11.14.2007

A Tremendous Opportunity


By now most of you have probably heard that the Tampa Bay (no longer Devil) Rays are looking to build a new stadium along the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg. There are two major parts to the deal. The first would be building the new stadium on the site of Al Lang Field (pictured), the current spring training home of the Rays. The second part of the deal would be the sale and redevelopment of the 70-acre Tropicana Field site. I think that both would be HUGE benefits for St. Petersburg. Having the stadium in the heart of downtown could generate a ton of revenue for downtown businesses.

While the new stadium would be great, I think that more important issue is the redevelopment of the Trop site. It could be incredible if it was done correctly. It would be an opportunity to build a significant amount of affordable and attainable housing, which by the way, was the original plan when the City demolished the historic African American neighborhood that once stood on the site.

People have mentioned the Atlantic Station project in Atlanta as a precedent. This worries me quite a bit. Not only because AS is filled with bad architecture, but also because for the most part it is proving to be a failure. I would point to something like the Orestad project located just outside of Copenhagen. Only the first phase has been completed so far, but there is a great attention to detail in the design of the infrastructure and public realm at Orestad. In fact, the City of Copenhagen gave the Orestad land to the developer for free in exchange for building the city's entire new metro system.

What do you think? What should happen? Can a downtown stadium and 70-acre redevelopment be the impetus that Tampa Bay needs to build a mass-transit system?

See articles from the St. Petersburg Times HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

2 comments:

Phillip Crosby said...

Yesterday, the governor publicly came out in support of the plan. He said, "I think the opportunity to create an ambiance right on the waterfront in St. Petersburg is brilliant, I really do."

See the story in the Times HERE.

Mike said...

The plan for the new stadium is wrong but the site is right. They should use red Augusta Block Brick all along the inside of the field. The home run balls should go into the water down the left field line, it would be called "The beach." In right there should be a 40 ft high wall with the only marker in the 290's in the majors like the old Baker Bowl. Here fans would be right on top of the action on the wall and we would call it the "Red Monster." Because of the shift in the plan the fans directly in back of home plate would be looking right a the Tampa Skyline. Boat slips for parking could be put on the for right and far left of the field. Games could be played at at 8:00 pm to avoid heat and rain. We'd probably also, go with a retractable roof. Spread the word.