It’s not as though there are plenty of downtown Tampa land parcels suitable for a new ballpark, but the potential move of a large flour mill could get things rolling for a new Tampa Bay Rays facility.
A mill owned and operated by ConAgra is a major presence in downtown Tampa in many ways: besides the actual building itself — which occupies several square blocks, leading to lots of dead-end streets — a rail spur runs through the area, making other lots unusable as well. (Though, to be honest, the flour mill probably has less of an impact than described in this article: it also sits between a raised Florida tollroad and a main drag, Meridian.) Take out the flour mill, and you have a direct link between the rest of downtown and the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Which is why the potential moving of the flour mill is important: there’s a domino effect that also puts several square blocks of underused surface parking in play. Large parcels of land in an urban core, of course, is a developers’ dream, a chance to create a signature project that could bring new residential, retail and housing to downtown Tampa. It could also mean an expansion of Tampa Bay Times Forum, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL). Or it could mean a mixed-use development anchored by a new ballpark.
All of this is highly speculative, of course; ConAgra has only hinted it’s interested in moving the flour mill and certainly has not committed to any shift. And, as we noted, it’s not as though there aren’t other appropriate spots for a ballpark in downtown Tampa — like directly across from the flour mill, on the other side of the tollway. And there’s the whole issue of addressing the Tropicana Field lease for the Tampa Bay Rays. So don’t get your hopes up just yet.
RELATED STORIES: Immigration funds eyed for new Rays ballpark; Oakland contemplates foreign investments to help fund A’s ballpark; Hillsborough County ready to make run at new Rays ballpark; Rays: Prove to us Tampa Bay can support baseball; Could this be the year for a new Rays ballpark?; Regional ballpark authority pitched for Tampa Bay; Mayor, council differ on approach to Rays ballpark issue;Tampa: We could have $100M for new Rays ballpark; Yet another group seeks to break Rays ballpark logjam; St. Pete mayor: there’s nothing wrong with the Trop; Tampa, St. Pete business leaders combine forces for new Rays ballpark; Could Rays declare bankruptcy to escape Trop lease?; Tampa Sports Authority declines to participate in Rays ballpark talks — for now; Chamber to take up Rays ballpark cause; Pinellas County extends hotel tax — but not enough for new Rays ballpark; Selig still “concerned” about Rays ballpark situation; Pinellas County mulls hotel-tax extension for new Rays ballpark; Rays: No, we’re not interested in limiting ballpark search to St. Pete; Can Tampa Bay support MLB?; St. Pete officials now say Trop is replaceable — at a price; Potential new player emerges in Rays ballpark battle; Rays: Time to talk new ballpark again; Rays ballpark brawl: Tampa versus St. Pete; Three Rays ballpark sites recommended by committee; New Rays ballpark discussion shifts to Tampa;Group: Any new Rays ballpark needs retractable roof; Group: Renovating Trop isn’t option in keeping Rays; Rays task force may have prelim recommendations by June — but no site; Rays propose Carillon Town Center site for ballpark
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at email@example.com.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.