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Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States

Tropicana Field Redevelopment

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So, if you live in the Tampa Bay area, you probably have seen and heard the debates about the Rays and Tropicana Field - should St. Pete put some money into building a new stadium for the Rays, should a new stadium be on the waterfront or at the current location, should the Rays continue to play in St. Petersburg or move to Tampa. Well, this is my proposal. I say give the Rays what they want - let them move to Tampa. However, in letting them go, there needs to be a plan in place for what to do with that land.

Tropicana Field property is definitely the greatest opportunity for the city of St. Petersburg to do something definitive, game changing, transformational for the city and the region as a whole. So, I have an idea, or even several ideas, of what to do with it. I will share one vision with you all.

First, leadership must be willing to let the Rays go, but at a price. Let them pay the city either the balance of the lease or the cost to demolish the stadium, whichever is greater. Use those funds to rebuild the infrastructure on the property and prepare it for its new use.

So what will be the new use? My proposal: an urban educational and research center. My proposal involves a new campus for the St. Petersburg College Health Science programs, a new facility for the University of South Florida School of Pharmacy, the new Florida A&M University College of Medicine and Dentistry, a hotel and conference center, student housing and office/research facilities for new businesses that wish to take advantage of this new hub of brain power. Yes, I know some of these institutions don't exist yet or may already exist in other locations, but we could get them to locate here to be a part of something big. Below is a zoning map of how it would all lay out on the site.

Pink = Hotel/Conference Center
Blue = St. Petersburg College Health Science Center
Orange = Florida A&M University College of Medicine and Dentistry
Green = University of South Florida School of Pharmacy
Light Green = Office/Research space for lease
Dark Green = Surface parking, lots available for future development
Purple = Student/Professional Housing
Brown = new transit hub

The goal of this is to build off one of downtown St. Pete's growing educational and research strength with the Bayboro district (USF-SP, SRI, Draper, etc.) and the hospitals (John Hopkin's All Children's, etc.) and create another center for medical and pharmaceutical education and research. This would certainly attract companies looking to be near institutes that will educate and train the workers they need, and help create a pipeline of local talent for companies already in the area that currently have to recruit from outside the region to get qualified workers. Also, it creates a continuum, in that education and research can happen here at this new district, and manufacturing can build in the Dome Industrial Park to the west. Further, this brings thousands of new jobs and even more people to downtown to support the development of additional housing and retail. Even more, it would change the image of downtown St. Pete, making education and employment just as prominent as leisure and residential.

So, this is my vision. And I am sure we will revisit this, maybe with some 3D models of what it could look like. Until then, let me know what you think!

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