St. Petersburg’s Mayor Really Wants To Build A Rays’ Ballpark

Rays’ ownership might not want a St. Petersburg park.

St. Petersburg, Florida Mayor Ken Welch has issued a Request For Proposal to develop the land near the St. Petersburg baseball stadium that houses the Tampa Bay Rays. The 33-page RFP wants proposals to include equitable redevelopment, a 17.3-acre carve-out for a baseball stadium and new requirements for affordable and workforce housing. Welch canceled the previous RFP and selection issued by former Mayor Rick Kriseman in 2020. It is not unusual for that to happen. In New York, an RFP to develop a portion of the Belmont Racetrack property was rescinded and another RFP was issued. Welch’s RFP wants developers plans in by November 18th and then the selection process will start. Whether Major League Baseball and the Tampa Bay Rays’ ownership want to remain in St. Petersburg is another story. MLB and Rays’ ownership seem more interested in setting up shop somewhere in or near Tampa.

The last two sports-related RFPs were issued in Elmont, New York and in Tempe, Arizona. In July, 2017, New York State’s Empire State Development agency issued a Request For Proposals for the state-owned land and the RFP seemed to be written to suit the New York Islanders’ owners’ needs for a hockey arena at the Belmont Park site in Elmont. The Islanders arena in Elmont opened in November 2021. In 2021, elected officials in Tempe put out a Request For Proposal to develop a parcel within the city with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes ownership in mind. Tempe officials wanted a sports stadium and or an arena and a practice facility on the property. They wanted a team owner to create a stadium and or an arena village that would include 1,000 residential units, 200,000 square feet of retail space. The Arizona team ownership and Tempe are talking about building an arena-village. St. Petersburg’s RFP has been written for the Rays’ ownership.

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Rays to stay for a while. AP/PHOTO