Monday, August 1, 2016

Snug Harbor Rays Site: Baseball by Boat in Tampa Bay?

The front page of the Tampa Bay Times this morning touts a new Pinellas ballpark stadium location, on the Gandy waterfront, just East of Derby Lane.

"Snug Harbor," as described by Mark Puente and Charlie Frago, is 39 acres that the Rays are interested in, with the ingress/egress and potential ferry access the team could need.

And while this site was not on the Pinellas County's recent list of 10 possible sites was recently-added to Pinellas County's list of now-17 possible sites, we're reminded anyone with a pile of dirt still has a chance to land the team....if only they had a way to pay for it.

That said, this blog has written endlessly about why Gandy Blvd. locations in Pinellas Co. are so much more likely than any site in Tampa, as Pinellas County has nearly triple the bed tax revenue available.

And, I'm quite familiar with the Snug Harbor site, literally working across the street from certainly could be a beautiful location, with ample waterfront space for docking boats.

The site is within St. Pete city limits (barely)...but this morning's article suggests St. Pete & Mayor Rick Kriseman don't want to consider the site yet, putting all their eggs in their Downtown basket.
UPDATE: Kriseman spokesperson Ben Kirby wrote this morning, "St. Pete has been very clear our position is NOT Trop site or bust. It's in our city and it's our preferred site. That's all."  He also provided this original information from the city's Baseball Forever plan.

Ironically, Kriseman's predecessor, who lost his job for refusing to let the Rays talk to Tampa without paying for the right....was one of the first politicians to suggest the team could/should consider moving to Gandy Blvd.

A "Trop site or bust" attitude wouldn't be very good PR, but it might kind of make sense for the Rays....

While Snug Harbor has a lot of things to like about a new stadium site, it doesn't offer the one most-important thing the Rays want to make the money on: ancillary development.

With only 39 acres - 5 of which are submerged - the team won't have much opportunity to profit on surrounding real estate deals.  Not to mention the land acquisition price ($30M) and possible flood remediation costs (???) would ultimately come out of their pocket.

These days, stadium deals aren't so much about making money on the butts in the seats; just ask Jeff Vinik; or the Red Sox or the Braves or the Rangers.  Sometimes, there's more money to be made around the stadium than in the stadium, and St. Pete seems ready to hand the Rays a blank check if they help anchor Tropicana site redevelopment.

Of course, if the legislature helps the team cut a deal with Derby Lane to keep paramutuals on-site, Gandy Blvd. looks a lot more appealing again.....

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  1. Apart from finances, I wonder about rising water, whether from global warming or an eventual hurricane. I would think a lil' higher up in elevation would not just help prevent flood damage, but maybe act as an emergency shelter in a pinch like the SuperDome did. Though I guess if a storm in the next 50 yrs or so rose waters over snug harbor, we'll lose the team to another city anyways...

  2. Interesting connection between a possible stadium and gaming at Derby Lane.

  3. "Apart from finances, I wonder about rising water".......That would make a great Cajun/Country song................Btw, the financing part is always "the part" one wonders about.

  4. Elsewhere in baseball scam news:

  5. Noah, can we getta good ole' "watch dog" article on how stupid it is for Tampa/StP to be spending $1.4 million on a ferry, at a cost of $1795 a trip for 6 months. And, it won't even help get people to the games (the Bay's biggest gatherings)...

    1. There are other blogs dedicated to that.