Tropicana Field’s proximity to a vibrant waterfront makes it a natural fit for urban density, he said.
“It’s not very common to be able to put together that large a site for a master planned project anywhere in a desirable area like Florida,’’ Richey said. “It’s a special place.’‘
The Tampa Bay Rays, wanting a new stadium elsewhere, have begun to tout the Trop’s redevelopment potential as more valuable to the city than baseball.
The city “is sitting on an enormous piece of land in a rapidly growing downtown that is, frankly, lying fallow,’’ Rays vice president Michael Kalt recently told the Pinellas County Commission.
The remaining debt on the stadium “pales in comparison to what can come from property and sales tax generation if you put that land to use,” he said….
A buyout settlement from the Rays could help underwrite streets and utilities, he said. The city could offer free land for the right corporations.
“With the weather, the waterfront and free land, we could compete with anybody.’‘
Sher also would invite St. Petersburg’s academic, scientific and medical community to consider the Trop for expansion and for recruiting like-minded employers from outside the city. A small convention center, for gatherings of 1,000 to 2,000 people, could thrive, he said.
Build out might take 10 or 15 years, but “we could create 10,000 jobs, with tall buildings, internal transportation tied to public transport, linked to the south side, so it’s not a fortress walling off black St. Petersburg,’’ he said. “It’s exciting. I can’t sleep at night for thinking about it.’‘
A crowd of 2,000 might be the largest ever at the Trop!