Potential new Channelside owners present vision and receive input from locals

  • Punit Shah

Wednesday evening at the Florida Aquarium, Liberty Channelside LLC principal owners Punit Shah and Santosh Govindaraju addressed a gathering of Channel District residents and businesses, unveiling the group's plans for the beleaguered Channelside Bay Plaza, which they have recently made their intention to purchase.

Both members of Liberty Channelside LLC have strong ties to the Bay area. Govindaraju was raised in Tampa and attended Gaither High School, While Shah has lived in Tampa for the past decade. The last project the two worked on together was buying the former Mercantile Bank, which they plan to turn into Aloft Tampa Downtown, an upscale hotel.

The presentation remained upbeat, as both Shah and Govindarju emphasized the potential of Channelside and Tampa in general.

“We know that Tampa is the next great city,” Shah said. We need to focus on what that strategy is. Santosh and I are here tonight to hear from you ... We are very excited about being here. We are very excited about the long term plans and strategies for the city and today we want to hear what you want from us. Because ultimately Channelside will only be a success if you all go there.”