‘Seven figures’ into Vinik’s reinvention of Channelside Bay Plaza, a new sense of energy and an increase in sales

Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik is “seven figures” into cosmetic upgrades of Channelside Bay Plaza — and within months of finalizing a long-term plan for the beleaguered waterfront mall.

Vinik won the ground lease to the property on Aug. 19 and tapped commercial real estate firm Franklin Street and Tampa developer Anthony Everett to take the lead on renovating the plaza. Franklin Street CEO Andrew Wright said the group is working with Alfonso Architects in Tampa on a design for the property… …read more

Dawn of a new city in downtown Tampa

Downtown Tampa isn’t a thriving 24/7 neighborhood yet — but the numbers are trending that way.

Vacancies are down across every sector of commercial real estate in the city center, and prices are creeping up to the point that could justify new construction.

Residential development, urban renewal experts say, is the foundation of a thriving downtown. It creates a customer base for the retail and restaurants that make a neighborhood a destination, and a tax base to fund amenities like parks and… …read more

Florida Poly gets go-ahead to build second residence hall

The most recent Florida university got a thumbs-up on a second residential building on its campus.

Florida Polytechnic University, in Lakeland, will complete a 543-bed, 131,000-square-foot, five-story facility in July 2016. It has hired Vestcor Communities Inc. of Jacksonville to build and maintain the facility, which includes an outdoor pool and volleyball courts.

Vestcor handled the university’s first residence hall, which holds more than 400 students. The goal is 750 beds available on campus… …read more

5 tips for avoiding the blowups in golf (and business)

The more I learn this game of golf, the more I realize it is just like business and life. In life, you ride the roller coaster of victories and defeats, and with golf you can do that from hole to hole. As I work to bring my handicap down, one of the problems I’m having is the “blow-up hole.”

I was out the other day coming in off the front nine, at 4-over par. I start the back nine with a birdie (the second of the day) and boom, t happens. I hit a drive into the woods, hit the next …read more

No car, no problem? Vinik’s team wants to making driving optional in downtown Tampa

Maximizing the walkability of Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik’s development in downtown Tampa means more than a cool streetscape, the urban planning consultants on the project say. It means the potential to create — as unbelievable as it sounds — a place in Tampa where a person could choose not to own a car.

“People tend to forget the single greatest determinate of our health is for a number of reasons, not just walking, but being freed from the requirement to drive — between the lack… …read more

Tampa Housing Authority promotes Begazo-McGourty to CFO

Susi Begazo-McGourty has been promoted as senior vice president and chief financial officer for the Housing Authority of the City of Tampa.

Begazo-McGourty previously was chief internal officer. In her new role, she will manage and oversee a $423 million budget, and lead the finance, accounting, IT and contract administration teams for the organization, according to a People on the Move submission.

Learn more about the Housing Authority of Tampa’s executive team with Executive Files with Leroy… …read more

Vinik’s billion-dollar neighborhood in downtown Tampa will be designed as a place that fosters innovation

The urban planning consultants Jeff Vinik has hired to finesse the details of his billion-dollar development in downtown Tampa see their charge as creating more than a neighborhood — it’s about economic development.

The planners will determine the specifics of the vision the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled in December — everything from road and sidewalk widths to building heights, storefront spaces and the placement of tree benches. The sum of those details, they say, are what creates a walkable… …read more

What it will take to build a truly ‘walkable life’ in downtown Tampa’s Channel district

In their quest to build a walkable district in downtown Tampa, the urban planning consultants Jeff Vinik has hired recognize they’re up against a street grid that makes the existing neighborhood a scary place for pedestrians.

“It’s dangerous because the streets look and feel like they’re designed for going high speeds, because they are designed for going high speeds,” said Jeff Speck, the Washington, D.C.-based author of “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time.” “So one… …read more

Tampa metro rental costs growing at twice the rate of income

Rent in the Tampa metropolitan statistical area hasn’t increased as much as the national average over the past three years, but it is growing at twice the rate of income, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors.

Since 2009, rental costs in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area rose 12.89 percent, while income grew by 6 percent. It was the only local MSA in the study.

NAR analyzed housing costs, income growth and the number of owner-occupied homes in 70 of the United… …read more

St. Pete startup Check I’m Here shares lessons from SXSW

This week, Tampa Bay business leaders are reporting what they learned at South by Southwest, the annual technology, music and film festival held in Austin, Texas.

On Monday, two representatives with Transitions Optical, the lens maker based in Pinellas Park, discussed why they are sending a couple of employees out west.

Now, we hear from Kevin Mircovich, an engagement specialist at St. Petersburg startup Check I’m Here LLC and a University of South Florida St. Petersburg student. Check I’m Here… …read more