In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, St Petersburg Mayor, Rick Kriseman addressed the possibility of a new Rays stadium being built in his city, where the team currently resides, which the newspaper summarized as follows:
In the meantime, the mayor said he’s been told by Rays ownership to expect an answer by this summer on whether the team plans to leave the Sunshine city or construct a new stadium and stay beyond 2027.
This is coming off the heels of Tampa’s failed plan to build a new stadium in Ybor City for the Rays, when politicians involved could not even form a coalition to even acquire the land proposed for the new site.
The Rays have a lease agreement for Tropicana Field that locks the team in the stadium through the 2027 season. After the lease has concluded, they can freely explore new stadium locations anywhere they deem fit, but not before.
Three years ago, the Rays received permission from the St. Petersburg City Council to conduct a stadium search, and had until the end of last year to finalize a deal for a new stadium.
The Rays were limited to considering one bid from each county on either side of Tampa Bay, but after talks broke down and the clock expired, the team will have to start from scratch in order to secure a new stadium, having lost the ability to consider a new stadium during the remaining nine years of their lease.
Mayor Kriseman has long been a supporter of the Rays, and campaigned for Mayor on a platform that allowed the Rays to conduct a stadium search, believing the team would ultimately realize St. Petersburg was the best choice for the team’s future. His county’s proposal involved the Rays building a new stadium in the current parking lot, while developing the remaining 80-acre footprint into a corporate hub.
On the other side of the bay, newly elected Mayor of Tampa Jane Castor recently said she, “will do what I can to have the Rays move to Tampa.” Her city lacks the tax revenue stockpile and available land in St. Petersburg, although recent penny tax additions could help her case.
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