But no one from the Rays ever approached (developer Darryl) LeClair, who is close to giving up on his dream of building a mixed-use stadium, office and residential project on 16 acres he owns south of Ulmerton Road.Stephen Nolgren and Charlie Frago report that Carillon may not have any land left for a stadium by 2016 as development continues. The Rays, of course, did not comment on the story, but continue to refuse to look at any individual site without the ability to search "everywhere" (especially Tampa).
"We'd like to keep the window open, but we can't afford to keep it open much longer," LeClair told the Times. "We tried to help facilitate the baseball discussion and it played out the way it played out. We can't sit around and wait for baseball to make a decision. We're moving forward."
For Carillon to remain in the stadium hunt, LeClair said, the Rays would have to start their region-wide search soon and keep it short, say, six months. The Rays have said they need time to conduct traffic and demographic studies on various sites and also gauge corporate support.Carillon is hardly a perfect location, but given the lack of money in Hillsborough County, it may be one of the best options. As Nolgren/Frago point out, transit improvements would only make the site more appealing.
"You can only keep an offer on the table for so long," (Councilman Jim) Kennedy said. "The fact that the Rays refuse to even consider it, critique it or take it as a learning experience ... to me, that kind of evidences difficulty to have constructive communication."
But there are also other potential sites in Mid-Pinellas, so should this opportunity come and go as many fear, the long-term prospects of a new Rays stadium may not change all that much.