St. Petersburg celebrates receiving four redevelopment proposals for the equitable revitalization of 86-acre failed stadium site

Long-time REVITALIZATION readers know that we’ve been tracking the progress of St. Petersburg, Florida‘s efforts to revitalize the 86-acre Historic Gas Plant property adjacent to the downtown.

The property is primarily known as the site of the defunct sports stadium, Tropicana Field, one of many of failed sports facilities across American that used large sums of taxpayer money to subsidize a for-profit business and provide tax breaks for billionaires. The stadium project also destroyed an existing neighborhood and displaced low-income residents.

Photo courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg.

Nearly forty years ago, residents of the Historic Gas Plant community were displaced by the construction of this Major League Baseball facility.

While the move attracted the Tampa Bay Rays (then known as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays), residents and businesses were forced to relocate with the promise of jobs, opportunity and equitable economic development that never materialized.

We’ve also published the previous requests for proposals (RFP) that sought developers to bring the property back to life in a way that truly benefits the community (for a change).

The most recent RFP process offers the opportunity to fulfill those unrealized promises and bring to St. Petersburg new attainable housing, equitable business opportunities, office space, meeting space, open space and overall equitable and impactful economic redevelopment that benefits all.

So, it was good news when—on December 2, 2022—the City of St. Petersburg announced that it had received four proposals in response to the Historic Gas Plant District Request for Proposals (RFP).

50 Plus 1 Sports, Hines & Tampa Bay Rays, Restoration Associates, and Sugar Hill Community Partners all submitted proposals for the redevelopment of the portion of the Historic Gas Plant District currently home to Tropicana Field, and affiliated parking totaling approximately 86 acres. All proposers met the 10:00 a.m. deadline of Friday, December 2.

We commend 50 Plus 1 Sports, Hines & Tampa Bay Rays, Restoration Associates, and Sugar Hill Community Partners for their diligent efforts to submit proposals that will fuel inclusive progress and equitable development for future generations who will live, visit and do business in our city,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Kenneth T. Welch.

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. 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,” he added.

The RFP, which was issued on August 26, called for additional emphasis on equitable redevelopment, a 17.3-acre carve out for a baseball stadium, specific requirements for affordable and workforce housing and new details that respond to current economic and societal conditions and community sentiment.

All proposals will be posted on the City’s website after an expeditious review by City staff to ensure that each proposal is ADA compliant.

The selection process will also include a Community Presentation on January 4, 2023, at the Coliseum.

There, the public will be invited to hear each proposer provide an overview of their respective plans.

A final decision will be announced by Mayor Welch at his first State of the City address slated for the end of January 2023.

Featured rendering is from the Hines & Tampa Bay Rays proposal.

See all four redevelopment proposals.

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