ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The city wants to know: What should the Tropicana Field site look like -- and in what ways should it benefit the community -- in the years ahead?
A list of seven redevelopment proposals has been whittled down to four, with each reimagining the 86-acre site with green spaces, retail locations and housing. Baseball may or may not be part of future plans.
"We received many quality submissions to redevelop the Tropicana Field site, and I am thankful for the time, money, and energy that each team expended. Four submissions clearly stood out as truly exceptional and I am excited for our residents to learn more about each one," Mayor Rick Kriseman said in an earlier statement. "The future of that site, with or without baseball, has never been brighter. As I've said time and again, this is our chance to get it right, and to right wrongs.
"I encourage everyone to remain engaged in this process as we move forward."
There are a few ways to get involved. This past week, St. Petersburg has hosted a few public meetings to solicit feedback. The next is scheduled from 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at The Coliseum, located at 535 4th Ave. N. Registration is required.
Starting April 12, the city is placing "showrooms" to show off executive summaries of each of the proposals. They'll be located at the following locations:
- North Library: 861 70th Ave. N.
- Mirror Lake Library: 280 5th St. N.
- JW Cate Rec Center: 5801 22nd Ave. N.
- Enoch Davis Rec Center: 1111 18th Ave. S.
There's also an online form to submit comments.
So what are the proposals? Scroll down and click each header to see their project renderings. Consider visiting the city's website, too, to see the complete proposal information.
"Formed with the intention of serving as a model of inclusion, sustainability, and resiliency, Creekside respects the site’s history and is based upon the City’s Grow Smarter plan. It fulfills and surpasses both local and regional requirements, while benefiting residents, the business community, and visitors for the next century. Midtown Development is focused on building connectivity not only to surrounding neighborhoods, but to the heritage of the site and to nationwide movements of social, racial, and environmental justice."
"The reestablishment of a thriving community within the future development is of paramount importance to our team, and our partners have and will continue to follow the guidance of the community in bringing this project to life. Incorporating the history of the former Gas Plant District, embellishing the site with artistic vitality, implementing sustainable and wellness-focused functions, and ensuring that ample opportunity for economic inclusion of the surrounding community are all focused goals of our team as we look at the potential for this site.
"Our plan additionally works to establish the Tropicana Field site as a central hub of connectivity for the various neighborhoods surrounding it to physically and spiritually reestablish connections with the South St. Petersburg neighborhoods long shut off by physical and emotional barriers."
"Establishing authentic connections on large-scale, multi-phased projects like the Trop is critically important. We have accordingly built the Sugar Hill plan around that core value: connecting form to function, design to neighborhood character, people to nature, and users to buildings. The most significant connection, however, is to the past 130 years.
"That is how long ago the African American community first put down roots in St. Petersburg. Workers on the Orange Belt, the railroad that put the city on the map and today is marked by the Pinellas Trail, began to settle in what became Peppertown, Methodist Town, and the Gas Plant. Those neighborhoods are gone today, victims of progress in the form of freeways and the ballpark, leaving a legacy of massive displacement, loss of cultural identity, and unfulfilled promises of urban renewal."
"The Tropicana stadium promised economic growth for the surrounding neighborhoods of the Gas Plant District and South St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, that did not materialize. Instead, the stadium destroyed the character and fabric of the community by displacing many homes, businesses, and houses of worship. As one of the members in the community said recently, “your plan should honor the past, but more importantly, it needs to shine a new light that looks forward to the future”. Unicorp’s goal and promise is to do just that – bring back a community."
For years, city leaders have been imagining the 86-acre area near downtown St. Petersburg -- with or without a stadium. The Tampa Bay Rays during the spring of 2008 considered seeking voter approval to build a new stadium on the city's waterfront, but they backed out when it appeared likely the question would be defeated.
The Rays, in the years after thereafter, asked to consider other locations across Tampa Bay for a new stadium but couldn't formally start looking given its contract with the city of St. Petersburg. It wouldn't be until 2016 when the team was given permission and, in 2018, they announced the selection of a site in Ybor City.
The project, totaling near $900 million, wouldn't get off the ground. In 2019, the Rays were given permission to explore becoming a two-city team between St. Petersburg and Montreal, but the coronavirus pandemic hit and that plan was paused.
The Rays remain locked into a lease at Tropicana Field until 2027 and, until then, Kriseman has said the city will move forward with site plans with "the history of that site at the forefront." It was the historically Black Gas Plant neighborhood that was cleared to make way for Tropicana Field.
According to the development timeline, Kriseman is slated to select a development partner in May or June of this year. An agreement is between the city and developer is expected this fall.
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