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Ybor City back in play for Rays future plans

Posted at 6:25 PM, Feb 11, 2020

Ybor City has been here before.

Two years ago, the Rays announced plans for a near-billion dollar stadium off Adamo Drive, but it never came close to happening.

“I think everyone’s expectations now are a little more measured," said Ybor City Chamber of Commerce Director Travis Horn.

Horn says Ybor’s business community had high hopes the last time around.

FULL CIRCLE: The uncertain future of the Tampa Bay Rays

“Certainly, I think there was a spike in real estate during that period and there’s been relative interest continuing on. But I think that’s all part of the fact that Ybor is experiencing a renaissance anyway," said Horn.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan met with Rays owner Stu Sternberg Monday to talk about bringing the team to Tampa as part of the city-sharing deal with Montreal.

Hagan says the Rays want an agreement by the end of the year.

“It’s an ambitious timeline but I’m encouraged by it after working on this for over 10 years now. I welcome this pace and this sense of urgency,” he said.

No specifics have been released yet on financing for a new ballpark.

Previous Coverage: Rays meet with Tampa officials, team doubles down on Tampa Bay-Montreal sister city concept

Hagan says the plan could also include the Rowdies and Spring Training and would still be primarily paid for by private money.

“That’s why we believe that Ybor City still offers the best opportunity for the team to stay here," said Hagan.

“We’d love to see them here. We’ve rolled out the welcome mat and we will continue to roll it out for them," said Horn.

The Rays are tied to Tropicana Field through 2027.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman had no comment on these latest talks.