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LeClair: Rays had better move fast if they want Carillon Business Park ballpark

Carillon Business Park ballpark site

It’s a site that generated zero enthusiasm from the Tampa Bay Rays, but developer Darryl LeClair wants team ownership to know that they need to move really quickly if they want to build a new ballpark at Carillon Business Park in St. Petersburg.

The Carillon Business Park is on the northern edge of St. Petersburg, and LeClair had proposed a new Rays ballpark there two years ago. The Rays never showed any interest in the site: team management has said any St. Petersburg or Pinellas County site must be evaluated against potential sites in the greater Tampa Bay area. There’s also the larger issue we raised when LeClair pushed Carillon Business Park: is a landlocked business park really the best place to build a Major League Baseball ballpark?

Despite all odds, LeClair is clear that if the Rays want to build in Carillon Business Park, they need to move quickly, per the Tampa Bay Times:

“We’d like to keep the window open, but we can’t afford to keep it open much longer,” LeClair told the Times. “We tried to help facilitate the baseball discussion and it played out the way it played out. We can’t sit around and wait for baseball to make a decision. We’re moving forward.”

The city’s Community Planning and Preservation Commission quietly approved last week a preliminary zoning change that would allow LeClair to more intensely develop the site. He wasn’t at the meeting, and baseball was never mentioned….

For Carillon to remain in the stadium hunt, LeClair said, the Rays would have to start their regionwide search soon and keep it short — say, six months. The Rays have said they need time to conduct traffic and demographic studies on various sites, and also gauge corporate support.

Now, one of the oldest plays when selling real estate is to warn that time is running out, that a decision needs to be made quickly, and a buyer might miss out on a deal if they dawdle. But in this case, no one seems to care: Rays vice president of development and business affairs Melanie Lenz says the team’s not even looking at sites, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman says the status has no effect on discussions between his office and the Rays.

RELATED STORIES: Most county-board candidates indicate support for new Rays ballpark in Tampa; Time running out on key Rays funding component; New year, new day for new Rays ballpark?; Foster: MLB looking for reason to flee Tampa Bay; Residents: Let Rays buy out Trop lease, move to Tampa; Selig: No updates on Rays ballpark situation; Rays: We won’t buy out Trop lease on St. Pete’s terms; St. Pete mayor: Talks with Rays going poorly; Poll: little support for public funding of new Rays ballpark; Feeding frenzy begins on siting potential Rays ballpark; Selig: Time to resolve Tama Bay Rays ballpark situation; Negotiations begin: Tampa asks for at least $200M from Rays for new ballpark; Hillsborough County ready to talk new Rays ballpark; Sternberg: No plan to move Rays; Downtown tax for new Rays ballpark looking iffy; Sternberg: MLB doesn’t believe in Tampa Bay; Rays ballpark plan at Carillon Business Park withdrawn by developer; Study: New Rays ballpark shouldn’t require new taxes; Poll: St. Pete voters opposed to public financing of new ballpark; Foster: We won’t allow Rays to talk new ballpark in Tampa; Experts: St. Petersburg should worry about making Rays deal now, not damages down the road; St. Pete ratchets up legal threats over new Rays ballpark; Is a business park the best place for a Rays ballpark?


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