Top Menu

Rays envision a pedestrian-friendly Ybor City ballpark

Tampa Bay RaysIn a sign that work is progressing on a new facility, Tampa officials are requesting $43 million in state infrastructure money to improve pedestrian access to an Ybor City location envisioned as hosting a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark.

Though it’s not been officially been announced, it’s no secret the Rays are looking at a ballpark at the former 18-acre Kforce staffing and services company site in Ybor City. 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. 

The clear signs the Kforce property is in play: the city is requesting $43 million in state funding for two separate projects, each designed to improve bicycle, scooter and pedestrian access between the ballpark site and two popular city destinations: Armature Works and the Channel District. The Armature Works area has emerged as a popular nightspot, including a food hall and the Ulele restaurant, while the Channel District features Amalie Arena and a host of attractions, as well as new development that includes high-end housing and office space.

The plan to improve access between these areas is not new: the city was looking at upgraded transit options before Ybor City became a ballpark site pushed by the Rays. From the Tampa Bay Times:

The proposed corridors would link the ballpark to two popular spots on the downtown Riverwalk: Armature Works and the Channel District. They would be completed by 2025, according to the city.

The team doesn’t have a deal in place yet to move from St. Petersburg, where they’ve played since 1998, to Tampa. But the accelerating discussions about access improvements and infrastructure that would make it easier to get fans in the seats underscore how serious the team is about moving across the bay.

City leaders have long wanted to increase mobility options between downtown and Ybor, Tampa Heights and the Channel District. Former Mayor Bob Buckhorn talked often about creating a seamless circle of activity and development around downtown. And Castor has made mobility one of her top priorities since taking office in 2019.

Also on the table for these ballpark-related transit needs: some sort of light-rail system. From the city’s perspective, the transit improvements aren’t contingent on a new Rays ballpark: as noted, city leaders have targeted this area for transit upgrades for years, and they’ll benefit the city even if the Rays leave town.

RELATED STORIES: Another Ybor City site considered for new Rays ballpark; On second thought: No Montreal promo for Rays playoffsRays to push Montreal plans during playoffsIs Tampa ballpark bid gaining momentum?It’s back: Rays revive Ybor City ballpark planRays Steadily Pitching Case for Tampa Bay-Montreal ProposalTampa, Hillsborough County Officials Work to Lure RaysRays Advance Talks With St. Pete About Partial Montreal MoveRob Manfred Backs Rays’ Pursuit of Split-Season PlanRays Said to Have Threatened to Block Tropicana Field DevelopmentTampa Mayor: Maybe Tampa/Montreal Split Season Plan Can WorkRays Will Pursue Tampa Bay/Montreal Split in 2028Kriseman: No Split Season for the RaysRays Advance Talks With St. Pete About Partial Montreal MoveTampa Should Reopen Rays Ballpark Talks: MayorManfred: Rays’ Split Season Pitch is Way to Keep Team in Tampa BayBronfman: Rays Proposal is Key First Step to MLB Return to MontrealNew St. Petersburg Ballpark Could Factor into Rays Tampa Bay/Montreal PlanPlenty of Obstacles to Tampa Bay/Montreal PlanMLB: Rays Can Discuss Tampa/Montreal Split SeasonAgreement Reached on Potential Montreal Ballpark SiteVision for New Montreal MLB Ballpark: Anchor for Mixed-Use DevelopmentMontreal Group Methodically Building Case for MLB’s ReturnPolitical Reaction to Montreal MLB Ballpark Site: MixedSite Emerging for New Montreal MLB BallparkReport: Support High for MLB’s Return to MontrealQuebec’s Main Parties Open to Partnering on New Montreal Ballpark

, , ,