Demolition has been approved for Channelside Bay Plaza, as Port Tampa Bay board members Tuesday gave the green light for a plan to knock down part of the structure.

It's all part of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's vision for downtown.

  • Construction to begin this summer, new look to be ready by fall
  • Park will include space for festivals, public art, pop-ups
  • Talks are underway to move restaurants currently there

A waterfront view downtown has been landlocked for years by Channelside, and the plan is to demolish the building that obstructs the view.

"Nothing brings more people around by having a nicer waterfront and other places for people to visit," said Joe Lyons, visiting from Ohio.

Talks are underway to move the restaurants that are currently inside the building. And once the place is torn down, the southwest wing of the plaza will be home to a waterfront park.

The park will be equipped with space for festivals, public art and pop-ups.

"Pop-ups can be anything from local restaurateurs or bar owners who want to operate in an area for one or two years," said Ali Glisson of Strategic Property Partners.

There will also be pedestrian trails and dining space.

It's considered a short-term fix for Strategic Property Partners, which owns the plaza. The change is a way for the company to test out strategies for longer-term visions.

"We really want to make it its own destination, to make this whole area mixed use," Glisson said.

There's no timeline on the long-term goal, but officials say the temporary waterfront park is the first step.

Construction is set to begin this summer, and the new look for Channelside is expected to be ready by the fall.