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See how these development firms hope to reimagine the Tropicana Field site

Exterior of Tropicana Field
Daylina Miller
/
WUSF Public Media
Four firms have submitted proposals to redevelop the Historic Gas Plant District and Tropicana Field.

Here are the details from the four firms that have submitted plans to redevelop the Historic Gas Plant District.

Now that the plans have been submitted, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch will choose among four development firms that hope to redevelop the Historic Gas Plant District and the site of Tropicana Field.

In June, Welch announced he was starting over with the process of redeveloping the site after he canceled the original "requests for proposal" that previous mayor Rick Kriseman established in 2020.

TIMELINE: Tropicana Field and the Rays' future in Tampa Bay

Welch announced he had approved bids by four firms — 50 Plus 1 Sports, Hines and the Tampa Bay Rays, Restoration Associates, and Sugar Hill Community Partners — on Dec. 2, the deadline he established to receive proposals.

"We will review the proposers' plans with a keen eye on their interpretation of affordable and workforce housing; office and meeting space; arts and culture; research, innovation, and education; recreation; open space, healthy and sustainable development; and intentional equity," Welch said in a Dec. 2 news release. "We look forward to engaging the community as we determine the future of this historically and economically vital part of St. Petersburg, and the Tampa Bay Region."

Each of the bids addresses those needs, as well as building a new stadium for the Rays — whose Tropicana Field lease with the city ends at 2027.

The public can weigh in on the proposals during a community presentation Jan. 4 at the Coliseum. Welch is expected to make his decision later in the month, with the development agreement presented to the St. Petersburg City Council for approval in September or October 2023.

Among the more notable names involved in the proposals are Tampa health care professional and hotel owner Dr. Kiran Patel, who is one of the investors involved with Restoration Associates' bid, and former Sacramento Mayor and NBA great Kevin Johnson, who is a member of the Sugar Hill Community Partners team.

Here are the details on the plans each developer submitted, and photos of how they hope to transform the Historic Gas Plant District:


50 Plus 1 Sports

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • It envisions "an intensive, sustainable, vibrant, urban, mixed-use and mixed-income community that creates a unique experience and strong sense of place for all people."
  • It includes an open-air stadium, along with restaurants, an entertainment district and a shopping district.
  • It includes a plan for 52-acre parcels of mixed-use programs, including residential, retail, hotels, offices, cultural and recreational public spaces, and infrastructure upgrades.
  • 50% of the development, technology, design, financing, construction, operational and other professionals involved in the project be made up of minorities, women, veterans and other disadvantaged groups preferably from the St. Petersburg area.
  • The project will take on a Florida nautical theme, including a canopy above retail and museum buildings that will replicate a ray's wings.
  • A colonnade around the stadium will mimic older traditional baseball stadiums.
  • A street grid will be created that connects the Historic Gas Plant District to adjoining neighborhoods.

50 Plus 1 Sport: Read the proposal and see the renderings


Hines & Tampa Bay Rays

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • It would include more than 5,700 multifamily units — including 23% dedicated to affordable housing — along with senior living residences, retail space, hotels, and an entertainment venue.
  • It aims to create a "connected, inclusive, and highly activated gathering destination for St. Petersburg" and highlight the district's history through an African American Cultural Heritage park system and outdoor event space.
  • Public art and community events will celebrate the area's rich history.
  • It would build a "a state of the art, community-centric, engaging ballpark" that would be "a magnet for economic development in St. Petersburg and a premier center for sports, science, health, and innovation." Renderings indicate it would be a domed stadium.

Hines & Tampa Bay Rays: Read the proposal and see the renderings


Restoration Associates

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • An intermodal center that will encourage more auto-free walkable areas.
  • A retractable dome stadium at a cost of $1.5 billion, with improvements made to Tropicana Field "on a needed basis" — including opening the façade to allow for more natural light — in order to extend the Rays' lease.
  • Creation of a Memorial Gas Plant District Park around Tropicana Field.
  • 1,000 affordable housing, and other fixed-income units.
  • A convention center and two hotel towers.
  • An African-American history museum and Gas Plant memorial park.
  • A high-tech research and development park.

Restoration Associates: Read the proposal and see the renderings


Sugar Hill Community Partners

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • If selected, Sugar Hill will "initiate project planning meetings with the Rays and the stadium design and development team immediately following selection." It envisions a dual-use stadium for the Rays and Tampa Bay Rowdies, "thus freeing up Al Lang Stadium to be repurposed or otherwise redeveloped for public use."
  • Plans include a new African-American museum to celebrate the area's heritage.
  • It plans tree canopies that will create an "easy and comfortable" pedestrian experience.
  • A Trailhead would "celebrate St. Pete’s biking culture" and will be "a place for gathering, staging, and refreshing."
  • It would include a "new, 21st century workspace" that will contain residential, retail, and hospitality spaces along with parks and public spaces.

Sugar Hill Community Partner: Read the proposal and see the renderings

I wasn't always a morning person. After spending years as a nighttime sports copy editor and page designer, I made the move to digital editing in 2000. Turns out, it was one of the best moves I've ever made.