A Grand Slam for St. Pete: Why the Tampa Bay Rays’ New Stadium and Gas Plant District Redevelopment Is A Win for the Entire Community
The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce enthusiastically supports the Tampa Bay Rays' plans to build a new stadium and, in partnership with Hines, redevelop the Historic Gas Plant District.
This initiative will not only be a catalyst for economic growth and community development, but will increase prosperity for all of Pinellas County.
There are several points that need to be dispelled regarding this monumental project. The Hines/Rays team, the City of St. Petersburg team, as well as local business leaders have collaborated on the following responses to each point, and here's what we've learned:
“If the City is contributing so much, the team should be called the St. Petersburg Rays.”
- The goal is to let all of baseball and all the country know that the Rays continue to be Tampa Bay’s team. Our entire region is connected as an economic driver, and it is crucial that Major League Baseball knows that we continue to be a regional entity. This is the 11th largest television market in the nation, and the sports franchises including the Tampa Bay Bucs, Tampa Bay Lighting and Tampa Bay Rays need to draw fans from throughout the region to be successful.
“The Rays aren’t paying enough for the land.”
- The City of St. Petersburgs’s independent consultant found that the Rays/Hines net benefit is 72% higher than the other finalist’s and that its city funding request was 76 percent lower. Trying to evaluate this parcel of land without considering all the constraints put on it doesn’t entirely make sense. The constraints include affordable housing, office space, parking, infrastructure and more. The market dictates value of something based on all of the requirements, and the Rays/Hines offer is by far the highest offer. If the agreement is not approved, the city will wind up with an empty, obsolete stdium, no MLB team and 86 acres that do not generate a dollar in property taxes.
“The City and the Rays aren’t being truthful about the process.”
- All communication throughout this deal has been and will continue to be public record. The Rays are going to contribute $700 million. Just as in any other large purchase by a consumer or company, they will have to finance that, and it will ultimately cost more than that over the course of the loan.
“The City is going to be on the hook for unlimited costs.”
- Mayor Ken Welch has said there will be no property tax increases or new taxes required for the city to pay its share of costs for the stadium or development. The present value issue is complicated, the easiest way to comprehend is in today’s dollars. The Rays are ultimately responsible for any dollar that goes over the stadium budget. The Rays/Hines team are also responsible for any extra dollar required for the infrastructure of the Historic Gas Plant District redevelopment. Those pieces are set in stone, the Rays are committed to them and will make them work.
“Our city is better off doing something else with this property.”
- One of the reasons the Ray’s chose to partner with Hines because of their strong track record of developing large projects around the nation and the world. Hines chose to partner with the Ray’s because the Ray’s are an anchor tenant that draws millions of people a year; having an anchor will likely increase the value and probability of success of the project. Hines is a Texas-based development company with a strong track record of developing large projects around the nation and the world. Hines did not answer an earlier request for proposals for the site by a previous mayor because the Rays were not involved. All parties understand that with programming 365 days a year, there is a greater chance to add more density on every other parcel surrounding the stadium.
- Everyone can have a different idea for what will be successful in this space, but we have to be realistic to what we can all agree upon and how our government works. Even if individuals have issues with section of the plan, the alternative is not whatever one person thinks is perfect. The alternative is what else can our community come together around and agree upon. It’s something we all must work together and acknowledge is crucial for our success as a city moving forward.
Next Steps & Ways to Take Action
Next steps in the approval process:
- City Council to vote on stadium funding in May 2024
Ways YOU can show support and take action:
- Attend a City Council meeting and speak during open forum
- Send a letter of support to City Council – email@example.com (Administrative Officer)
“By embracing this opportunity, we are not just building a stadium; we are building a stronger, more vibrant St. Petersburg for generations to come.”
St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce