A month after the St. Petersburg City Council approved a memorandum of understanding allowing the Tampa Bay Rays to search both Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties for a site to build the next revolutionary stadium, the team ― per the MOU ― sent representatives from the city of St. Petersburg their criteria for evaluating potential stadium sites. You can read that document below.
Their criteria*, as listed in the document, includes:
- A catalyst for development: The ballpark site and surrounding area should offer now or in the future a wide range of entertainment, dining and retail amenities for the “come early, stay late” culture the Rays want.
- Local authenticity: “It should be a celebration of Tampa Bay and include iconic elements that positively impact the ballpark brand, the brand of the team and the image of the region.”
- Regional connectivity: In addition to being connected to existing and growing population centers and business district, the new ballpark should be close to existing or future mass transit.
- Site accessibility: It should be easily accessible by road, and accommodate parking within walking distance of the stadium.
- Size and geometry: Twenty acres and with the geometry needed for a professional baseball playing surface.
- Financial feasibility and development readiness: The Rays say a public-private partnership is “critical.”
The Rays also said they would analyze “the strengths of regional business centers in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties including the municipalities of St. Petersburg and Tampa.” In layman’s terms, the team is narrowing its search to downtown St. Petersburg, mid-Pinellas (Toytown, Carillon, and Derby Lane), downtown Tampa, or the Westshore area. However, the search likely will not include the State Fairgrounds on the eastern side of Hillsborough. It is also thought the ConAgra site may be out of the mix because of the time it would take to turn the site over.
Glaringly absent from the document, however, is the estimated cost of a new facility, as well as how much the organization may be willing to contribute toward the construction and development costs. It should be noted, in 2008 the Rays were willing to chip in $150-million toward the construction of the waterfront “Sail” design in downtown St. Petersburg ― a total that is thought to be 25% – 30% of the cost of a new facility in today’s terms.
Team representatives are slated to meet with Hillsborough County’s stadium search committee for the first time Friday morning.
This process document contains the vision and criteria which will guide our search, said Rays VP Melanie Lenz in a statement. We look forward to taking a fresh look at all possibilities for our next generation ballpark.
Keep checking back for updated details on this story.
*Bulleted descriptions courtesy of