Hillsborough County commissioner Ken Hagan is hoping his county can land the Tampa Bay Rays, using SunTrust Park as a model for a new ballpark.
The Rays continue to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area to construct a replacement for Tropicana Field. Both Hillsborough and Pinellas County have been discussed as possible homes, but the exact location and funding model for a ballpark in either county has yet to be revealed.
Should Hillsborough land the Rays, Hagan believes SunTrust Park could serve as a model for the type of project the team and the county would pursue. SunTrust Park, the new home of the Atlanta Braves, includes the adjacent The Battery Atlanta, a mixed-use development that is continuing to receive new amenities. That was one of the more anticipated aspects of SunTrust Park leading up to its opening, and both the ballpark and the development have receive some compliments since their debut.
The development angle at SunTrust Park has made an impression on Hagan, who believes that Hillsborough County could apply a similar formula with a new Rays’ ballpark. More from Sports Talk Florida:
Hagan told Riley that he was impressed with how quickly the area around the park was developed. While it is far from complete it has a number of restaurants, along with some business and apartment complexes open for business and more coming online monthly.
As to where the proposed new Rays stadium would be Hagan, didn’t want to give away any secrets but he did say that somewhere with easy downtown access like Channelside or Ybor City would be prime candidates for the new ball park.
He hoped to bring a plan out soon naming the exact area where the new Rays home would be in Hillsborough County.
While, Hagan was quick to say that he had not spoken with any specificity to Rays owner Stuart Sternberg about his finding, he was going to chat with team president Brian Auld, informally soon.
It may still take some time for the broader details of a new Rays’ ballpark to surface. Rays owner Stuart Sterburg said in March that it could take until the end of the year for the team to announce a new ballpark site.
RELATED STORIES: State Could Affect Funding for New Rays Ballpark; Oldsmar Officials Dismiss Chances of Landing Rays; Mayor Touts St. Petersburg for New Rays Ballpark; St. Petersburg Believes it Could Help Fund Rays Ballpark; Stuart Sternberg: Rays Still Considering Ballpark Sites; Rays Consider Tech Features for Future Ballpark; Sternberg: Progress Being Made on New Rays Ballpark Search; Rick Kriseman Meets with Rob Manfred on Rays Ballpark; Hillsborough, Pinellas Continue Rays Ballpark Pitches; Best of 2016: #8, Rays Continue Ballpark Search; Manfred Discusses Rays Ballpark Search; Rays Connected to Montreal Move; Hillsborough County Mulls Funding of Rays Ballpark; Hillsborough County Pushing for Rays; Oldsmar Proposes Rays Ballpark; HKS Tweaks Plan for Tropicana Field Site; Oldsmar Making Push for Rays; Hillsborough Nearing High Tourism Impact Status; Ballpark Pitched for Tropicana Field Site; Is it Time to Start Eliminating Potential Rays Ballpark Sites?; Separating Wheat From Chaff in Tampa Bay Ballpark Search; Pinellas County Expanding Rays Ballpark Search; Pinellas County Throws 10 Sites into Rays Ballpark Mix; Rays: Single-Deck Ballpark, Non-Traditional Seating Possible; Rays, Politicos Discuss Nine Potential Ballpark Sites; Tampa Bay Rays: We want urban ballpark; Talking new Rays ballpark: roof, tech and more; Tampa mayor pitches downtown Rays ballpark; St. Pete to allow Rays to search in region for new ballpark site