More details from St Pete City Council’s talk on Rays development plan

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Rendering of the Historic Gas Plant District Redevelopment // Hines, Tampa Bay Rays via SPTV 5/9/24

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Some St. Petersburg city councilmembers are pushing back against a 6.5 billion dollar proposed deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and their developer. Here’s more details from yesterday’s meeting to discuss the redevelopment of the Historic Gas Plant District surrounding the Rays stadium:

St. Petersburg mayor Ken Welch, City Council, and representatives from the Rays and their development partner, Hines, met at city hall to discuss the proposed agreement. The meeting, called a Committee of the Whole, was for City Council to deliberate the deal.

Welch addressed city council at the beginning of the meeting. He was raised in the predominately black Gas Plant district.

“Having lived this experience, I believe that the set of agreements that we have developed with your input and with extensive community engagement, are the key to completing this journey in a manner that is fiscally responsible, equitable, and honors the promises of jobs and inclusive economic opportunity.”

Council member Lisset Hanewicz criticized wording in the deal. She questioned why Rays’ principal owner Stu Sternberg could still be involved in the development, even if he were to sell the team.

“You’re the developer, you’re the one that comes to the table with a lot of experience. He could become the developer under this agreement. Why is he personally included?”

Council member Richie Floyd criticized a lack of engagement for a construction apprenticeship program.

“I see that there’s money directed towards apprentices, but that could mean a number of things.”

The group No Home Run protested outside of city hall. They say the Rays and Hines should pay rent to make up for potentially lost property tax dollars, split revenue with the city and county and be required to buy the land at a fairer value.

The plan was for city leaders to discuss the new stadium in another meeting this month. But, that meeting is being pushed back so city leaders will have more time to review the agreement.

 

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