St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch has selected the Tampa Bay Rays led redevelopment bid for the land surrounding Tropicana Field.
As a consequence, the Rays plan for a new stadium in the somewhat isolated city within the greater Tampa Bay area has been selected, clearing the way for the Rays to stay in their current stadium location.
Tropicana Field sits on a previously a flourishing, historically Black neighborhood in St. Petersburg called the Gas Plant District, and Mayor Welch — who is Black and had family who lived in this neighborhood — put restorative justice at the center of the request for proposals and his speech on selecting the Tampa Bay Rays proposal.
You can view the Rays stadium redevelopment proposal here.
Here are the city’s written remarks regarding the selection of the Hines & Rays proposal:
A BETTER PATH FORWARD
Said Mayor Welch, “I saw a need to build a better path forward by prioritizing the community’s need for affordable and workforce housing – both onsite and offsite. And as a child who visited many a restaurant, corner store and worked at my Grandfather’s woodyard, the opportunity for restorative economic opportunities needed to be a clearly stated priority.”
During his remarks, Mayor Welch thanked the four development teams who responded to the City’s RFP for the Historic Gas Plan District, for believing in St. Petersburg, and for investing their resources in their proposals. He is also grateful for the 2,000+ residents and stakeholders, and the multiple faith, business, and community organizations for sharing their thoughts and recommendations.
On his choice, “I am naming the partner and a concept for a project that will last over a decade and will span multiple administrations. As the plan moves forward under my administration, we will adhere to our model of inclusive governance—asking for input from all stakeholders, including the community, to ensure that we are meeting the goals of this development. I know our St. Pete community will stay engaged and informed as this project takes shape.”
Mayor Welch went on to say, “This has been a complex decision, with two particularly strong proposals from capable teams. We have received input and feedback from diverse groups and individuals, and we have received staff and consultant analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of the proposals. The process was detailed and transparent, and as your Mayor, I have done my homework. I am confident that this decision is the best path forward, and I am excited to announce that the City’s Partner for Progress in the development of the Historic Gas Plant District is Hines & Tampa Bay Rays.”
This team is the best partner for this generational endeavor, and now the next phase of work begins to bring this dream to reality for everyone in St. Petersburg.