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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Mayor Backs Rays’ Stadium Plan, But Hurdles Remain

  • St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch chose a plan presented by the Tampa Bay Rays detailing a new stadium and surrounding development.
  • The team and city still must come to an agreement around tax payments and other factors.
Tampa-Bay-Rays-St-Pete
Tampa Bay Rays

St. Petersburg’s mayor endorsed the Tampa Bay Rays’ proposal for a new ballpark — but that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal.

Mayor Ken Welch chose a design from the MLB team and development firm Hines out of four options presented to the city, but significant hurdles remain before the team and city commit to a new ballpark.

  • “We made it to the starting line, but we have a long race ahead of us,” said Rays president Brian Auld.
  • Auld added, “There’s a lot that still needs to go right to get a shovel in the ground,” citing tax agreements with the city, city council approval, a financing plan with the county, and adjustments based on feedback. 
  • The Rays also remain in talks with Tampa, should their negotiations with St. Petersburg break down.
Tampa-Bay-Rays

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Gas Plant Goals

The team proposed a fixed-roof, 30,000-seat stadium open year-round for events on days when no game was being played.

Auld said that the Rays “wanted to give [Mayor Welch] a solution that could help solve the future of baseball while also hitting his outspoken desire for an inclusive and equitable process.” 

The proposed development would be in the Gas Plant district, an area from which hundreds of Black residents were forced to move out to accommodate the city’s desire to build a stadium to attract an MLB team.

The plan calls for 5,700 multifamily units, including 850 affordable and workforce units, an entertainment venue, office buildings for sports science and life science research, and retail space.

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