ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch said his process on selecting a team to redevelop the Tropicana Field site was detailed and transparent.
During his State of the City address Monday, he said that process led him to select the Hines & Tampa Bay Rays group for the project.
What You Need To Know
- St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch selects Hines & Rays team
- As part of his State of the City, Welch highlighted affordable housing, transportation and partnerships, as well as the Trop development
- SEE the four development proposals
- BELOW: Watch the mayor's State of the City in entirety, plus the Rays and Hines response
As part of his State of the City, Welch also highlighted his administration's efforts on affordable housing, transportation and partnerships, as well as the Trop development.
But the highlight of the address was the end of the years-long search for a developer for the 86-acre Tropicana Field site and redevelopment of the historic Gas Plant District.
"Yes, in St. Petersburg, history does matter," Welch said. "Today represents the next critical phase in the process."
Each developer came with their own key focus in developing the site, but the Hines project had the partnership of the Rays going for it.
"I am confident that they are the best partner for this generational endeavor and now the next phase of our work to bring this dream to reality begins," Welch said.
“Having the Rays as a partner,” said Hines & Rays senior managing director Michael Harrison, “We view them as a critical element to maximizing the benefits to the city of this entire site.”
One of the key components to this redevelopment is building more affordable housing, outdoor space, hotel and retail and equal opportunities for minority businesses.
A closer look at the Hines plan:
5,7000 multi-family units
1.4 million sq. ft. office space
300,000 sq. ft. retail space
700 hotel rooms
600 senior living units
2,500 sq. ft.for entertainment
850 affordable housing units.
Includes baseball stadium
"One of the reasons that I selected Hines-Rays was because of their financial capability. Their track record of doing those kinds of large projects," Welch said.
"I thought the Hines-Rays proposal was more practical. That their capacity was better and it will help us to actually get the project done," Welch said.
"I am very optimistic that we'll get the term sheet done, get the use agreement done. Lock that in," he said. "The stadium concept is beautiful. It has multiple uses, it will serve the community 365 days a year. I'm really excited about it."
Rays President Brian Auld said Monday's announcement was just a beginning and that much more remains to be done.
Asked about cutting off ties with Tampa/Hillsborough about a new Ybor stadium, he said unitl the Trop deal is finalized they're going to keep dialogue open across the Bay. He said Monday's move was a big step forward in keeping the team in St. Pete.
"Up until that shovel's in the ground, it's important that we continue to have dialogue about preserving the Rays in Tampa Bay for generations to come," Auld said. "And all of the different ways that could happen."
"But I don't want to underestimate what a big step was taken forward today here in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County."
The next steps include Council approval, a financing plan for the park and county support on that front.
WATCH: Mayor Ken Welch's State of the City speech
WATCH: Representatives from Rays, Hines statement