ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s a day that has been 5 years in the making. Developers can now start submitting plans to redevelop St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field site.
The 86-acre site is in St. Pete’s up and coming Edge District, which is booming with new apartments and expanding businesses.
City leaders announced Monday that developers can start submitting plans for the 86 acre site…with and without a baseball stadium. The Tampa Bay Rays are still undecided if they’ll stay in Tampa Bay or go to Montreal or elsewhere once their contract in St. Pete ends in 2027.
“Obviously we want the team here in St. Petersburg, if it’s on that site great. If it’s in St. Pete and not on that site, that’s OK too. We’ll be prepared to address that,” Mayor Rick Kriseman explained.
City leaders hope the prime piece of land can soon be home to hundreds of affordable and market-rate apartments, a hotel, retail and office space. Kriseman would also like to see a local university add a research and innovation center at the site.
Kriseman says a developer will be tasked with honoring the tie to the African American community and history of the site. He expects to receive proposals from companies across the world…even in the middle of a pandemic.
“Companies are still very very interested in St. Petersburg. There are a lot of questions about will more people be telecommuting but on the other hand, will you need to socially distance in an office space? There was a movement toward fewer walls and more communal working. That may not be the way it is going forward. Having said that, I don’t think the interest from the development community has waned in our city," said Kriseman.
Developers have six months to submit proposals but city leaders say it could still be years before we see development.
“I would rather us take our time and get it right than to rush it and have regrets, that’s why we’ve taken the time we’ve taken thus far,” Kriseman added.
Nearby businesses are anxious to see changes on the site. Joly Nourian, an employee at Kalamazoo Olive Company, says it’s an exhilarating time.
“It’s very exciting. We’re a small business. We’ve been in St. Pete over 10 years and it’s nice to see some changes to development and exciting to see more customers and visitors coming to down to visit a new area,” she said.
Sean “Gravy” Suits, an employee at Grassroots Kava House, agrees.
“We hope that it doesn’t take as long as the pier did, but it would be great to see something else go there," Suits said.
“Sooner we can get some stuff going in, the sooner we can get more people in the area and that can only bring good things for us,” Nourian elaborated.