The city of St. Petersburg received four proposals to redevelop the Tropicana Field site, including one from the Rays featuring a new downtown ballpark in a mixed-use district.
In August, the city put out a new request for proposals (RFP) to develop the area that’s currently home to Tropicana Field, the Rays’ ballpark. The Rays partnered with Hines, a global real estate investment, development and property manager, to present the seven-million ft2 redevelopment plan for the Historic Gas Plant District. The city’s RFP requested additional emphasis on equitable redevelopment, a 17.3 acre carveout for a ballpark and specific requirements for affordable and workforce housing and adjustments in response to current economic and societal conditions and community sentiment.
The joint plan for the 86-acre area features more than 5,700 multi-family housing units, 1.4 million ft2 of office space, 300,000 ft2 of retail space, 700 hotel rooms, 600 senior living residences, a 2,500-person entertainment venue and various civic uses along with a new playing ground for the Major League Baseball (MLB) side. Hines has experience building Major League ballparks, having served as the construction manager for San Diego’s Petco Park. The Rays and Hines provided renderings from the global architecture, design and planning firm Gensler, and the city will post all four proposals on its website after reviewing each one.
“For decades, Hines has demonstrated the knowledge, expertise and reliability to deliver complex projects of this size and magnitude,” said Rays president Matt Silverman, adding, “Hines has been acquainted with this site for 15 years, and we know that Hines will be here 15 years from now, fulfilling its promises and vision for the Historic Gas Plant District. St. Petersburg deserves a world-class development partner with a track record of steering projects through the inevitable economic cycles we will face. With Hines leading this effort, we gain greater certainty of quality and timely completion. Together we can create a vibrant, equitable neighborhood that will be a wonderful home for Rays baseball for generations to come.”
A mayoral decision is expected near the end of January, and the city’s proposed timeline would have a development agreement presented to City Council by October 2023 at the latest. “We will review the proposers’ plans with a keen eye on their interpretation of affordable and workforce housing; office and meeting space; arts and culture; research, innovation, and education; recreation; open space, healthy and sustainable development; and intentional equity,” said Ken Welch, Mayor of St. Petersburg.
“Together with the Rays, we have the opportunity to create a city-defining, diversified and inclusive placemaking village, with their new ballpark at its heart,” said Michael Harrison, senior managing director at Hines. “We have coordinated extensively with the Rays on the vision and master-planned design and infrastructure necessary for the stadium, which is essential to the long-term vitality and economic viability of the entire project.
The Rays have sought to secure a new ballpark in the Tampa Bay area for 15 years. They abandoned plans in 2009 for a ballpark at the Al Lang Stadium site, and they were unable to reach a deal with Hillsborough County in 2018 on a proposal for a stadium in Ybor City. In January, MLB rejected the club’s split-season, sister city proposal.