Vinik's vision includes 'Channelside Live' - FOX 13 News

Vinik's vision includes 'Channelside Live'

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Listen to Bill Parducci talk about what downtown Los Angeles was like before L.A. Live was built in 2007, and it sounds an awful lot like parts of downtown Tampa.

"It was really dead. It was a nine-to-five, five-days-a-week type of thing," said Parducci. "Just go to the event, get in, get out."

L.A. Live is next to the Staples Center, where the Kings and Lakers play. And now, hockey and basketball are just one part of the city's urban experience.

"You can go there early, knowing there's a dozen places we can go get something to eat, or there are things we can do afterwards, or meet some friends there."

The man responsible for building the combination of several hotels, restaurants and a movie theater is former Lakers owner Tim Leiweke.

He just happens to be the brother of Jeff Vinik's top aide, Tod Leiweke.

Tod spoke to Tampa port commissioners on Monday to sell them on Channelside Live.

"We brought in the folks that did LA Live," said Leiweke. "There are tenants out there who believe this could be a great development."

Longtime Fox LA journalist Phil Shuman has covered L.A. Live for over a decade.

"I don't think you could find one person who is not happy with the way this came out," said Shuman.

Aside for common tax breaks for hotels, Shuman says Tim Leiweke's group built L.A. Live without much public money.

They have not said how much they'll invest here, and caution it won't be a mirror image of L.A. Live.

LA has what Tod Leiweke has promised Tampa: growth, on top of growth.

"They continue to build additional projects outside the scope of L.A. Live around that area that were spurred by the L.A. Live success," said Shuman.

The Vinik group has not given a timeline as to when the project would start.

The first step is getting a final stamp of approval from a bankruptcy judge, which could happen on July 15th.

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