, and its all converging together into one huge economic development opportunity, and to make us the leader, not just in the state but the Southeast region.

The study is still in its beginning stages. Tampa Port Authority’s next board meeting is August 19.