Vinik part of group bidding for Channelside property
TAMPA - Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team, is part of a group vying to buy the troubled Channelside Bay Plaza shopping center in Tampa. The Channel District property has been in receivership for months while the bank holding its mortgage, Anglo Irish Bank, has sought a buyer. Any purchase of the property would have to be approved by the Tampa Port Authority, which holds a ground lease on the property. On Wednesday, the bank received bids on the purchase of the mortgage note, said Andy Fobes, the port authority's public relations director. It wasn't immediately clear Thursday how many companies submitted bids, but a spokesman for the Lightning confirmed Vinik is part of one such bidding group. Lightning spokesman Bill Wickett said he had no further information late Thursday.This would be the latest sign of Vinik spending heavily on the Lightning and in the community. He spent about $40 million renovating the Tampa Bay Times Forum and has impressed civic leaders with donations to local charities.