TAMPA, Florida -- Rumors and wishes of a baseball stadium in downtown Tampa have circled for years, but now a new plan could make it a reality, according to a published report.
The Tampa Bay Times issued a story online that developer Joel Cantor, builder of the Signature Place Tower in downtown St. Pete, wants to buy Channelside, bulldoze it, and build a 33,000 seat baseball stadium in its place.
The ballpark would be similar to AT&T park in San Francisco. It also sits on the water, and just fits inside a tight plot of land, much like the design unveiled today.
Chad Bolsinger is general manager of Taverna Opa in Channelside and likes the idea of baseball in Tampa, but only if local businesses are accommodated in the plan.
"As a downtown resident, my priority is Tampa. Taverna Opa will always be here, we'll just move it where there is foot traffic and a baseball stadium would be great for the area, " said Bolsinger.
According to the report, Cantor approached Lightning owner Jeff Vinik about the plan, but Vinik balked because he too wants to buy Channelside. Cantor wouldn't discuss how it would be paid for other than saying he would donate $50 million to the project.
Reactions from people who live, work, and play downtown were mixed. Many people 10 News spoke to didn't like the idea of destroying Channelside, but would welcome a stadium in Tampa, and say they would go to more Rays games if it were.