Anticipation builds for Tropicana Field redevelopment announcement

Anticipation builds for Tropicana Field redevelopment announcement

2023-01-17T12:58:10-05:00January 17th, 2023|Commercial Construction, Economy, Sports, Tampa Bay|

Writer: Joshua Andino

2 min read   January 2023 — The momentum behind keeping the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg is growing, with Mayor Ken Welch set to announce the selected redevelopment plan for the Historic Gas Plant district, the home to Tropicana Field, at the end of the month.

The announcement would mark an end to a process that began with the city issuing an RFP in August of last year for the 89-acre area, inviting development teams that could operate on a high level with municipal experience. The solicitation period ended in December 2022, with the city having received four proposals from 50 Plus 1 Sports, Hines & Tampa Bay Rays, Restoration Associates and Sugar Hill Community Partners. 

READ MORE: Tampa Bay firing on all cylinders

Endorsements for the Hines and Tampa Bay Rays proposal, along with Sugar Hill Community Partners, have since been forthcoming from local community stakeholders. The St. Pete Chamber has thrown its endorsement behind the Hines and Rays proposal, while the St. Pete Downtown Alliance released a set of recommendations to consider when selecting who will pursue the development, centered around the area’s unique history, historic Black roots, and the prioritization of a major league baseball stadium as key concerns. The recommendation emphasizes execution as the most important factor. “Ultimately, we think the most critical decision point must be the likelihood that the team can deliver on the commitments that have been made. This will require financial acumen, a proven history of executing a multibillion-dollar development and a sophisticated approach to housing that maximizes the potential for success,” according to the Partnership.

Another group of local Black pastors held a press conference endorsing the Sugar Hill plan last year in May, and in December penned a letter to Mayor Welch endorsing the plan, reported the Tampa Bay Times.

The letter, signed by Pastors Brian Brown, Basha P. Jordan Jr., Frank Peterman, Clarence Williams, Louis Murphy, Bishop Manuel L. Sykes, and the Sr. Rev. Wayne G. Thompson stated, “Their commitment is unmatched. The benefit to our community is without equal. The opportunity for inclusion in the development and long-term job creation from entry level upwards, undergirds our decision to support Sugar Hill as the right choice.” 

St. Pete officials have already vetted the four plans, noting the Hines and Rays plan to be the most comprehensive with the most experienced team, while the Sugar Hill plan also lauded for its offer to reconnect the grid to the Gas Plant District and its commitment to affordable housing and employing minority-owned businesses. 50 Plus 1 Sports was lacking in details, while Restoration Associates was lauded for being locally led, but seemed to lack sufficient experience on projects of this scale. 

In a statement to the Times, local attorney and former college baseball player Robert Heyman wrote, “It appears to be the most professional and considered plan that combines the type of urban development the city needs and provides the facilities and housing needs that the former residents and children of the Gas Plant neighborhood deserve,” Heyman said.

Mayor Welch is expected to announce the decision during his State of the City address, outlining his first year in office and his selection of which Tropicana Redevelopment plan the city will move forward with. The announcement coincides with the city’s timeline, and will begin at 11am that day, on the steps of St. Pete’s City Hall.

For more information, visit: