As the debate continues over a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark, real-estate experts say a business park with limited parking may not be the best location.
Developer Darryl LeClair has pitched the city and the Rays on a unique plan to nestle a ballpark in the middle of a commercial development, Carillon Business Park. The location is in northern St. Petersburg, and while to date the development has been a success (the vacancy rate for Class A space in the park is only 8 percent), it’s not clear whether it’s the best place for a ballpark. Besides the obvious parking issues — there just aren’t enough parking spots for accommodate both tenants and a large baseball crowd — it’s questionable whether the sorts of businesses looking to serve a baseball audience would draw enough business on off days. From the Tampa Bay Times:
But some brokers questioned whether restaurateurs or other retail leaders would take a chance far from the more established customer bases, and perhaps easier money, of Tampa and St. Petersburg’s urban centers.
“The stadium could be gravy for certain kinds of uses, like marquee restaurants that think central Pinellas would be a great area to expand,” said Tom McGeachy, a managing principal for Ciminelli Real Estate Services. But “I don’t know that the stadium by itself is going to be a driver for a huge amount of retail … with such limited demand.”
If you look at successful MLB ballparks of the last decade (financially speaking), you’re talking about urban ballparks: Target Field, PNC Field, Coors Field, Petco Park. With one downtown Tampa ballpark plan on the table and another sure to be unveiled in coming weeks, the contract couldn’t be more stark.
RELATED STORIES: More land assembled for new Rays ballpark?; Rays propose ballpark talks after Trop situation worked out; Abundance of riches: Another new ballpark pitched for Rays; LeClair unveils intriguing ballpark plan for Rays; Rays: We’ll listen to St. Pete ballpark pitch; Letter: Rays can talk new ballpark — but only for St. Pete location; Ballpark pitch will be heard by St. Pete — but officials will not respond; Parking huge issue for proposed Rays ballpark site; Pinellas County, private investor want to pitch Rays, St. Pete on ballpark plan; Rays: We’ll talk new ballpark with Hillsborough County; Hillsborough County: Nothing legally bars us from talking new ballpark with Rays; Newly available land parcel could bring downtown Tampa ballpark — maybe; 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
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.