In an unexpected turn of events at the May 21st meeting, the governing board of the Tampa Port Authority rejected a potential deal for Liberty Channelside LLC to purchase Channelside Bay Plaza. Since Channelside Bay Plaza sits on land owned by the Tampa Port Authority, the governing board has the right to approve, or veto, potential buyers for the plaza.
Liberty Channelside LLC, a joint venture between Tampa developers Punit Shah of the Liberty Group and Santosh Govindaraju of Convergent Capital Partners LLC, made a bid for an undisclosed amount to purchase Channelside Bay Plaza from Irish Bank Resolution Corp. Earlier in May, escrow negotiations seemed to reach a standstill with the Port Authority requesting $8 million and Liberty Channelside countering with $2 million.
As it stands now, Channelside Bay Plaza is currently owned by Irish Bank Resolution Corp. The Irish government formed the IBRC to take over assets owned by the Anglo Irish Bank Corp. The Anglo Irish Bank Corp made the original loan for the entertainment and retail complex to Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. of New York in 2006. Ashkenazy defaulted on the loan and the bank foreclosed on the property in 2010.
The Options for Channelside Bay Plaza
- The governing board of the Tampa Port Authority is continuing with a lawsuit against Irish Bank Resolution Corp for "nonmonetary default" for allowing the complex to deteroriate. IBRC could potentially lose the property in court.
- Tampa Port Authority could purchase the entertainment and retail complex.
- Irish Bank Resolution Corp could find a new buyer or pool of buyers.
The question has also been asked if Tampa Bay Lightning owner, Jeff Vinik, is still interested in purchasing the complex. Vinik was negotiating a deal with the bank last year. Complications with the bank ended that deal before the governing board of the Tampa Port Authority had the opportunity to vote.
At this point, only time will tell what is next for Channelside Bay Plaza.