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Rays reach $1.3 billion stadium deal with St. Petersburg

Rays owner commits to $700 million in spend, “plus cost overruns”

Finally!

The Tampa Bay Rays announced today that a historic agreement has been reached with the City of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County to move forward with a new state-of-the-art ballpark and an overall development called the Hines Historic Gas Plant Partnership on the 86-acre site where the team’s current stadium sits.

The agreement advances a project for St. Petersburg, Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay region that will include nearly 8 million square feet of mixed-use development and a new, neighborhood ballpark for the Rays that ensures Major League Baseball is here to stay in St. Petersburg for generations.

The Hines Historic Gas Plant Partnership Plan

The agreed-upon plan includes the key aspects of the original proposal submitted by the Hines Historic Gas Plant Partnership in response to St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch’s Request for Proposals in 2022.

The new agreement increases the number of affordable/workforce housing units to be built by the partnership to 1,200, with at least half of that amount to be built on the Historic Gas Plant site. It also adds on-site affordable units for seniors.

Importantly, the development agreement focuses heavily on the equitable, intentional and restorative delivery of community benefits and economic impacts, specifically to honor the legacy of the Historic Gas Plant neighborhood’s residents and businesses.

This includes a $50 million commitment to intentional equity initiatives in partnership with South St. Petersburg that include affordable housing funding, employment and business support, education programs and Minority/Women Owned Business Enterprises hiring commitments.

Overall, the project is projected to cost more than $6.5 billion and will be built over the next 20 years. Once fully built, the project is planned to include:

  • 4,800 residential units
  • 1,200 affordable/workforce residential units (on and off-site)
  • 600 senior living units
  • 1,400,000 square feet of office, medical and commercial space
  • 750,000 square feet of retail
  • 750 hotel rooms
  • 100,000 square feet of entertainment space, including a concert venue to seat up to 4,000
  • 50,000 square feet of civic space, namely a new home for the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum
  • 90,000 - 100,000 square feet of conference, ballroom and meeting space
  • 14 acres of public open space
  • 14,000 parking spaces

The ballpark will have a capacity of around 30,000 for baseball, with the ability to accommodate up to 35,000 for other events, providing the most intimate fan experience in Major League Baseball. The Rays will pay more than half of the $1.3 billion ballpark and be responsible for any cost overruns. Pinellas County and the City of St. Petersburg will combine to contribute approximately $600 million in equal amounts.

Construction on the transformational development is expected to begin in late 2024 in the first of two phases. The team will continue to play in the existing ballpark on the site until the end of its current lease with the City of St. Petersburg in 2027. Phase 1 of the development and the new ballpark are projected to be ready by Opening Day 2028.

The public approval process by Pinellas County and the City of St. Petersburg is expected to begin this fall.

Ballpark Features

The fully enclosed and air-conditioned ballpark will ensure comfort and protection from the elements while maintaining the ability to seamlessly integrate with the surrounding environment. Transparent, mobile walls will line exterior-facing businesses to “bring the outside in.” The unique roof design also captures the essence of a “Pavilion” – a keystone of Florida-style architecture known for its flexibility.

The entire ballpark will be intentionally designed as a gathering place where everyone feels welcome on event and non-event days, uniting the Tampa Bay region and connecting diverse, multi-generational fans.

Three seating levels will feature a variety of comfortable seating types from premium clubs and suites to flexible viewing areas, decks, and social gathering spaces for all fans. Modern amenities and the latest technologies will provide unmatched viewing experiences and family-friendly activities will include an aquarium exhibit and multiple kid-zones.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays-Press Conference Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

For more information, visit raysbaseball.com/HereToStay.

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Tampa Bay Rays Principal Owner Stu Sternberg:

“This will be a transformative project for the Rays, St. Petersburg, and Pinellas County. We have proudly served as Tampa Bay’s Major League team for 25 years, and we are thrilled to be in position to do so for decades and generations to come.”

Senior Managing Director of Hines Michael Harrison:

“Hines, in partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays, is honored to bring this transformative, city-defining project to life. Our goal is to create St. Petersburg’s next great place to live, work, and play for all of St. Petersburg, while also generating one of the most exciting mixed-use placemaking destinations in the world. We consider it a privilege to partner with the Rays, the city, and the community to make this vision a reality.”

St. Petersburg Mayor Kenneth T. Welch:

“Our transformational development of 86 acres in the heart of St. Petersburg will benefit St. Pete and Tampa Bay residents for generations to come. The Rays are here to stay, and it’s also critical to underscore that this impactful work is much bigger than baseball and extends far beyond the 17-acre ballpark. We are duty bound with our intentional efforts to honor the broken promises made to the Historic Gas Plant community, an incredibly special place that my own family called home. Our strong partnership with Pinellas County and the Hines-Rays group is coupling opportunity with hope, linking jobs to economic growth, fulfilling a commitment to minority business participation, and building thousands of residential units, including a significant number of affordable and workforce housing to uplift families and strengthen neighborhoods. We Are St. Pete!”

Pinellas County Commission Chair Janet Long:

“This has been an impressive team effort, and we are thrilled to be partners with the City of St. Petersburg and the Rays. Pinellas County is very much looking forward to investing tourism-generated funds to bring this new stadium to our community and create another new, exciting destination within our County. Investing in projects like this new stadium has an impact throughout the entire County by creating jobs, new County sales tax, and additional hotel bed taxes. This is an unprecedented opportunity with huge economic, workforce, and quality of life potential for our residents. This is the largest economic development project in this County’s history. It goes without saying how proud we are to be a part of creating a new venue for Pinellas County families to enjoy for generations to come.”

Information above was adapted from a team press release.

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