Axios Tampa Bay

Picture of the Tampa Bay skyline with TPA written across it.

Tuesday's here, friends. Pull it together.

🌫 Patchy fog early, then mostly sunny — 81°/64°.

Sounds like: "Hellhounds," Andrea and Mud.

🚨 Situational awareness: Ten people were shot yesterday afternoon in midtown Lakeland, with two in critical condition, in what police say was likely a targeted attack.

Today's newsletter is 756 words, a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: The Rays get their say for new stadium

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.

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2. Construction ahead

Illustration of a steam roller rolling out a hundred dollar bill and stretching it out.  

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While he's in the driver's seat for another legislative session, Gov. Ron DeSantis is gassing up transportation funding.

Driving the news: DeSantis announced his "Moving Florida Forward" transportation infrastructure proposal yesterday.

  • If approved, it would expedite 20 major interstate and roadway projects across the state over the next four years.

Yes, but: The $7 billion project, meant to "combat congestion, improve safety, and ensure a more resilient transportation system" has zero funding for public transit.

Zoom in: Tampa Bay areas of focus in the proposal and their proposed costs include:

  • I-275 from 38th Avenue to 4th Street in St. Petersburg ($354M)
  • I-4 at the State Road 33 Interchange in Lakeland ($197M)
  • I-75 at the Fruitville Road Interchange in Sarasota ($192M)
  • State Road 70 from Bourneside Boulevard to Waterbury Road in Bradenton ($53M)

What they're saying: "This proposal will break through the bureaucracy that often slows down infrastructure projects and allow FDOT to target projects that will ease congestion across the state," DeSantis said at a press conference in Polk County.

3. The Pulp: I'm back at the crossroads one last lime

Illustration of an orange with arms and legs, walking.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Florida lawmakers have filed a bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons without licenses, additional training or background checks. The proposal will likely pass in March when the legislative session begins. (Axios)

🏗️ Three development firms unveiled very different visions last week for four waterfront acres the city of Bradenton is looking to sell. (Bradenton Herald)

📈 North Port, which now boasts a population of 80,000, was ranked as the second-fastest growing city in the U.S. by Quicken Loans, with a 5.5% year-over-year population growth. Cape Coral/Fort Myers was first. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

🐒 A hurricane-postponed banquet to raise money for Historic Monkey Island in Old Homosassa has been rescheduled for Feb. 9 at 5pm at the Florida Cracker Monkey Bar. (Citrus County Chronicle)

Quote du jour:
"We have worked throughout the community, and no one claims to know who the mother is."
— Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd on the search for whoever left a newborn baby, now called Angel Grace Last Name Unknown, in the woods near a Mulberry mobile home park, per WFTS.

4. Don't skip South Tampa's Lucky Tigré

Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

👋 Hey, Ben here. I took my daughter, Mo, to Manila for some book work in 2014 and now have a deep appreciation for Filipino cuisine.

Trust me when I say Tampa's first sari-sari counter Lucky Tigré, which opened late last year, should be on your radar if you like steamed buns, sticky rice, and Filipino dumplings.

  • We tried almost everything on the simple menu and fell in love with the Suman Malagkit, which is jasmine rice soaked in coconut milk and steamed inside a banana leaf, and the dairy-free halo halo dessert, made of ube ice cream, coconut milk, crushed ice, banana, sweet red beans, mango jelly, strawberry jelly, lychee jelly, brown sugar boba and coconut slices.

Bonus: A good portion of the menu is plant-based.

Food from Lucky Tigre, a new Filipino restaurant in South Tampa.
Two kinds of dumplings, bistek with garlic rice, and oyster mushroom boa buns. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

🛼 Ben is shopping for Tampa Junior Roller Derby merch and you should, too.

🙋‍♀️ Selene is watching Trixie Mattel quiz the "80 for Brady" cast.

BTW: Become an Axios Tampa Bay member before midnight, and you could win a $200 gift card to a local restaurant. Terms and conditions apply.

Today's newsletter was edited by Alexa Mencia and copy edited by Carolyn DiPaolo.