Friday, February 1, 2013

Tear Down the Trop and Redevelop?

Last night, we aired a sit-down interview with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster.  Buckhorn complimented Foster's strong handling of the Stadium Saga; Foster said he's open to talks with the Rays, but not the regional site search they desire.

But when pressed why he isn't as gung-ho now about a new stadium than he was when he was campaigning for the office in 2009, Foster said it's largely because of the prospects of redeveloping the Trop site if the Rays leave:
"I think the idea of having to redevelop (the current Tropicana Field footprint of) 85 acres...we're not coming out of that recession yet."
The Rays beg to differ.

Rays VP Michael Kalt told Pinellas County commissioners Tuesday that taxpayers are losing out by having baseball at Tropicana Field.

"One thing that gets lost is the redevelopment potential of the Trop. It is sitting on an enormous piece of land in a rapidly growing downtown that has real value and is frankly lying fallow.'

"The debt service and operating obligations...really pale in comparison to what can come in terms of property tax generation, the sales-tax generation and the job generation by putting that land to a more productive use.

"There is a tremendous opportunity cost that ticks by every day with not doing something with that piece of land." 
This is a far cry from the "$200 million-a-year economic engine" argument the Rays have used before, but is Kalt actually arguing that having commercial or residential development on the Trop site would be more valuable to the community than baseball?

If that's the case, why would Tampa ever want to tie up land in it's rapidly-expanding and rapidly-appreciating downtown with baseball?

1 comment:

  1. Typical self-serving talk from the Rayz, next they'll be pitching that there won't be any need for a lease buy-out because the location will be such a windfall form the "development".
    Your last sentence sums it up pretty well.