The selection process for Tropicana Field will now be back in the hands of residents to help decide.

What You Need To Know

St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch made the announcement Wednesday, tossing out previously discussed plans they had before for the site, and starting fresh – kind of.

The surprise announcement shocked a number of people at the morning news conference, including the top two developers: Midtown Development and Sugar Hill Community Partners.

Spectrum Bay News 9’s Saundra Weathers spoke with one of the architects from one of those development firms, and he said they didn’t know what today’s announcement would entail, but that the new things the mayor is asking for is no surprise.

Welch said the plans they have on the table right now don’t meet the needs of the city today.

So he’s proposing a new plan that’s expected to include input from the Tampa Bay Rays and that could be a decider for their future on this side of the Bay.

The mayor said the pandemic revealed a number of things including the not-so important need for office space and a dire need for affordable housing. 

Equity was huge in the announcement Wednesday.

The area where the Trop is located was once home to the African-American community known as the Gas Plant neighborhood. It’s where the mayor’s own family is from. 

The mayor says the proposals heard two and a half years ago need refreshing - not a total restart.


“I believe we need a new RFP (request for proposal). This new RFP process will build on the current RFP, work on an expedited timeline and better reflect our current vision, relationships and environment,” Welch said. “Importantly this new RFP will guide us to certainty on the stadium issue and will give the Rays an opportunity to be a full partner in the process and give our community another opportunity to weigh in on our path forward.”

Representatives from the Tampa Bay Rays attend the mayor’s press conference:

“We appreciate Mayor Welch’s leadership and the process he has outlined," said Rays President Brian Auld. "We are eager to continue discussions with Mayor Welch, City Council and the Pinellas County Commission to determine whether our future home will be on this site.”​

As for the Trop site going forward, the mayor says the new RFP is expected in August and by the end of the year we should know which firm is selected and if the Tampa Bay Rays will stay in St. Petersburg.


Sugar Hill Community Partners said: "We appreciate Mayor Welch’s thoughtful approach to the Tropicana Field redevelopment and respect his decision to continue the evaluation process.

We have worked tirelessly since fall 2020 to develop, expand, and refine our community-driven vision for the Tropicana site: an inclusive, sustainable neighborhood that is a catalyst for job creation and economic growth. 

We continue to be inspired by the hundreds of residents, including community, business, and faith leaders, that we have been privileged to engage and work with throughout this process.  We are inspired by their commitment to St. Petersburg and to making the city the very best version of itself.

We look forward to continuing that effort as we move to the next phase of the selection process.

With respect to the Rays, Sugar Hill Community Partners has deep experience developing stadium and stadium-anchored districts. We accordingly welcome the opportunity to work with Mayor Welch and the Rays to fully assess opportunities for a new ballpark at the Trop and to ensure that the project creates maximum value for St. Petersburg."

Midtown Development said: “Midtown Development has been honored to spend the last few years working with our partners in the City of St. Petersburg on the Tropicana Field RFP.  We have made many friends in the St. Petersburg Community, including Watson Haynes of the Pinellas County Urban League.  We are truly grateful for their friendship.  We wish Mayor Ken Welch and the residents of the City of St. Petersburg all the best in their future efforts to redevelop Tropicana Field.”