With the recent news that a Trop renovation wouldn't be reasonable, it's time that we take a look at some of the details in this plan. In this segment, I'm going to try to find out what this region will and can support. Let's get started.
I'm going to limit this discussion to only about 4 of the sites floating around as possible construction areas and a 5th that may be somewhat interesting. These five include: St. Pete/Clearwater Airport (A), Toytown Dump (B), the current location (C), Derby Lanes (D), UT Adjacent (F), and the mystery location: the recently closed TECO Power Plant in Oldsmar.
BAY AREA POPULATION DENSITY:
St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport (Airport Code PIE):
INFRASTRUCTURE: Although central to the Tampa/St. Pete area, PIE is almost bereft of Interstate Traffic. Yes the Bayside Bridge and Roosevelt/Ulmerton do support some local traffic but not nearly enough to support the +/- 35,000 attendance the Rays plan on building for. GRADE: C
AVAILABILITY: As recently as about 6 months ago, PIE has lost several small but important airlines such as USA 3000 are leaving quickly. Even with these departures, PIE is controlled by the County and is very unlikely to be made available in the near future. GRADE: D
POPULATION: According to the 2000 US Census, PIE is right in the middle of the area in Pinellas County where population density is the lowest. Commercial population is relatively decent but it's not nearly as great as Tampa or St. Pete. GRADE: C
REGIONABILITY: PIE is decent at best for Pinellas and Hillsborough (terrible for Pasco). It's is awful for Orlando and the Sarasota/Bradenton market. Again, the Gandy bridge is the only viable interstate option for either side. GRADE: F
POSSIBILITY GRADE: D This option is possibly the worst avaiable regionally speaking.
INFRASTRUCTURE: This beautiful former dump is I-275 adjacent and is located in a central location in regards to Tampa and St. Pete. Parking is non-existent but that's for another post. The only drawback is that the I-275 area becomes bogged down fast. Really fast. Gamedays as they are now can strain the system. GRADE: B
AVAILABILITY: Being a former dump (ceased being used in the 70's/80's), the status of the soil underneath is in question. It will most certainly be an issue in regards to this site. Having said that, it is the biggest unused parcel left in Pinellas County and it is left to be seen if the County will hand it over for a ballpark. GRADE: C
POPULATION: Somewhat in the middle of mid-southern Pinellas County, Toytown is decent for residential but above-average for commercial. GRADE: C+
REGIONABILITY: It's somewhat available to the higher populated areas in Hillsborough and Sarasota/Bradenton. Orlando is not going to be a significant draw and the ever-growing Pasco County is a bit out of a reach. GRADE: C
POSSIBILITY GRADE: B This option may be the County's only choice if nobody else wants to accept it.
Current Location of Tropicana Field: Everyone knows this already...POSSIBILITY: F The team already said so...
INFRASTRUCTURE: Off-ramps would have to be built but the location is again, I-275 adjacent. Local traffic is limited to Roosevelt and similar roads and that isn't much.GRADE: C+
AVAILABILITY: Derby Lane is still open for business. It would either have to close or the owner would have to sell in order for this option to become available. GRADE: D
POPULATION: Serves the Tampa area better than Pinellas. Better for Sarasota/Bradenton than others. Worse for Pasco. The area does not have tons of residential. In fact, it's in the lower third. Commercial is decent (about the same as Toytown with the added benefit of a bridge right to Downtown Tampa at it's doorstep). GRADE: D
REGIONABILITY: Average for Tampa, Meh for Pinellas, Decent for Sarasota/Manatee, Bad for Pasco, and average for Orlando (however miniscule it may be). GRADE: C
POSSIBILITY GRADE: B- Out of all the options, this one may end up being the best fit...according to this part of our studies.
UT ADJACENT: It's been done before here. I'll try to find the link sometime soon. POSSIBILITY GRADE: F Pinellas/St. Pete will not let the team move to Tampa.
Former TECO Power Plant:
I'm throwing this out there because it raises an outside-the-box answer to a very hard problem. For this one, I'm leaving the 5 points of all my previous arguments up to you...
I know what I tihnk, I want to heard it from everyone else.
I look forward to continuing on to Part II if everyone is interested in a step-by-step approach covering all bases the best we can.
REGIONAL POPULATION DENSITY: (The green dot is approx. the center of all areas)