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St. Petersburg received four proposals for Tropicana Field redevelopment

Including one by the Rays.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

December 2, 2022 was the deadline for proposals for redevelopment the 86 acre site that currently houses Tropicana Field (and a whole lot of parking) into a new, mixed use “city within a city.”

St. Petersburg received four proposals, including one from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Some background: Back when the Rays were still promoting their split city plan, former Mayor Kriseman had released a previous Request for Proposals to redevelop this site, asking for concepts with and without a baseball stadium.

The city received seven qualified proposals, and Mayor Kriseman chose two finalists, Midtown and Sugar Hill, eventually giving the nod to the Midtown group just before his term ended last year.

When Ken Welch was elected mayor, however, he decided not to move ahead with the Midtown proposal, and issued a new RFP, claiming that new circumstances (COVID, a growing housing affordability crisis) called for a new approach.

You can find a good rundown of the key points in the new RFP (along with a link to the document) at St. Pete Rising. Also, this time around the Rays, who had not engaged in the first RFP process, had indicated that they wanted to play a role in this one.

So what’s different about this RFP for the Tropicana Field Site? this RFP requires submissions to include a ballpark site of about 17 acres, and does not ask for a non-ballpark option. There is a clear intent to accommodate the Rays this time around, and in turn the Rays themselves are submitting their own bid in the FRP process.

Along with the baseball stadium, there were 23 guidelines laid out for developers to follow in their attempt to revitalize in one of the most significant redevelopment projects the area has ever seen. Among those guidelines were a hotel with conference space, incorporating Booker Creek and the Pinellas Trail and connections to surrounding neighborhoods, lots of affordable and workforce housing, and an emphasis on opportunities for minor-owned contractors.

The deadline for submissions had been November 18, but got pushed back to December 2 reportedly after the Rays requested an extension after Hurricane Ian damaged their Port Charlotte facility, which was a sign the team’s Development Office was planning their own submission.

The plans will be be posted on the City’s website after an expeditious review by City staff to ensure that each proposal is ADA compliant.

The city also announced that a community presentation is scheduled for January 4th at the Coliseum, where the public is invited to hear each proposer provide an overview of their respective plans.

Mayor Ken Welch gave thanks for the four proposals in statement.

“We commend 50 Plus 1 Sports, Hines & Tampa Bay Rays, Restoration Associates, and Sugar Hill Community Partners for their diligent efforts to submit proposals that will fuel inclusive progress and equitable development for future generations who will live, visit and do business in our city. We will review the proposers’ plans with a keen eye on their interpretation of affordable and workforce housing; office and meeting space; arts and culture; research, innovation, and education; recreation; open space, healthy and sustainable development; and intentional equity. We look forward to engaging the community as we determine the future of this historically and economically vital part of St. Petersburg, and the Tampa Bay Region.”

The Mayor will make his final decision on the proposals at his first State of the City address, slated to be held towards the end of January, 2023.

Here are the developer teams that submitted proposals; we’ll provide more analysis of their content in the coming days.

Sugar Hill Community Partners is a partnership of JMA Ventures, a San Francisco-based developer that has largely built west coast hotels and resorts, and the Machete Group, which provides project management and financing services largely for sports venues. You can read more about their previous proposal here.

Rays/Hines This time around, the Rays have thrown hat into the ring (or caps onto the field?), partnering with a well-known development firm with a long track record of development that includes just about every kind of residential and commercial development imaginable. Hines is one of the country’s largest development firms, and if you’ve visited any major American - or Asian, European, Australian or Latin American city — chances are you’ve been in or near a building developed by this firm. Sports facility development, however, does not seem to be their emphasis, although they are well known in the industry as the developers of Petco Park in San Diego.

50 Plus 1 Sports No information available...

Restoration Associates No information available...

Information regarding the bids is expected to be released to the public either Friday or Monday of next week. We will update as more information comes available.