The St. Petersburg City Council is slated to discuss a pair of new stadium proposals up for consideration. Both proposals ― which have lovingly been referred to as the Gerdes plan and the Kennedy plan by Noah Pransky (Shadow of the Stadium) ― would allow the Rays to explore new stadium sites regionally, both in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.
Starting with the Gerdes plan (which can be read here), the Rays would be required to pay a fee of $1.4M per year from the time they decide to build a new stadium outside St. Petersburg. That fee increases to $2.5M per year once Tropicana Field has been vacated through the end of the lease. If they chose to stay within city limits, no fees would be levied.
Council member Gerdes is also proposing the team to forgo all development rights to the Tropicana Field site unless they build their next stadium in St. Pete.
The increase in cost for the Rays would be approximately $5M, with an estimated payout to the city rising to $25.5M ― $5.5M more than the original Kriseman plan, agreed upon by the Rays.
Charlie Frago (Tampa Bay Times) reported that Gerdes’ proposal likely has the support of two previous “no” votes, which could give the Rays the 5-3 margin they would need; assuming the other three maintain their steadfast support.
Councilman Jim Kennedy proposed his own plan for the Rays to compensate the city of St. Pete: $4 million a year for every season the team plays in Hillsborough County until 2027. Kennedy offered a discount for every season they play outside of St. Petersburg, but within Pinellas County (Toytown, Carillon, Derby Lane, etc); a sum total of $2.5 million a year.
Additionally, Kennedy proposed the Rays pay a one-time redevelopment fee for the Trop: $5 million if they move to Hillsborough, and $2.5 million if they leave St. Pete but stay in Pinellas County.
The team would not be on the hook for anything if they come to an agreement on a new St. Pete stadium, although as Christopher O’Donnell (TBO.com) reported, all offers would be off the table if Pinellas Commissioners dedicated their available bed taxes elsewhere. The specifics on that weren’t terribly clear, writes Pransky.
Under Kennedy’s plan, the estimated payout to the city would be $41M. It also bears mentioning:
Kennedy’s numbers are very similar to what Bill Foster was proposing while he was in office ($5M/yr), writes Pransky, which the Rays reportedly rejected outright.
Though Mayor Kriseman and the Rays both say the team wouldn’t go any higher than the original offer, there has been an indication that some council members might be intrigued by Kennedy’s plan ― which could sound the death knell on Gerdes’ less lucrative plan.
We will see where the council members stand on the issue this Thursday.