Does Vinik’s vision include iconic Kiley Garden?

March 26, 2015

Kiley Garden Tampa

Click to learn more about Kiley Garden from the Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Tampa is poised to undergo a billion dollar transformation thanks to Tampa Bay Lighting owner Jeff Vinik. He plans to build a continuous greenspace along the waterfront. What sounds like a long stretch of lawn is actually 40 acres of vacant downtown lots. Today, I want to shine a light on an existing public asset that might be mistaken for a derelict urban space.  Landscape architect Dan Kiley is featured in this month’s Architectural Digest.  Tampa is number 8 on the list of cities where one can find a  garden designed by the famous landscape architect . As it stands now, the garden is neglected and in need of fresh investment  capital to correct disastrous plant selection errors. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I bet new technology could solve some old problems when gardens are cultivated  on rooftops (causing leaks), as is the Tampa Kiley garden. If anyone can appreciate that a problem could become an asset given enough time, Vinik should.  He started out as a hedge fund manager, then bought the Tampa Bay Lighting hockey team and is now a serious downtown real estate investor. The chain of financial associations are closely linked. Consider the power baseball and football team owners have when it comes to building new stadiums. I am not suggesting that Vinik is going to tear up Kiley Garden, but he might consider investing in restoring it.  As the old and new collide, its an ideal time for cities, such as Tampa, to take an inventory of their existing assets. The best investment is finding a hidden treasure.

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