Potential Rays stadium in Ybor City to cost nearly $1 billion
A Tampa plan to bring the Rays to Ybor City now has a price tag while St. Petersburg, scrambling to catch up, could offer up one of the team's most coveted sites: Albert Whitted Airport, right on the downtown waterfront.
Driving the news: A Tampa Sports Authority analysis of the Ybor site says an open-air, 27,000-capacity stadium would cost $799 million, per the Tampa Bay Times.
- A roof — considered a necessity for summer baseball here — would cost another $90 million to $160 million, bringing the total to a little less than $1 billion.
Meanwhile, observers are wondering if a recent tweet from St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch about new potential for the city's waterfront municipal airport could be a sign the site is once again in play.
- Welch's office didn't respond to Axios' request for comment.
- The 110-acre airport site was dream-boarded by the Rays in 2017, as the Tampa Bay Times' John Romano points out, but public sentiment has long protected the airport.
Between the lines: After a subsequent meeting with the Rays, Welch tweeted last week: "St. Pete is back in the game!"
Why it matters: With the Rays' lease at Tropicana Field expiring in five years, the clock is ticking for the team to find a new home and St. Petersburg has yet to tempt the team.
Flashback: In 2019, Major League Baseball allowed the Rays to explore a plan to split seasons between here and Montreal.
- The team was exploring a smaller stadium on the Ybor City site when the league quashed the split-season plan last month.
- Yes, but: The analysis included plans for a full-season stadium.
Details: The Ybor analysis suggests a variety of funding options, like a special "ballpark district" levy and taxes on ancillary development, but doesn't say how much taxpayers would be expected to pony up.
What we're watching: Using county records, DRays Bay found that Hillsborough County is projected to have $194 million available for a new stadium, or less than half of what municipalities might be asked to spend.
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