The Tampa Bay Rays are still exploring a Ybor City location for a new ballpark, but the focus has shifted to a new site that was formerly home to the Kforce staffing and services company.
The Rays aren’t commenting on the new ballpark site, but the Tampa Bay Times is reporting that the 18-acre-plus Ybor City location is now the top choice for a new ballpark. We’re not talking about a palatial home here–it’s billed as a ballpark with 25,000 or so seats, with a likely capacity of 35,000 at the most–but as a companion to a new Montreal ballpark, it would keep the team in Tampa for the first half of the season. Ybor City, located west of downtown Tampa, has been seen as a good location for a new ballpark: it certainly is an urban area, and there’s been plenty of urban renewal in the area–particularly to the south, where Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) Jeff Vinik has funded a slew of new development in what locals call Vinikville.
And in what is surely a selling point, the new target area is part of the Ybor City Community Redevelopment Area, which makes it eligible for city assistance. From the Times:
An investor group led by Darryl Shaw bought the Kforce land in May for an announced $24 million. It included the 6.25 acres holding the Kforce building and an adjoining 2.6 acres of vacant commercial land. The 9.55-acre Hillsborough Community College property is leased to Tampa Electric Co. The college answered a public records request, saying it had no written documents pertaining to the 1898 Nuccio Parkway parcel since Jan. 1, 2019. The utility said it had a 99-year lease on the property.
Shaw and his partners also have assembled land south of the site at the former Tampa Plaza Apartments and to the southeast near Adamo Drive, where the Rays had announced plans for an $892 million ballpark before that deal fell apart in 2018.
“If the Tampa Bay Rays and the community decide that Ybor is the best home for baseball in Tampa Bay, we will work to bring their vision to life in a way that complements the history and character of Ybor and the surrounding neighborhood,” Shaw said in a Sept. 28 statement to the Tampa Bay Times.
As you’ll recall from this August article, we noted the idea of a new Tampa Bay/Montreal arrangement was gaining momentum, with Tampa elected officials confident they could work with the Rays on a new-ballpark plan. Now Montreal election officials are expressing confidence they could as well work with the Rays on a new-ballpark plan.
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