Last Friday was the deadline for developers to submit plans to St. Petersburg for ways to redevelop the site of Tropicana Field if and when the Tampa Bay Rays depart, and there’s lots of interest, with eight different developers submitting plans (which aren’t being made public just yet). But Mayor Rick Kriseman is already saying that Rays owner Stuart Sternberg is threatening to undermine the entire project by demanding a bigger cut of revenues for himself:
“I want the Rays to remain in St. Petersburg and I’m willing to work with them to make it happen,” Kriseman told the Tampa Bay Times. “But I’m not giving the city away.”…
“Right now, they’re entitled to 50 percent of the proceeds and that’s with a full-time team in the city,” Kriseman said. “And they’re proposing to take 100 percent of the proceeds for a large part of that land, and 50 percent for the rest of it. And that’s for a part-time team.
At stake here is the Rays’ use agreement with the city, which guarantees the team half of all development fees if the site is redeveloped before the agreement expires in 2028. Sternberg, apparently trying to use the city’s hunger to development site and fatigue over the team’s never-ending stadium saga as leverage, has according to the mayor demanded 50 acres of land all for his own self, which would provide room for both a new stadium and a park and 25 acres of other development, the proceeds from which would help defray stadium costs.
In other words, this is very much the Los Angeles Angels model of “don’t give us cash, just give us land” model, except that Sternberg would almost certainly demand cash as well. Also he would be demanding cash and free land in exchange for a part-time team, since he’s still holding to that insane Tampontreal Ex-Rays split-city plan.
Kriseman said all this right in front of Sternberg, who was at the press conference and immediately retorted that just because he asked for something doesn’t mean he was demanding it:
Sternberg said the “proposal was just that: A proposal. We thought it would be a beginning point to get things moving along. We’ll leave it to private discussions and we look forward to being here for generations to come.”
“Here” at least part of the time, anyway. This seems like an easy one for Kriseman to say hell nah to — at worst, Sternberg doesn’t agree and the city has to wait seven whole years to redevelop the Trop site — but clearly he’s listening, so everyone keep a close eye on those “private discussions.”