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Tropicana Field site redevelopment narrowed to four proposals

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All four proposals include an option for a new Rays stadium,

At the end of January 2021, the city of St. Petersburg released seven of nine proposals received to redevelop the land under Tropicana Field, 86 acres of downtown property controlled by the city and largely used as a parking lot.

This afternoon, that list was narrowed to four. You can read our summary on the RFP process and the ruled out proposals at this link. The submissions by each firm are hyperlinked below, and can also be found at the city’s website.

There are differences between the proposals. Some pack into the space as much as possible to create a busy downtown feel, others spread the buildings apart. Some have the stadium option in the middle of the action, others set the stadium to the side.

What follows highlights our previous detail on the submissions, listed in the order presented by the city.

1. Midtown Development

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.


2. Portman Holdings, Third Lake Partners

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.


3. Sugar Hill Community Partners, JMA Ventures

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.


4. Unicorp National Development

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.


Here is a summary table of the four proposals:

St. Pete RFP - March 2021

Proposal Concept Key Feature Stadium Location
Proposal Concept Key Feature Stadium Location
Midtown Development Creekside Water basin Central (EDGE or 175)
Portman Holdings, Third Lake Partners Reintegration Gateways Southwest Corner or Al Lang
Sugar Hill Community Partners, JMA Ventures Civic gathering Convention Center Central (EDGE)
Unicorp National Development Breathing room Green space Southwest Corner

Given the narrowing of options, do you have a favorite design?

Poll

Which is your favorite proposal?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Midtown (Creekside / Water Basin feature)
    (113 votes)
  • 11%
    Portman / Third Lake (Gateways feature)
    (37 votes)
  • 18%
    Sugar Hill / JMA (Convention Center feature)
    (58 votes)
  • 35%
    Unicorp (Greenspace feature)
    (113 votes)
321 votes total Vote Now