ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The mayors of both Tampa and St. Petersburg say they want the Rays on their side of the bridge.
But no matter what the team decides, officials with the city of St. Pete say they are moving forward with plans to redevelop the Historic Gas Plant District, where Tropicana Field currently sits.
On Wednesday night, residents have the chance to hear about the four proposals for the site redevelopment.
The community presentation will be held at The Coliseum, located at 535 4th Ave. N in St. Petersburg.
The presentation is slated to begin at 6 p.m. and doors open to the public at 5:30 p.m. The firms associated with each of the four proposals will be presenting their plans and community members will have the chance to provide feedback.
Anyone planning to attend in person is asked to register online ahead of the meeting.
Those wishing to attend virtually on Zoom also need to register beforehand.
The four firms in consideration are 50 Plus 1 Sports, Hines & Tampa Bay Rays, Restoration Associates, and Sugar Hill Community Partners.
While the proposals from each of the developers look a little bit different, per Mayor Ken Welch’s request, they all include a spot for a new ballpark.
Welch has made it clear in the past that he wants to fulfill promises made to residents of the 86-acre Historic Gas Plant District site who were displaced when Major League Baseball first came to St. Pete nearly 40 years ago.
“When you look at the history of the Historic Gas Plant District, that was there and the promises that were made and our needs in our city going forward for the next 40-50 years for affordable housing, for strong transportation, for baseball if they’re a part of that … all of that can be impacted substantially by the 86-acres so its vitally important,” Welch said.
Welch said a developer is expected to be chosen by the end of January.
A crowd packed The Coliseum Wednesday night to learn more about the proposals.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for redevelopment and affordable housing in this community,” said James Dates, chair of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.
“I think all of these proposals, in one way or another, pay homage to trying to reclaim and do restoration to a really vital part of this community,” said St. Pete resident Andy Snyder.
While the specifics of each plan differed, they all included plans for affordable housing, paying homage to the Gas Plant District’s history, and space for a new stadium for the Rays.
“The Rays are going to be on this site, once we get a shovel in the ground, for 30 years, and we know that,” said Rays President Brian Auld. “So, we are extra incentivized to make sure that the project gets completed, gets completed on time and on budget.”
Auld said the Rays worked “hand in glove” with Hines on its proposal and that the team has a proven track record of executing projects of this size and scope.
“To be very clear, this is going to be incredibly complicated and complex. It’s going to require a lot of coordination. So, we’re eager to get after it,” said Auld.