Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A New Rays Stadium Would Be Expensive, So Hillsborough Commissioner Asked Sheriff if He'd Consider Vacating His HQ for Project

In his search to find the Rays a new place to play in Tampa's urban core, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan has toyed with the idea of relocating the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office headquarters out of Ybor City to make room for a new stadium, WTSP has learned.

Multiple sources confirm Hagan approached Sheriff David Gee about a stadium in the heart of Ybor, although it is not clear if the land swap idea was entertained by the soon-to-be-retired sheriff.
UPDATE: Hagan text messages obtained by WTSP reveal the two men met in April to discuss the swap.

It is also not clear if Hagan was exploring the possibility of using the HCSO property for a stadium or as part of stadium-related development.

But while relocating the sheriff's office might have alleviated some of the challenges in financing a ballpark, it would likely put the burden of a new HCSO headquarters on an already-beleaguered county budget.

Hagan has repeatedly refused questions from WTSP and did not respond to interview requests either Monday or Tuesday.

RELATED: Ken Hagan, Hillsborough Man of Mystery

In addition to helping the Rays find the "pitch-perfect" site for a new stadium, Hagan has also assumed the lead on trying to find available public revenues that could help the Rays pay for a new stadium. On Monday, WTSP broke the story of how the county was exploring federal transit dollars to help finance Rays-related development.

Providing public land for stadium development could be another possible avenue for taxpayers to subsidize the project. Hagan, who once advocated "no public dollars" be spent on a Rays stadium, has recently said he thought taxpayers should help with the "infrastructure" side of a new stadium.

County-owned land
HCSO headquarters is located at 1900 E. 8th St. in Ybor City, and is part of a nine-acre plot of land owned by the county.

While nine acres is not likely big enough for a stadium, the property sits conveniently adjacent to four acres worth of properties owned by developer Darryl Shaw, who has been quietly amassing land in Ybor City for future development. Four additional acres of parking lots also sit adjacent to the HCSO property.

County-owned land plus Darryl Shaw-controlled land
A representative for Shaw said he would not be available to comment Tuesday.

St. Petersburg has already pitched the Rays on its proposed new stadium project at Tropicana Field, as Hagan and Hillsborough County prepare its public pitch at a yet-to-be-disclosed site. The Rays are believed to want to wait until after the St. Petersburg mayoral election is decided, which will either be late August or early November.

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  1. Channelside Live is starting to get going, from Amalie to Ybor.

  2. It would seem that there is an obvious choice for the new stadium site .

    Rocky Point Golf Course

    1. Makes a lot of sense -Owned by the Sports Authority now. No land acquisition costs/problems. Could be sold to the Rays for, say, $5 million

    2. Easy access off the Veterans, central location, near hotels, Westshore,downtown , etc. Neighborhood should like it-makes it like Wrigleyville.

    3. 100 plus acres of open land-doesn't have the issues of the displacing high school, Heights, etc. high acquistion costs

    4. Lots of extra land for development, parking, commercial stuff, which means Profit potential for Sports Authority if they keep the land or if Rays buy the property, for them to offset cost of stadium

    5 Golf course loses money now.

    MOST IMPORTANT: The excess land, after stadium and ample parking, could be sold to developers by Sports Authority or the Rays -reduces overall cost,money to Sports Authority-turns loser into big winner Cheapest and best site-in Tampa

  3. Dude, have you followed anything lately about a stadium???
    You spent all that time rambling about Rocky Point when it's already determined Channelside is where it's going...