The Rays will play a major hand in the redevelopment of Tropicana Field.
St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch selected Hines & Tampa Bay Rays to transform what was once the Gas Plant District — a thriving Black neighborhood — at yesterday’s State of the City address. Welch said that team’s proposal was one of two robust options, out of the four plans submitted last year.
The mayor, a former Gas Plant resident, issued a new request for proposals after taking office last year to address the need for jobs, housing, and other community components. Over the past year, the city has held community conversations to discuss hopes for the site’s redevelopment and met with organizations and leaders across St. Pete, Welch said.
“It’s also an opportunity to fulfill the promise and our obligation to ensure that the economic development that is created from this generational project is rooted in intentional equity, shared opportunities for progress, and meaningful inclusion of the African American community,” he said.
The winning proposal includes a state-of -the-art ballpark, 6,328 multi-family housing units (1,459 will be reserved for affordable housing), a new home for the Woodson African American Museum, hotels, conference space, an African American Cultural Heritage loop, potential daycare/early learning space, 1.4 million sqft of office space, 30,000 sqft of retail space, and more.
“I am fully confident that this decision is the best path forward for our city,” Welch said.
But the long-awaited decision is just the first step in a massive transformation. Welch noted that the “project will last over a decade, and span multiple administrations.”
The Rays’ lease on the ballpark ends in 2027. Now, Hines & Rays and the city will work to finalize the agreement, which will be presented to City Council for a vote in September or October, according to the city.