Bill Gates and Jeff Vinik build billion-dollar “entrepreneurial ecosystem” in Tampa

Ten years ago, Jeff Vinik retired from Fidelity Investments after managing their high profile Magellan Fund.

Worth an estimated half a billion, it’s safe to say Vinik can live wherever he wants, and do almost anything he wants, or nothing at all. Instead, Vinik is using his millions to reinvent himself and the city of Tampa.

He and his family moved to Florida in 2010, where Vinik fulfilled his dream of owning a sports team; the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was looking for an opportunity to build a success story and help develop the city of Tampa and its surrounding communities. Vinik says that Tampa is an under-valued city with largely untapped potential.

Vinik wanted to help build the foundation for an entrepreneurial ecosystem through smart planning and development to avoid the kind of too much, too fast growth that locals anywhere come to resent.

Through his own investment fund, joined by Bill GatesCascade fund, Vinik has purchased 40 acres of vacant waterfront land. He plans a multi-billion dollar redevelopment of the property into a planned community.

The project will be the world’s first WELL certified district, which will be comparable to a LEED certification, for wellness. While the project will be developed over time, a number of projects are planned to start construction: a new 400-500 room luxury hotel, signature office tower, the University Of South Florida Morsani College Of Medicine and Heart Institute as well as an adjoining office building to house health industry-related businesses.


Tampa RiverWalk. Photo: Storm Cunningham

The project should help revitalize the Channelside waterfront complex, which even now attracts in excess of 3 million people annually. The area’s amenities include: The Amalie Arena (home of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning and one of America’s top concert venues), the Tampa Convention Center, the Tampa History Center, the Florida Aquarium, Port Tampa Bay, and the beautiful Tampa Riverwalk. SPP also owns two existing operating properties: The 719-key Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina, and the 234,000 square-foot Channelside Bay Plaza retail center (a poorly-planned, badly-designed development that should now be revitalized by this new effort).

When all three phases of the development are completed, the project will be up to 9,000,000 square feet of commercial, residential, educational, entertainment, cultural, and retail space with a total investment exceeding $2 billion.

Image credit: Strategic Property Partners.

See full Forbes article by Amy Guttman.

See Strategic Property Partners website.

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