Since 2007 the Tampa Bay Rays began discussing the necessity of a new stadium in Tampa Bay. However because of contracts and legalities, they were unable to search for a new stadium site- until 2016, when St. Petersburg’s City Council agreed upon an arrangement that would allow the team to look for a new location.
Over the past year, the team has been quietly searching the area for a new stadium location. They have decided upon a site in Ybor City. However, Ybor wasn’t the only location in contention, there were mock ups for stadiums in Port Tampa, West Shore, and the State Fairgrounds.
Not only will Ybor City be known for its involvement in the cigar industry, but also home to the region’s Major League Baseball team.
The only thing preventing this is the steep price of 600 to 700 million dollars. Bob Buckhorn, the Mayor of Tampa, is dedicated to finding a deal that is fair for Ybor, for tax payers and for the Rays, according to a press conference on Feb. 9.
The selected stadium site is along Channelside Drive with the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway conveniently located. This location embodies the culture, industry and economy of Tampa, while being surrounded by the Shipping Industry, the Water Street Development, the Financial and Governmental District, and mixed income residential living. However with only 14 acres the stadium will lack ancillary development like parking lots.
The new stadium along with the new Water Street development, which will be completed by 2020, will allow Tampa’s Downtown to become more dynamic, more modern and more exciting.
James Cook // Co- Sports Editor