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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Retail, real estate experts mixed on whether proposed Rays complex in Carillon is viable

“Up to” $570 million. Mm-hmm.

No major league stadium blends nonbaseball construction and the playing field to the same extent as this proposal, where 1.6 million square feet of attached buildings and retail space form a large part of the outer walls.

Site plans call for a halo of Mediterranean Revival-style offices, retail space and apartments surrounding the ballpark’s outer plaza, with a “premier hotel” on the first-base line and a concert venue beyond center field.

CityScape has promoted Carillon’s mid Pinellas location as key to its success, better able to entice Tampa fans than the Rays’ downtown St. Petersburg home at Tropicana Field.

Though it’s home to 3,000 residents, Carillon is known primarily as an office park and the headquarters of employer giants like Bright House Networks and Raymond James Financial.

Greg Franklin Posted: October 17, 2012 at 01:08 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, rays, stadiums

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   1. Weekly Journalist Posted: October 17, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4274211)
mixed use is good
   2. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: October 17, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4274226)
Mixed use is good if there's a residential component, which this one has. Otherwise people could just ignore the whole thing. But does the Tampa-St Pete area really need another office/retail complex? Isn't the housing market in the toilet there? They're using the information that apartment occupancy has been maintained during the housing crisis like it's a good thing. Of course when you don't qualify for a home loan you have to rent, that doesn't mean you'll stay there after you can buy a house, and it certainly doesn't mean that high-end apartments will be in demand. People who can afford those can often qualify for a mortgage. The whole thing seems like a white elephant. I'm not optimistic about MLB in this area.
   3. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4274364)
This actually isn't a terrible place for a stadium. It's in St. Pete but right at the end of the I-275 causeway that goes to Tampa. The Tampa airport is at the other end of the causeway, so the hotel might get some use. The area is currently mostly an office park, meaning there are a lot of parking lots and a lot of wasted space. So there's room to build and it's as convenient as it can be in an area with no transit.

But, yeah, it'd be a flop, and a boondoggle if they actually spend any public funds on it. Zillow says the current average house in Tampa is going for exactly half of what it went for at the height of the bubble. St Petersburg is about the same, slightly worse. The commercial vacancy rate is about 50th of the top 200 markets (tied with Flint, MI -- yeesh). So there's no actual demand for this thing, other than from the Rays, who want to make more money and not have to invest anything to do so.

I guess the counterargument is that the commercial space might get some use other than at gametime, by St Petersburg people going off to fun in Tampa on the weekend, or coming home from work in Tampa. It'd be convenient for that, I guess. And for the office park's current inhabitants. Still, if I'm a voter in Pinellas County there would be no way I'd want to go for this. Maybe I'd vote for bonds to upgrade the roads around the site in order to get people in and out, but I'd wouldn't want to put a penny of public funds into the project itself.
   4. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4274412)
Mixed use is great in many areas, particualrly in walking-oriented districts. We now require it in most of our small suburban downtown, which has buildings that range up to 5 stories.

Seattle's stadia, including the new NBA/NHL arena that the politicians signed off on yesterday, are on the south fringe of downtown, in a light industrial area. Bars and restaurants would be better off with a few more people living nearby to come in when there isn't a game. However, I myself wouldn't want to deal with the traffic and crowds by living that close to a stadium.

EDIT: What the real estate market looks like by the time they get this designed and approved, never mind built, is another question entirely.
   5. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4274452)
The commercial vacancy rate (for St Petersburg) is about 50th of the top 200 markets (tied with Flint, MI -- yeesh).

Then move the Rays to Flint and rename them the Tropics!
   6. Jim Wisinski Posted: October 18, 2012 at 03:50 AM (#4275057)
I work about 5 minutes from where the proposed stadium would be. Not that it would matter much considering that I work 3-midnight or later but I guess I'd be in good shape to catch most of a noon getaway day game.

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