The city of St. Petersburg has released the results of its Tropicana Field Site Request for Proposal — a call for private developers to submit plans to redevelop the 86 acres that include the Rays leased stadium with the following prompt:
Spanning 86 acres of publicly-owned land nestled in the middle of St. Pete, Florida, with one of the most vibrant and walkable downtowns in the nation, the Tropicana Field site represents a development opportunity unlike any other in the Southeast. The City of St. Petersburg has dedicated a minimum of $75 million for infrastructure development of the site with plans to partner with a development team to create a multi-use city center that reflects the diverse and rich culture of St. Petersburg and adheres to principals developed through community engagement, including Smart Cities, sustainability, and a healthy community.
This request for bids follows the city’s initial plan which was not embraced two years ago.
Seven RFP submissions have now been released to the public, and were listed in the following order. Select screenshots and descriptions are my own choices, unless block quotes utilized.
The first plan introduced by the city starts with no Rays stadium identified. More on that in a moment.
Design Principles: Creekside Design
Land uses are usually associated with buildings—some are residential, some commercial, some with retail on the ground floor; some are hotels and so on. But on an 86-acre parcel we are working at the scale of city -building. Fittingly, our approach to land use starts with the three fundamental elements of cities: streets, parks and blocks. Creekside will provide 36 acres of Public Realm, land used for streets and parks as part of the building of Booker Creek and The Greenway highlight the park system.
Another measure of our commitment to open space is the public Boardwalk, Terraces and Paseos that will pass over and through buildings with full landscaping and public access. Creekside also includes 30 new city blocks for development encompassing 50 acres of land.
Key Feature: Booker Creek Basin
While all proposals will feature the creek, this proposal creates a large basin around which the plan is based.
The rebuilding and realignment of Booker Creek creates five different creek environments; The Upper Creek, The Water Pavillion, The Lower Creek, The Banyan Village and The Heritage Bridge
Rays Stadium Location: Flexible
Most submissions build around the Rays stadium, but this plan allows the city to pick which area the Rays would fit in: neighboring the EDGE district, or next to the planned water basin (perhaps with the added possibility of homeruns into the creek?).
Every plan submitted has an option to build with or without a Rays stadium. Moving forward, I will include the versions showing the Rays stadium only. If you’d like to see the renderings without, follow the hyperlinks in the subheading or at the end of the article in the table.
Design Principles: Re-integrate the land into St. Petersburg’s master plan
Key Features: Gateways
The vision for The Tropicana Redevelopment is built around re-establishing the urban fabric of homes and small businesses that collectively formed the Gas Plant District. The project will restore the physical connections into the neighboring communities of the EDGE District, Grand Central, Warehouse Arts District, and Melrose Mercy. These broken connections are reformed through a restitching of the street network and a new landmark garden bridge over the I-175 to Campbell Park. The culturally and ecologically rich Booker Creek is conceived of as a common ground, a meeting place for the many diverse communities that envelop the Site.
Rays Stadium Location: Tucked away
Note: This proposal includes a recommendation to consider Al Lang for the stadium location to allow for full utilization of the Trop site for a new district.
Design Principle: Mixed use buildings
The planning vision is a synthesis of the historical context of canal communities and cities within Florida’s urban planning history, and the restoration of a vibrant mixed-use, diverse neighborhood that respects and connects to the already in-place infrastructures and urban fabric... In our design, it was important that the land use parcels were not exclusive to one use or purpose; but are programmed to accommodate and promote a mixture of complimentary uses.
Key Design Feature: Canals
This proposal would eliminate the exit for I-175 that turns east toward downtown, and build canals along the east-west roadways.
Rays Stadium Location: Webb’s
This proposal has the Rays stadium neighboring the residential area at the far east side of the land available, but potentially providing a connection between EDGE and the Central Art District.
Design Principles: Civic gathering
[...] the master plan is to create a civic gathering place. Imagined as a stage for public life, the convention center cascades down to the new public plaza, inviting life to move between the two spaces. The plaza framed by the convention center is covered by a light canopy, allowing people to gather during any season to engage with the public programming and markets that will bring this space to life throughout the year.
Key Feature: Convention Center
The convention complex includes 1.3 million sf of space built in two phases along with a major flagship hotel with ballroom. The different buildings are connected via skybridges over the road.
Rays Stadium Location: Central
Here the planned amenities are tied into footpath surrounding stadium, which uses a berm for the outfield.
Design Principles: Emphasis on Housing
Key Feature: Luxury Towers
Two luxury high rises tower above left and right field in this design, with a hotel placed between them.
Rays Stadium Location: No Change
The land east of Tropicana Field is converted from parking lots to residential, while the stadium remains in the same location.
Design Principles: Breathing room
My impression of the design choices in this layout are just how set apart the areas feel.
Key Feature: Green space
This design concept with or without a Rays stadium allows for nearly 45% of the acreage to remain greenspace, similar to plan 1 above but without an emphasis on water. The firm also has aspirations of converting the highway exit into greenspace as well, connecting the Tropicana Field site to the land to the south.
Rays Stadium Location: Self-contained
Where other proposals integrate the new ballpark into the space, this proposal has a main road passing through the design, separating the ballpark from the rest of the development.
Design Principles: Life Cycle Living
Residential development is highly integrated throughout the site with six dedicated affordable housing parcels occupying the West side of the property. The design strategy incorporates the full scope of housing options to embrace a life cycle of housing support for this community. From childcare options to affordable homes, workforce housing, market-rate condos and independent living, St. Pete residents can spend a life within these 86 acres.
Key Feature: Corporate HQ Prioritization
A new stadium is all well and good, but a key need for the Rays has been corporate partners. This plan prioritizes attracting corporate headquarters.
The new stadium is shown occupying a little over 12 acres in the Northeast section of the site, putting the busiest elements closest to downtown, the waterfront and the existing grid system. An inside-out concept was the vision for the exterior of the stadium to take advantage of a multitude of retail, restaurant and entertainment venues that will occupy the stadium and surrounding space. Our design will allow venues to serve patrons from both the interior and exterior of the stadium, increasing their exposure and volume of clientele on game days and every day in between.
The design shows a moderate expansion to Booker Creek and creates more open space that can be considered a version of waterfront access and views for Class-A office and residential leasing and purchase. Two Class-A office towers will flank the creek on the west side of the site and one tower on the east side facing the stadium. These sites create in-demand locations for corporate headquarters space as well as creating opportunities for jobs, education and training for residents and the community of St. Petersburg and beyond.
Rays Stadium Location: Downtown-feel
The exterior of the stadium is integrated into a downtown space near corporate office development.
St. Pete RFP - Jan 2021
|Proposal||Concept||Key Feature||Stadium Location|
|Proposal||Concept||Key Feature||Stadium Location|
|Midtown Development||Creekside||Water basin||Flexible|
|Portman Holdings, Third Lake Partners||Reintegration||Gateways||Southwest Corner|
|SROA, Holabird & Root, ARGO||Mixed-use||Canals||Webb's|
|Sugar Hill Community Partners, JMA Ventures||Civic gathering||Convention Center||EDGE|
|TRS Development Services||Residential||Luxury Towers||No Change|
|Unicorp National Development||Breathing room||Green space||Southwest Corner|
|Wendover Housing Partners||Life Cycle||Corporate HQ||EDGE|
Do you have a favorite submission?
This poll is closed
Midtown (Creekside / Water Basin)
Portman / Third Lake (Gateways)
SROA / H&R / ARGO (Canals)
Sugar Hill / JMA (Convention Center)
TRS (Luxury Towers)
Unicorp (Green space)
Wendover (Corporate HQ)