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St. Petersburg narrows down proposals for Tropicana Field project

The City of St. Petersburg has announced a shortlist of four proposals for the reimagining of Tropicana Field, home of Major League Baseball team the Tampa Bay Rays.

In January, the city unveiled proposals from seven development groups for the repurposing of the stadium site, with the list having now been trimmed to four. The four respondents on the shortlist are JMA Ventures/Sugar Hill Community Partners, Midtown Development, Portman-Third Lake and Unicorp National Development.

The four prospective partners have been invited to submit further details and participate in a public engagement phase of application. The full proposals can be viewed here, with the final selection of a partner to be made later this year.

The city said that the four shortlisted companies “best represented” the criteria set out within its request for proposal, which it launched last July. The city added that the four firms have a “proven track record of executing large, mixed-use developments”.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said: “We received many quality submissions to redevelop the Tropicana Field site, and I am thankful for the time, money, and energy that each team expended. Four submissions clearly stood out as truly exceptional and I am excited for our residents to learn more about each one.

“The future of that site, with or without baseball, has never been brighter. As I’ve said time and again, this is our chance to get it right, and to right wrongs. I encourage everyone to remain engaged in this process as we move forward.”

Residents will be able to attend virtual and in-person meetings to provide input regarding the proposals, while immersive showrooms will also be located throughout the city that will provide executive summaries of the proposals, as well as renderings.

There remains uncertainty over whether the redeveloped site will include a new baseball stadium for the Rays, with the city having asked applicants to enter two proposals – one including a stadium and another without.

The Rays’ current lease at Tropicana Field expires in 2027 and the agreement entitles the team to 50% of the revenue of any development on that land before 2028, regardless of whether a stadium is included. The Tampa Bay Times newspaper reported in January that the Rays’ involvement in the scheme was at risk over disputes concerning who would control the site’s redevelopment and subsequent revenues.

The situation is also complicated by the Rays’ plans to potentially split games between Tampa and the Canadian city of Montreal. In February 2020, the team said a “meaningful step” had been taken towards securing the future of the team in the Tampa Bay region as a deadline was set for an agreement on the novel proposal that would see it split its season with Montreal.

The Rays are said to have business partners with preliminary plans to build a stadium with private funds in Montreal, but games cannot be played before the 2028 season with the Canadian group not committing to the stadium plan until it has a firm contract with the Rays.

Image: City of St. Petersburg