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Rays unveil St. Petersburg ballpark plan, ask for swift consideration from the city

The Tampa Bay Rays unveiled a financing plan for a new St. Petersburg ballpark to replace Tropicana Field, with the facility serving as the centerpiece of a $6-billion development.

Much of the development plan from the Rays and developer Hines had already been revealed. We covered the specifics of the development proposal here: The Rays are proposing a $1.3-billion fixed-roof ballpark, with partner Hines planning to invest more than $6.5 billion in St. Petersburg over 20 years, creating the largest (nearly 8 million square feet) mixed-use development project in Tampa Bay history. The development would happen at the current Tropicana Field site. The plan includes:

  • 14,000 parking spaces
  • 4,800 residential units
  • 1,200 affordable/workforce residential units (on and off-site)
  • 600 senior living units
  • 1,400,000 square feet of office, medical and commercial space
  • 750,000 square feet of retail
  • 750 hotel rooms
  • 100,000 square feet of entertainment space, including a concert venue to seat up to 4,000
  • 50,000 square feet of civic space, namely a new home for the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum
  • 90,000 – 100,000 square feet of conference, ballroom and meeting space
  • 14 acres of public open space

The St. Petersburg City Council received a more detailed presentation about the development and how it would be financed. As you would expect from a $6 billion development, there are plenty of details to sort out, especially when you also have city and county involvements. In total, the city would pay $417.5 million toward the $6 billion development, with $130 million going to infrastructure improvements across the site (for things like streets and water) and $287.5 million specifically on the ballpark. This money would be generated with a bond sale; no general funds would be involved. Pinellas County bed-tax proceeds would be tapped for $312.5 million toward ballpark construction. The remainder of the ballpark construction cost, $600 million, would come from the team, as well as any cost overruns.

These are big bucks, to be sure, but overall this is a pretty conventional financing plan. The team asked the council for approval by March 2024 so the planning and construction process can begin for a ballpark expected to open in 2028.

Rendering courtesy Tampa Bay Rays and Hines.

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