In August, the city will issue A RFP to develop land near the stadium.
It appears St. Petersburg is taking another shot at making sure Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays remain in the city. It comes more than three decades after then MLB Commissioner Peter Ueberroth advised the city not to bother building a stadium for a team because if you build it they won’t come. Eventually MLB did come starting in 1998 because MLB wanted to expand into Phoenix and there was an expiring commitment to build a Phoenix stadium and MLB needed to act fast in 1995. Phoenix received an expansion team and baseball has to expand by two teams at once because of scheduling commitments and that gave St. Petersburg the other expansion team.
In August, St. Petersburg plans to issue a Request For Proposal to develop the land near the St. Petersburg stadium. This is where it gets interesting because the last two sports-related RFPs were issued in Elmont, New York and in Tempe, Arizona. Will St. Petersburg’s RFP include a requirement for a stadium? In July, 2017, New York State’s Empire State Development agency issued a Request For Proposals for the state-owned land and the RFP seemed to be written to suit the New York Islanders’ owners’ needs for a hockey arena in Elmont. The Islanders arena in Elmont opened in November 2021. In 2021, elected officials in Tempe put out a Request For Proposal to develop a parcel within the city with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes ownership in mind. Tempe officials wanted a sports stadium or an arena and a practice facility on the property. They wanted a team owner to create a stadium or an arena village that would include 1,000 residential units, 200,000 square feet of retail space. The Arizona team ownership and Tempe are talking about building an arena-village.
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