St. Pete mayor’s plan for new stadium on Trop site makes no damn sense, but that’s not stopping him

With St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman meeting with Tampa Bay Rays execs today to present the city council’s latest no-relocation-out-of-city-limits lease clause buyout proposal, Noah Pransky of WTSP-TV and the Shadow of the Stadium blog has analysis up of a lesser-discussed issue: Kriseman’s proposal to build a new stadium on the Tropicana Field site:

Kriseman has been steadfast in his city’s ability to put together the best package for a new stadium right on the current Tropicana Field site.

But even if St. Pete redevelops the Trop into a 15-acre stadium with 70 acres of residential, retail, and commercial space, it’s not quite sure where the funding would come from.  Did Kriseman support new city taxes going toward a new stadium when taxpayers have already paid for another decade’s worth of baseball in St. Pete?

The mayor said it wouldn’t have to be “new” taxes since bed taxes and private money from redeveloping the Trop could be enough.   But that’s quite a tall task…and some serious speculation.

Pransky goes on to calculate that even if St. Pete got access to all of the county’s tourist tax money for a new stadium, and the Rays kicked in $150-200 million, that would still leave around $100 million in funding still to be found in city coffers. And, of course, there’s also the issue that most people feel that the problem with the Trop (among those who think the problem is the Trop) is that it’s on the wrong side of the bay, which is the whole reason the Rays are seeking this lease buyout offer. But I suppose if you’re mayor of St. Pete, you need to have a plan for a stadium in St. Pete, even if you’re in the middle of talks about how to let the Rays out of St. Pete, and St. Pete would arguably do better letting a new Rays stadium be somebody else’s problem and just redeveloping the Trop land without a stadium, and … you know what, I don’t know why Kriseman is bothering, but I guess we’ve now mentioned his name four times in this one item, so maybe he’s just trying to boost his PageRank.

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3 comments on “St. Pete mayor’s plan for new stadium on Trop site makes no damn sense, but that’s not stopping him

  1. Rick is, in the words of Tom Haverford, Crarazy!

    The Tampa Bay area would not even be discussing a stadium until about 2020 (5-7 years before end of lease) if the Trop was down by Amalie Arena. Is it the prettiest building? No? But the dome makes sure games are played and it has suites and some clubs. By far it’s biggest problem is location.

  2. @Jim – Actually based on the age of the Trop, this would be the perfect time to discuss a new stadium in a new city or location in the city, even if it was in the most super awesome optimal location. It’s how the game is played.

    The only complicating factor is that the Rays signed a pretty ironclad lease item that they couldn’t move and couldn’t even directly talk to someone else. That is what is complicating their actions.

  3. If everything was the same except the dome being located in downtown Tampa with Tampa as the landlord, I don’t think the Rays would be working quite so hard to get out of the lease this far before the end. While the Trop is showing its age, I think the location issue is a much bigger deal.

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