Rays’ Ownership Has Another Chance At Building A Tampa Bay Market Stadium

Rays’ ownership has submitted a proposal for a St. Petersburg stadium-village.

In a perfect sports business world, Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays’ ownership would have been able to build a 21st century state-of-the-art baseball park somewhere in the Tampa Bay market by now. But Rays’ ownership has repeatedly failed at that goal and is still plugging away trying to find that elusive stadium. Rays’ ownership and MLB do not think the present St. Petersburg building is financially efficient and needs to be replaced by 2028. The Rays’ ownership-St. Petersburg stadium lease ends in 2027. Although Rays’ ownership is talking with every available person in the market that may be interested in helping them get that ballpark, it could be that the answer to the Rays’ problem can be found in the parking lot of the present stadium the team uses in St. Petersburg. The City of St. Petersburg has received four proposals in response to the Historic Gas Plant District Request for Proposals or RFP. 50 Plus 1 Sports, Hines & Tampa Bay Rays, Restoration Associates, and Sugar Hill Community Partners submitted proposals for the development of the portion of the Historic Gas Plant District currently stadium’s home and affiliated parking totaling approximately 86 acres.

St. Petersburg issued the RFP on August 26th. The RFP called for “additional emphasis on equitable redevelopment, a 17.3-acre carve out for a baseball stadium, specific requirements for affordable and workforce housing and new details that respond to current economic and societal conditions and community sentiment.” St. Petersburg clearly would like to keep the baseball team on the property. The timeline is tight, there will be a public hearing on the four proposals on January 4th and St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch will choose a developer by the end of January. Rays’ ownership has been looking for a new stadium for years. This is just another proposal.

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Tampa Bay Rays’ David Peralta watches his RBI single off Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Cal Quantrill during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)