ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WTSP) – The fight to keep the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg will get an in-depth look from city council on Thursday when a team of consultants presents three sets of master plans outlining ways the city can redevelop the 86-acre site containing Tropicana Field and the area nearby.
"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our city,” said St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin. “It's really transformational to have 85 contiguous acres of publicly-owned land available in this proximity to a bustling downtown.”
St. Petersburg planning and economic development director Dave Goodwin said the land will be redeveloped whether or not the Rays decide to stay in the city, although the hope is the team will choose to remain on the current site when it builds a new stadium.
"The opportunity is monumental for our city,” said Tomalin. “Without question, the best future for our city, the best future for the Rays is to see a new stadium built there, completely reimagined."
The stadium itself is expected to only take up about 15 acres of land; the rest of the property could turn into a mixed-use community, with possible room for housing, retail, businesses, entertainment and more.
Mayor Rick Kriseman on Thursday said the plans council will review are not final; there will still be opportunity for fine-tuning before the city makes its pitch to the Rays.
The next meeting regarding this project will happen Monday at 8:30 p.m. at city hall.