Tampa Bay Rays Announce New Stadium Deal
Renderings courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays
After years of potential stadium deals falling through and the constant threat of relocation, the Tampa Bay Rays announced this month a brand new stadium agreement to remain in St. Petersburg, FL.
“This will be a transformative project for the Rays, St. Petersburg, and Pinellas County," said Tampa Bay Rays Principal Owner Stu Sternberg. "We have proudly served as Tampa Bay’s Major League team for 25 years, and we are thrilled to be in a position to do so for decades and generations to come.”
To be located adjacent to the current Tropicana Field property, the new facility will feature a state-of-the-art 30,000-seat indoor baseball stadium. In addition, the new development will include 8 million square feet of mixed-use development, including dining, shopping, public green space, and residential space.
“Our transformational development of 86 acres in the heart of St. Petersburg will benefit St. Pete and Tampa Bay residents for generations to come," said St. Petersburg Mayor Kenneth T. Welch. "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."
The announcement of the new stadium deal draws to a close nearly a decade of relocation rumors and failed stadium proposals. With cities like Orlando courting the Rays to relocate, many thought that if a deal could not be reached, the team would likely leave, much like the Oakland Athletics had announced at the start of the year. The current home of the Rays, Tropicana Park, has routinely been rated one of the worst stadiums in the league and frequently ranked low on the average attendance list for MLB.
Part of the proposal includes integrating the nearby community into the property, located in the historic Gas Plant neighborhood of St. Petersburg. The stadium project is reported to invest more than $6.5 billion in St. Petersburg over 20 years, making it the largest mixed-use development project in Tampa Bay history.