ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has selected a developer for the Tropicana Field site after a six-year process.
Miami-based Midtown Development was chosen among seven proposals submitted. The new development is referred to as St. Petersburg Creekside. The proposal requires the least public money of all the plans considered.
Midtown wants the 84-acre Tropicana Field site to include a hotel, conference center, between 6,000 and 8,000 homes (1,000-1,600 would be affordable workforce housing), retail, office space, and parks and greenspace. One plan would include an MLB stadium, and the other would not.
“I think there’s a real opportunity here now that we have a developer selected for us to be able to bring the Rays in and really talk some serious numbers with the team," Mayor Kriseman said.
Several community members told ABC Action News they support the proposal and hope the redevelopment will honor the history of the site where an entire African- American community was displaced to make way for a baseball stadium.
“So many businesses, so many churches, so many schools, so many families. The history is so rich and for someone to recognize that in 2021 and talk about redevelopment of an area but valuing and wanting to preserve and tell those stories, that is very important,” said St. Pete resident Gwendolyn Reese.
Mayor Kriseman made the decision with only about a month left in office. Come January, the city will have a new mayor and 3 new city council members.
"I was shocked, surprised, baffled. The mayor says he wants the community’s buy-in and support, then blindsided us with a decision 34 days before leaving office," said fourth-generation St. Petersburg native Corey Givens Jr.
Incoming mayor Ken Welch issued a statement saying: “Mayor Kriseman has worked hard to develop thoughtful and promising plans for the future of the Tropicana Field site. As mayor, I plan to put the same amount of effort in evaluating those plans as well as new ideas moving forward with a vision that capitalizes on St. Petersburg’s incredible momentum and reconnects our community.”
Although a new developer has been named, Kriseman estimated it could still be a full year before the city council ends up considering the development because of details that still need to be worked out.
Midtown’s plan will cost an estimated $2.7 to $3.8 billion dollars.
Givens Jr. hopes incoming city leaders will give the community a voice in the pivotal project.
"Being someone who descends from residents of the Gas Plant District and someone who was buried in the old St. Petersburg Cemetary, it’s important we make sure we honor the history of this site. This is sacred land," he said.
The proposal from Midtown Development states: "The redevelopment of the Tropicana site will be a place designed to connect to surrounding neighborhoods, to connect the past heritage of this site to the future endeavors of the community and to connect to a nationwide movement of Social, Racial and Environmental Justice that will define the future of St. Petersburg for the next Century.
Kriseman added that in his opinion, Midtown had the best proposal, the resources to get it done, and were undaunted by the city's guiding principles. He said the developer would honor the site's history and provide real opportunity.
"Our Creekside proposal is defined by two intersecting green bands; the rebuilding of Booker Creek into a verdant natural environment and social destination and The Greenway, a continuous series of parks and open spaces that tumble diagonally across the site connecting to all of the surrounding neighborhoods," Midtown says.
To see the full Midtown Development proposal including plans and renderings, click here.
Mayor Kriseman said he would not increase taxes or use general revenue dollars to build the Rays a new stadium for the split season plan the Tampa Bay Rays want to move forward with.
However, the developer has plans for the site with or without the Rays. The Rays' lease at Tropicana Field lasts through 2027.
ABC Action News reached out to Rays team leaders regarding the selection of the new development team, but we have yet to hear back.