ST. PETERSBURG - A private real estate developer in St. Petersburg believes he has a solution that will keep the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg and the city council agreed to hear what he has to say.
The developer, Darryl LeClair, wants to squeeze a new stadium into about 12 acres of vacant property in the Carillon Business Park, just west of the Howard Franklin.
LeClair is said to have been working on the plans for more than a year.
On Thursday, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster admitted that the developer approached him about a year ago with the idea but didn't lay out specifics. He said on Wednesday, he received a formal letter from LeClair asking for the opportunity to present his plans to the city council.
LeClair invested his own money on transportation studies and the plans.
Several council members voiced their disappointment on Thursday for being kept in the dark on this divisive issue.
"It is a shame that it took two counties, Hillsborough and Pinellas to really force the discussion on the issue of this subject and that's why we're discussing it today," said Council Chair Leslie Curran.
Aside from the frustration, the board seemed eager to hear a presentation from LeClair.
"This is an exciting offer and I believe that within the right parameters, we should at some point accept that offer and look at some plans," said Mayor Foster.
The next step is to listen to the presentation and at some point speak to the rays.
Some council members want to get the ball rolling now.
"We have got to do something soon. Time is not our friend in this situation," said Councilman Wengay Newton, Sr. "The wolves are circling."
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