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Eight proposals submitted for Tropicana Field development

St. Petersburg has received eight proposals for a development of the 86-acre Tropicana Field site, as the city looks at the future of a downtown gateway with or without Tampa Bay Rays baseball.

Right now the proposals, for the most part, have not been released to the public, although one bid from Orlando’s Unicorp National Developments was unveiled. The remaining seven proposals could be announced by the city and Mayor Rick Kriseman as soon as next week.

The Unicorp National Developments proposal, per the Tampa Bay Times, includes the following:

Unicorp’s proposal features a network of parks and greenspaces built around an expanded Booker Creek and the Pinellas Trail, as well as a 400-room hotel, 70,000-square-foot conference center, 155,000 square feet of office space and around 6,000 parking spaces. The proposal also says Unicorp has “reached out to several colleges and universities that have shown interest in establishing satellite campuses” on the site.”…

While the fate of the Trop’s main tenant, the Tampa Bay Rays, remains uncertain, the city asked developers to envision the project with and without a baseball stadium. Unicorp’s plan would cost $643 million without a stadium, Whittall said, and well over $1 billion with one. The company has requested $100 million in tax incremental funding from the city to be spent on parks, the arts and other public uses. With or without a stadium, the company said development could wrap by 2029.

As you can see from the above rendering from Unicorp, a ballpark is included in the mix. Right now the future of the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa Bay is up in the air, although it now looks like St. Pete will move ahead with redevelopment no matter what. The Rays are contractually obligated to play all games at Tropicana Field through 2027, though the team has floated the possibility of splitting the season between the Trop and Montreal. That split has been rejected by St. Pete officials, which have a tremendous level of leverage in the situation. But so do the Rays: the team can reject any redevelopment plans until the team’s lease expires. So both sides have a few cards to play in future negotiations.

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