Citing "a significant legal hurdle, beyond our control, (that) could not be overcome," Lightning owner Jeffrey Vinik announced this morning he has withdrawn his bid for Tampa's struggling Channelside Bay Plaza.
The once-popular-but-now-foreclosed-on complex, adjacent to Vinik's holdings around the Tampa Bay Times Forum, is owned by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation. However, it is controlled by the Tampa Port Authority. Which means, Vinik's bid - the only one deemed worthy by the Port earlier this year - must get approval from both parties.
The problem stems from the fact that the Port wants whichever owner is best for Downtown Tampa, while the bank simply wants whichever owner is best for its bottom line. The Port Authority can reject any bank-approved buyer it doesn't think has a good vision for Downtown Tampa. Likewise, the bank can reject any Port Authority-approved buyer it doesn't think is bringing enough cash to the table.
The bank and port have been negotiating for months, while Vinik has patiently awaited.....until now.
Compare this episode to a home-buyer waiting on a bank to approve a short sell; but after months and months of waiting, the prospective buyer decides to just buy somewhere else, with no inconveniences.
Vinik didn't close the door on his Channelside pursuit, merely "suspended" his efforts.
And for those wondering what it means for the Rays-to-Tampa efforts....it means nothing. Land, after all, has never been an obstacle in the stadium saga.