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The latest updates on Tropicana Field redevelopment plans

Latest updates and analysis in the #StadiumSaga

Tampa Bay Stadium Concept, Early 1980s

While we await news — about stadium developments, trades, signings, anything — we thought we’d review the status of Tropicana Field redevelopment proposals, along with links to commentary on the submissions.

In full disclosure, I am pretty confident that the Rays/Hines proposal will be the choice, for many perhaps obvious reasons (such as the awkwardness of moving ahead with a different developer while the team plans the stadium site, and the Rays suggestion that they would not work with another development team).

Editor’s note: Indeed Lizzie is so sure of this outcome that she promised she would root for the Yankees for one entire game this season should Welch pick a different plan.

You may have heard rumors, maybe even seen some renderings, of a new Tampa site under discussion. Does that plan have legs? We’ll cover that tomorrow.

What is the process for choosing among these plans?

Mayor Welch will make the final choice, and he has said he’ll announce the city’s progress ins selecting a bid at his “State of the City” address at the end of January. Drawing up and signing actual binding contracts with firm dollar amounts and timelines will still be up to city staff and need city council and county commission approval.

The RFP for this project had included a lengthy list of city priorities, and presumably Welch will be guided how well each proposal addressed these priorities — although, somewhat unusually for public developments like this one, there are no clear criteria for how Welch will evaluate the proposals.

The city staff review of each proposals’ pros and cons was made public, so you can see how the planning and development professionals in local government are thinking.

These two articles summarize those staff comments: one from the Tampa Bay Times and another from Florida Politics.

Overall the city staff seem very favorable to the Rays/Hines proposal. They also liked the Sugar Hill proposal, but criticized the group for maybe inflating their credentials, and for failing to say anything about the stadium part of the plan (Sugar Hill said that would be left to the Rays, and in fairness to them, it would be).

Where can I read more analysis of these plans?

The first place to start is our review, which also links to a other analyses.

You can read a recent OpEd in the Tampa Bay Times that explains the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce endorsement of the Rays/Hines proposal. Of note: they explain why they like this proposal but don’t address the merits or weaknesses of the other bids.

USF St. Pete professor Thomas Hallock has written a very thoughtful review of the four proposals for Creative Loafing. Hallock supports the Sugar Hill proposal as the best way to redress the wrongs done to the Gas Plant district community.

All four teams presented their proposals at a public meeting, which was covered by the Tampa Bay Times.

A Raymond James executive wrote this OpEd about the what he sees as missing from all the proposals, but I’ll be honest, I don’t really understand what he is trying to say.

Finally, for history buffs, there has been a few in depth articles about that Gas Plant District that predated Tropicana Field, this one from St. Pete Catalyst and this from the Tampa Bay Times.

The city announced that Mayor Welch plans to “make a major announcement” about the redevelopment Jan. 30 at 11 a.m. on the steps of St. Petersburg City Hall, where it’s widely expected the winning bid will be selected.