After an hour-long meeting, Rays president Brian Auld and St. Pete mayor Rick Kriseman emerged with V-for-victory gestures and self-clasping handshakes. Shadow of the Stadium gives us the mayor's statement:
The Rays have always been collaborative partners in this process and this morning was a continuation of those good faith discussions.The Mayor and Mr. Auld discussed the development rights issue and the spirit of the discussion, as it has always been, was positive. We look forward to having an agreement that Council can approve before Opening Day.
This news does not send thundershocks through the beams of the Howard Frankland Bridge, but it suggests further progress towards a much-needed new stadium and new location. According to the Times, the talks centered around the 50-50 split of development rights.
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It's a complicated part of the negotiations, and, if I may venture an analogous description of the situation, I believe it breaks down thusly: The Rays are renting a property. If the landlord makes improvements to the property while the Rays are still there, the Rays can reap 50% of the profit from that improvement. That ends, however, when they leave the property.
But this situation is so complicated, I'm not even sure that analogy is correct. Nonetheless, this is the final sticking point in the recently-failed negotiations, and setting a deadline may help keep the gears turning. Hopefully this is a key step forward towards keeping the Rays local and getting their attendance to acceptable levels.