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Kriseman chooses Midtown Development to reimagine the Tropicana Field site

Rick Kriseman speaking at the podium
Bailey LeFever
WUSF Public Media
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announces Midtown Development as the company that will redevelop Tropicana Field during a news conference at Campbell Park on Dec. 2, 2021.

Outgoing St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen a Miami firm as his choice to lead the redevelopment for the Tropicana Field site. But the future of the Tampa Bay Rays there is still in doubt.

In one of his final acts before leaving office, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman chose Midtown Development of Miami as his choice to redevelop the 86-acre Tropicana Field site.

It now goes for approval before the city council — which will have three new members — and a new mayor, Ken Welch.

Kriseman made the announcement in Campbell Park, in the shadow of Tropicana Field. He said the developers pledged to reconnect south St. Petersburg to the site, which was built 40 years ago over a bulldozed Black neighborhood.

Renderings: Tropicana Field Redevelopment
Courtesy: City of St. Petersburg
Midtown Development has been chosen to redevelop the Tropicana Field site. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman’s recommendation now goes to the city council for final approval.

"They understand — and this is most important to me — that the site behind me must connect to where we are standing today, in south St. Petersburg," he said. "And that connection must be physical, emotional and economical."

"That future," Kriseman continued, "includes a development that provides jobs, mixed-income housing, office space, entertainment, an emphasis on the creek, the natural environment and the Pinellas Trail."

Rendering of the Midtown Development with a stadium
City of St. Petersburg
Here is an aerial rendering of the Midtown Development plan that includes a stadium.

Kriseman's announcement comes nearly eight months after the public was allowed to provide input into the four finalists, and after Kriseman narrowed the field to two in May.

The proposal includes space for a potential new stadium for the Rays, but Kriseman reiterated his belief that public dollars should not help to build a new stadium for a team that wants to play half its games in Montreal.

Still, he remains hopeful about keeping the team in town — preferably full-time.

Here is a rendering of park space as proposed by Midtown Development for the Tropicana Field site.
City of St. Petersburg
Here is a rendering of park space as proposed by Midtown Development for the Tropicana Field site.

"We now have a developer selected. For us to be able to bring the Rays in and really talk some serious numbers with the team — know who that developer is, I think actually helps make it easier if we're going to put a deal together to do so," Kriseman said. "So I continue to be optimistic about that."

Welch issued a statement Thursday praising the announcement.

"Mayor Kriseman has worked hard to develop thoughtful and promising plans for the future of the Tropicana Field site," Welch said. "As mayor, I plan to put the same amount of effort in evaluating those plans as well as new ideas and moving forward with a version that capitalizes on St. Petersburg's incredible momentum and reconnects our community."

The Rays haven’t decided where they will play when their lease on the Trop ends in 2027, but team president Brian Auld detailed the team's plan to split its season between Tampa Bay and Montreal during a discussion in October.

Rendering of Creekside Banyan Village
City of St. Petersburg
Here is a rendering of Creekside Banyan Village as proposed by Midtown Development for the Tropicana Field site.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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