St. Pete waterfront ballpark a no-go
Rays will continue to explore options in area
MIAMI -- The Rays will not be building a new ballpark on the downtown waterfront in St. Petersburg, Fla., a team official explained Friday.
Tampa Bay's senior vice president, Michael Kalt, told The St. Petersburg Times that the Rays have altogether abandoned their thoughts of an open-air stadium at the site of Progress Energy Park, home of Al Lang Field, saying, "It's pretty clear people did not want a ballpark down there. From what we're seeing, we're probably in that camp, too."
Team officials are now saying they are unsure if the proposed $450 million stadium could succeed anywhere in downtown St. Pete, including at Tropicana Field, The Times said.
Instead, the team prefers to move north towards the middle of Pinellas County, where the population within a 30-minute drive doubles, according to The Times, which cited a Rays analysis.
Kalt told The Times the team will continue to let a group investigating possible stadium sites -- A Baseball Community -- do its job, though the Rays' thoughts will of course play a critical role.
Kalt added that the Rays miscalculated when officials thought the waterfront location -- first proposed in November 2007 -- was the least-expensive option and could lure new businesses and people with its modernized architecture.
The city is now in the process of rezoning Progress Energy Park as park land and is also considering creating a 75-foot height limit, with city council members possibly approving those measures next month, according to The Times.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.