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Parking huge issue for proposed Rays ballpark site

Tampa Bay RaysA proposed Tampa Bay Rays ballpark site in St. Petersburg’s Carillon Business Park may have one fatal flaw: the total lack of parking in the mostly developed 432-acre complex.

On the plus side, the site sits near an exit from the Howard Frankland Bridge, the almost-five-mile bridge connecting St. Pete and Tampa and could provide a nice view of the waterfront. The 12-acre site is big enough for a ballpark.

But the site may have a fatal flaw or even two. First, because the business park has been mostly developed, there’s not a ton of space for building parking ramps. The current plan calls for baseball fans to use the parking vacated by business-park tenants, but that’s not a great plan: MLB still plays a number of a weekday regular-season games, which means there would be virtually no parking near the ballpark. And the second issue: because the business park is mostly developed, there’s little chance for any associated development — which means there’s no way for a private developer to ever make back any investment on a new ballpark. There’s no way this ballpark gets built without public assistance.

So put us down as skeptical about the prospect of a new Rays ballpark in Carillon Business Park. With little parking and no economic-spinoff potential, it’s going to be a hard sale both to Pinellas County/St. Pete officials and the Rays ownership.

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