Sunday, December 21, 2014

More on the Highest-and-Best-Use of Stadium Land

Nearly two years ago, I wrote that if St. Pete's Tropicana Field land is so valuable without baseball, as the Rays then claimed, then wouldn't the same go for land in Downtown Tampa that could be developed into something else too?

Obviously, Jeff Vinik agreed with me

And in Sunday's Tampa Tribune, Steven Giradi writes more about the excitement St. Pete-area developers have for the Trop's 85 acres of land post-baseball.

That's not to say MLB doesn't bring certain intangibles and even economic growth when situated in a region that's lacking development.  A comprehensive stadium project can spur growth in a community area that needs it.  But for all the talk of a new baseball stadium in Downtown St. Pete or Downtown Tampa, those neighborhoods don't need a kickstart.

The Tampa Bay Rays need a new stadium more than Tampa or St. Pete do.


  1. I do agree that in this case, the economic development of the land will be more profitable than having a stadium on that land. And yes, the Rays needs more from the cities than what the cities needs from the Rays.

  2. Complete fabrication to assert Jeff Vinik believes Noah's proposition

    Further, Noah continues to offer the wild fantasy (wild in that it is far removed from reality) that the Rays are not a significant tourism attractor.

    For those who don't read Noah daily, let me recap relevant claims. Three professionals each with advanced degrees and a lifetime of expertise measuring economic impact, all put the Rays' economic impact in the range of hundreds of millions annually. Two of the studies dealt very specifically with tourism spending, as part of the analysis. Not a single study has concluded these studies wer way off the mark. When Noah wants to, he pretends all sorts of different things about these studies.

    A few days Ago, Noah was arguing that the Rays had nothing to do with the resurgence of downtown St Pete (which was a ghost town before the Rays and is one of the most vibrant downtowns anywhere now). Today, Noah concedes (as that he believed it all along) that a team can JumpStart development in a depressed or stagnant region.

    My own opinion, as an economist, is that the Rays were the most important factor that impacted DTSP, and that we may, if the Rays leave, find the first ever case where the key component so stimulated development to the point where the original critical catalyst can be removed while vibrant growth continues. That has never happened yet, but it just might.

    Noah's overreach on Vinik is way off the mark, for several reasons. Two of which are: 1. Vinik owns a pro sports team that plays in a publicly financed facility which is the critical component of his development plan. 2. Without Vinik's ownership of the team and his property rights to the arena/significant adjacent lands, there is no Vinik development plan for downtown Tampa

    The plan hinges on Vinik's control of the publicly-financed arena. He has complete control of programming events which allows him to lure office and commercial tenants, as well as hotel bookings. This joint control adds to the return for the team/arena and the new development. So how, exactly, did Vinik conclude that a sports franchise in a publicly-financed facility does not enhance the development of a downtown?

    Perhaps Noah is confused by the Rays use agreement which would make anybody who tampers with the Rays agreement to play at the Trop liable and thinks Vinik's decision to behave legally and morally validates Noah's oft-shifting position, which seems (today) to hold that publicly financed sports facilities don't impact development in cities like st. Pete and Tampa??

    Umm. Ok