Sunday, December 28, 2014

What Will Tampa City Council Do with Vinik's City-Building Plans?

There are few things as exciting as city-building.  And thanks to few slow decades and a billion bucks, Jeff Vinik is getting to dream big and build bigger in Tampa.  But will city council run any interference with his plans to re-design public streetscape downtown?

The Tampa Bay Times reports this weekend Vinik and partners - including Tampa's former city attorney - plan on getting something to city councilmembers by Jan. 15.  Their goal is to get a commitment for infrastructure reimbursement around the monster development project, which will stretch across the entirety of the south downtown area.

So far, it's basically been a rubber stamp for Vinik, who can do no wrong in Tampa.  But with plans to extend some roads and close off others - will anyone on city council have any issues with private developers making so many changes to the public roads?

I wouldn't bet on it - Tampa's been waiting a long time for someone to take a comprehensive approach toward developing downtown.

I also don't anticipate many roadblocks to Vinik landing the $30-$35 million in CRA/TIF money he hopes to tap into for the projects.  In case you were wondering, that's the same money many Rays fans thought might be available for a downtown Tampa stadium...but it's been evident for more than a year now that Vinik had a firm lock on that money.

Vinik's earned that goodwill and political equity - now it's time for him to spend it.  Don't expect anyone on council to ruffle the feathers of the biggest bird in town.

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