A St. Petersburg developer wants to buy the struggling Channelside Bay Plaza and build a baseball stadium on the site for the Tampa Bay Rays.You should have heard that figurative record scratch in your head with the line, "he did not know how the stadium would be financed."
Joel Cantor, who built the Signature Plaza condominium tower in St. Petersburg, said Tuesday a 33,000-seat stadium could fit on the waterfront site, much like AT&T Park in San Francisco where the Giants play.
"Surprisingly, the dimensions fit on the water,'' he said. "It's obviously a big project, and it's a long shot. But we came to the conclusion that it would be the ideal site for a baseball stadium. It would a tremendous catalyst to rejuvenating downtown Tampa.''
Cantor said he did not know how the stadium would be financed but said he would contribute $50 million toward the project. Money from the Rays, public/private partnerships, bed taxes and possibly bonds would also be needed.
Cantor said he discussed the stadium idea with Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik several months ago, but Vinik was already teamed up with other partners to buy the Channelside property. Cantor said Vinik's proposal, which is close to completion, also calls for a baseball stadium.
I don't know how many other ways to say it, but land is cheap in the stadium saga, but no developer in his right mind would build a stadium with his own cash. Until someone or some group addresses how to finance a new park, it's all wasted words.
Here's to hoping the groups studying stadium financing come up with some revolutionary new ideas.