After years of negotiations and weeks of heated rumors around Tampa, a deal was confirmed on Friday afternoon for the purchase of the Ardent Mills-ConAgra flour mill. This is the final piece of the puzzle and a key to fully realizing Jeff Vinik's vision for Water Street Tampa district.

The deal is complicated but has two key components in early news involving multiple entities. The first is a deal between The City of Tampa, Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, Ardent Mills and Strategic Property Partners involving opening up Cumberland Street. This includes removing a railroad spur used to reach the mill. The project is due to begin in 2021, the City of Tampa is funding this venture and paying over $2 Million to acquire the land for this roadway. Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority currently has the rights to the area but is allowing the purchase of the land to be made by the city. An eminent domain lawsuit has been in the works over this piece of property over the last year as well. 

"Water Street Tampa is being developed on the principles of connectivity and enabling walkability. We can now look towards the future and plan for additional points of connection for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists," said James Nozar, CEO of Strategic Property Partners Llc about the Cumberland Street part of the deal. 

The second part of the deal is the Ardent Mills property the factory is on is being acquired by the Strategic Property Partners. The reported purchase price is $13 million for the factory property. Jeff Vinik and his companies have been stockpiling land in downtown Tampa, around Amalie Arena for years to realize their vision for a live-work-play district and this is the one parcel they were not able to get under their control, until now. 

“We are committed to our expert Tampa team, the opportunity to continue to delight our customers, and serve our great neighbors in Tampa and Central Florida,” said CEO of Ardent Mills, Dan Dye. “We have enjoyed this privilege for more than three decades and look forward to supporting the Tampa community, Central Florida, and customers across the state for many decades to come with a new state-of-the-art mill capable of growing with our customers.”  While it is not final, the most likely destination for the mill is Port Tampa Bay

The replacement for the old Channelside Bay Plaza at Water Street will open on November 30th with a selection of new restaurants and event space.  

This story will continue to be updated as it develops. 

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