St. Petersburg city officials question proposed Historic Gas Plant deal

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Rendering of new Historic Gas Plant District in St. Petersburg // Credit Himes, SPTV 5/9/24

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St Petersburg City officials met Thursday to discuss the redevelopment of the Historic Gas Plant District surrounding the Rays stadium. Developers and planners faced questions about the plan, including concerns that the deal gives developer Hines too much power.

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.

Rays president Bryan Auld spoke towards the beginning of the meeting.

“We know that not everyone loves every aspect of this deal. How could they? That’s not how compromise that is designed to appeal to wide and diverse constituencies work.”

A common issue among councilmembers were concerns that the deal gave the developer too much power. Councilmember Lisset Hanewicz  emphasized a portion of the deal regarding the city’s right to terminate the agreement.

“In no event the city have a right to terminate the agreement, notwithstanding any default by developer or parcel developer.”

There were also concerns about the affordable housing plans for the redevelopment. One portion of the deal allowed for developers to have what Councilmember Richie Floyd saw as too much flexibility in locations.

“I just don’t want – to be blunt about it – there to be a possibility that all the affordable housing be could be in one corner wedged next to the interstate. I’d would like to see some protection for that added here.”

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 council will meet again to discuss the agreement.

Timeline for St. Pete construction // Credit St Petersburg 5/9/24

 

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