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Rays unveil new renderings of future St. Pete stadium while awaiting green light

Rays unveil new renderings of future St. Pete stadium while awaiting green light

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The future of the Tampa Bay Rays home is starting to look more clear — at least according to new renderings of the proposed ballpark that were released on Thursday.

The updated photos show a vibrant, futuristic look in downtown St. Pete for its Historic Gas Plant District Development. The new renderings come at a time when the Rays are celebrating their Tampa Bay culture, while the city fights to keep the team in town.

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According to the Rays, the new home will be Major League Baseball’s “most intimate ballpark, bringing the outside inside with windows, porches and an innovative design.”

“Our baseball park will be the most intimate and inviting in the sport,” Rays’ President Matt Silverman said in a statement. “The park is designed to bring our fans as close to the field as possible, to create a distinctive, compelling game experience.”

  • Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
    Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
  • Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
    Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
  • Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
    Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
  • Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
    Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
  • Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
    Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
  • Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
    Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
  • Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
    Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
  • Credit: Tampa Bay Rays
    Credit: Tampa Bay Rays

The proposed neighborhood ballpark anchors a new redevelopment of the Historic Gas Plant District with affordable housing, a Black history museum, a hotel and office and retail space.

As for the ballpark, the Rays’ new home will have about 30,000 seats, a three-deck design and feature a “variety of comfortable seating types” — a major upgrade to Tropicana Field, which is considered one of the worst MLB stadiums.

Just like Tropicana Field, the new stadium will keep its “Rays Touch Tank Experience.”

“Designing this next-generation major league ballpark and development together within the heart of a great city is something that has never been done before,” Populous Principal Architect Zach Allee said. “The opportunity to do something unique, innovative and authentic for St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay Rays fans is truly exciting.”

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Additionally, the new stadium will host a variety of special events, including concerts, festivals, conferences and graduations throughout the year.

The St. Petersburg City Council and the Pinellas County Commission are expected to vote on the new ballpark and development agreement in July despite ongoing controversy on approving the proposed $1.3 billion Rays home.

The urgency to approve the deal comes as the lease between the Rays and the City of St. Petersburg expires in 2027.

If approved, construction on the stadium will begin in January 2025 and be ready for Opening Day 2028; however, if no deal can be reached, the Tampa Bay Rays could move to a different city.

The Rays’ financing plan calls for the city to spend $417.5 million, including $287.5 million for the ballpark itself and $130 million in infrastructure for the larger redevelopment project that would include such things as sewage, traffic signals and roads. The city envisions no new or increased taxes.

‘A high priority’: Approval still needed for Rays’ new ballpark

Pinellas County, meanwhile, would spend about $312.5 million for its share of the ballpark costs. Officials say the county money will come from a bed tax largely funded by visitors that can be spent only on tourist-related and economic development expenses.

The Rays and Hines will be responsible for the remaining stadium costs — about $600 million — and any cost overruns during construction. The team would have naming rights to the ballpark, which could top $10 million a year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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