ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman says the city and the Tampa Bay Rays remain at a stand-still. Right now, the team and the city are disagreeing on ownership of the land Tropicana Field sits on and the future development of the property.
Mayor Kriseman says the city is considering seven different redevelopment plans that include a new stadium, adding the Tampa Bay Rays have made a proposal to control half of the property, but Mayor Kriseman doesn’t agree. “What I want to try and avoid is, quite frankly though, I don’t want to be put in a position where I’m having to choose between the team and the community. We want to get to a place where we can resolve something and it’s a win-win. But if I have to choose, I’ll always choose the community.”READ MORE: Brookhaven's Call To Action: Officials Seeking Public Input On City Centre Master Plan
“Here we are in 2021 and we are still having this discussion,” said Kriseman, adding that he’s been wanting to build a new stadium and develop the land it’s on for years. He says not only would redevelopment help improve the economy in the Tampa Bay Area, but it will re-connect neighborhoods. “There are people in our city right now that need affordable workforce housing. There are people who need jobs. There are people who want to enjoy more green space.”
Over the past five years, Mayor Kriseman says the city encouraged the Rays to look at development proposals but never received a response. Now, he says the Rays are asking the city to put aside almost 50 acres of the site and they want 100% of the development rights for that portion. The team would still retain 50% of the development rights on the rest of the area. “Without the city’s ownership and control of the development, I cannot guarantee that the wishes of the city and community occur on that portion of that property,” said Kriseman.
The Mayor wants to come to an agreement, clarifying, “My preference is that the Rays work with the city and the developer that I choose on the specifics round the development of a new stadium and we work together on identifying other stadium funding opportunities.”
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CW44’s Casey Albritton spoke with Stu Sternberg, Principal Owner of the Tampa Bay Rays and he says he plans to look over the seven redevelopment plans being considered. “We’re curious to see how it impacts us and see how we can fit into all of this, what’s going on around us.” He says the team hopes to be in the Tampa Bay area through 2027 when their current lease agreement in the stadium expires, and for many years after that, but right now the future is unsure. Sternberg declined to offer speculation when asked what happens if an agreement cannot be made.
The city is encouraging residents to take a look at those seven development proposals below and provide feedback here. Right now it’s unclear if the City of St. Petersburg can continue with a redevelopment plan without being in agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays.
- Midtown Development
- Portman Holdings, Third Lake Partners
- SROA, Holabird & Root, ARGO
- Sugar Hill Community Partners, JMA Ventures
- TRS Development Services
- Unicorp National Development
- Wendover Housing Partners
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