Jan 31, 2023 - News

Tampa Bay Rays get their say for Tropicana Field redevelopment

rendering of new Gas Plant District proposed by Hines and the Rays

Aerial view of the project looking south along Booker Creek, with First Avenue South in foreground. Rendering courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg

The Tampa Bay Rays will lead the redevelopment of Tropicana Field.

Driving the news: St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch announced yesterday that he selected the team's proposal after mulling over four finalists since early December

Why it matters: It's likely the defining moment of Welch's first term. He's got some big goals to pull off: Keep the Rays in St. Petersburg, ease the affordable housing crisis and bring back Black families and businesses that were moved out to build Tropicana Field.

The big picture: While all the proposals included a new baseball stadium, the team now has more control over what it will look like — which could make all the difference as Tampa attempts to woo the team with its competing plans for an Ybor stadium.

  • Tampa Mayor Jane Castor tells Axios she's keeping the door open for the team.

Between the lines: The Rays and Houston-based partner Hines offered St. Petersburg the most money for development rights and guaranteed a new ballpark by the 2028 season.

  • The proposal also included the lowest percentage of affordable housing units, compared to competing developers.
  • In a press conference after the announcement, Welch told reporters that the comparable lack of affordable housing would be worked out in negotiations over the next year.

Details: The group proposes a 7 million-square-foot, mixed-use development with a Rays stadium at its center.

  • It would include 5,700 multifamily units and 600 senior living residences, with more than 850 affordable and workforce housing units on-site, and about 600 such residences off-site.
  • There would be office, retail and hotel space, a music venue, a new Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, full activation of Booker Creek and a connecting bridge.

Of note: Sugar Hill Community Partners, a previous finalist under former Mayor Rick Kriseman's original request for bids, was runner-up.

  • A consulting firm hired by the city named Rays/Hines and Sugar Hill as its recommendations in a report last week.

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