The first box was checked Monday in keeping the Tampa Bay Rays right where they have been — in St. Petersburg, Fla., on a redeveloped 86-acre plot.
Mayor Ken Welch announced that the city has chosen the Rays’ vision for a new stadium and all 86 acres, a project that’s estimated to cost more than $6 billion over the next 20-plus years. It includes $2.5 billion to $3 billon for a new 30,000-seat ballpark on the site where Tropicana Field currently sits.
“The process was detailed and transparent, and as your mayor, I have done my homework.” Welch said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “I am confident that this decision is the best path forward.”
The next question is, will the Rays commit to staying now that their vision and specs were selected? The organization has yet to state that publicly.
Rays co-president Brian Auld recently said the organization is fully engaged with St. Pete but is also “continuing dialogue” about a Tampa stadium.
Tampa officials are also discussing a stadium with the Rays on 33 acres of property along the Ybor Channel in Ybor Harbor.
“There is a lot of work still to do,” Tampa mayor Jane Castor said, according to the Times. “Tampa remains a great option for the team and we’re keeping our door open and pencil sharpened for the due diligence on any potential Rays stadium proposal in Tampa.”
The Rays’ lease at Tropicana Field ends in 2027.