Calling all urban designers: St. Pete wants your creative juices flowing around Tropicana FieldRFP covers 86 acres in heart of city’s downtown

The city of St. Petersburg has issued a request for proposals for the redevelopment of Tropicana Field.
The property spans 86 acres in the heart of the city’s downtown. Sophia Sorolis, St. Petersburg’s Economic and Workforce Development Director, expects the project to garner plenty of attention, as an opportunity of this “magnitude” is rare.
“It’s the largest opportunity we can imagine. Eighty-six acres downtown to be redeveloped,” she says.

To lure developers, the city will dedicate at least $75 million toward infrastructure development at the site and plans to partner with whichever development team is selected to redevelop this parcel in other ways. The goal is “to create a multi-use city center that reflects the diverse and rich culture of St. Petersburg and adheres to principals developed through community engagement, including Smart Cities, sustainability and a healthy community,” according to the city’s website for the site.
The property is also located within the city’s Opportunity Zone, which could offer additional tax and financial incentives to the developer chosen for this project.

Sorolis is excited about the possibilities at Tropicana Field.

“It’s very exciting. It will be interesting to see what responses we get,” she said. “We’re hoping for robust responses from the best and brightest developers from around the country and even the world. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

The Tampa Bay Rays’ lease agreement keeps the team at Tropicana Field until the end of the 2027 Major League Baseball season. Currently, there are no plans to extend that lease after it expires.

That date might seem far off “but with a project so large, the planning for something like that, with or without a stadium, needs to begin now,” Sorolis says.

The property, between I-175 and I-375 and near John’s Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the University of South Florida’s St. Pete campus, is considered prime real estate for potentially expanding local research and innovation efforts and attracting creative developers. 
Proposals are due to the city by Jan. 21, 2021. At that point, the city will review the submissions and select the project they think best suits the property. Then, they will work with the developer to create a development agreement for the site.
“It takes a while for planning and phasing and things like that that need to be done,” Sorolis says. “For such an intense project, it will take several years to get in order.”
The Tropicana Field RFP comes on the heels of another major redevelopment: the St. Pete Pier, a massive $93 million waterfront project that reimagined the city’s pier. The new pier took several years to complete and reopened to the public July 6.

Learn more here: redevelopment of Tropicana Field.
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Tiffany Razano is a Pinellas County-based writer and editor covering the City of Clearwater and other news and features in the Tampa Bay region for 83 Degrees.