Tuesday, November 20, 2018
  • Bay Buzz
  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Much riding on Rays' Ybor City ballpark design

TAMPA – The more than decade-long stadium drama that surrounds the Tampa Bay Rays will enter a new phase today when Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg unveils the design of the ballpark the team wants built in Ybor City.

The architect drawings, which will be unveiled at a private media event in Ybor,  will reveal what kind of roof — retractable or translucent dome — and the capacity of the stadium.

But just as much attention will be focused on how much a shiny new ballpark will cost. Sternberg is expected to announce the price tag of the project but not how much the team is willing to contribute.

Estimates for a new ballpark have ranged from $600 million to upward of $800 million. Local leaders have said that paying for that by raising sales or property taxes is not an option.

Business and community leaders touting the project are hoping that an innovative looking ballpark will kickstart support from both the public and the business community.

On top of that, team officials set architectural firm Populous the lofty goal of coming up with a next-generation ballpark that will be a community destination even when it's not game day.

The event will be attended by many of Hillsborough County's business and political leaders, including Commissioner Ken Hagan and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who have led the push for the team to move across Tampa Bay.

Tampa Council members Mike Suarez, Luis Viera and Guido Maniscalco also plan to attend.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn

Buckhorn said Monday the announcement was part of a process to arrive at a deal and that renderings will make the possibility of an Ybor City stadium more concrete.

"It's about creating and developing a buzz around this and to get some community buy-in," he said. "Folks want to see it and imagine it. It makes the job of building support that much easier."

Team officials have already provided a few insights as to what they want in the design. Among the ideas floated are that the ballpark serve as a community park. The team's fitness center could double as a wellness program for the University of South Florida, and its kitchens host culinary classes.

Fans should also expect a smaller stadium. Team officials have talked about right-sizing the ballpark so the capacity may not match the roughly 42,000 seats of Tropicana Field. That likely means there won't be a 360-degrees upper deck although there could be additional tiers behind home plate.

Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg

The ballpark's exterior may include a tip of the hat to Ybor City's century-old Cuban and Italian social clubs and iconic balconies and brick exteriors. Rays Chief Development Officer Melanie Lenz and a three-member stadium design team toured Ybor City in April to experience the neighborhood's historic architecture firsthand.

The team is scheduled to release the design at 2 p.m.  Follow the developments in a Facebook Live we'll have from the announcement.

Contact Christopher O'Donnell at [email protected] or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_Times.

 

Comments
Pat Frank appoints retired judge to transit tax oversight committee

Pat Frank appoints retired judge to transit tax oversight committee

TAMPA  — Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court Pat Frank has named  former Hillsborough Chief Judge Manuel "Manny" Menendez to serve on the committee that will oversee the spending of a new $280 million  yearly sales t...
Published: 11/19/18
William March: Crowded field likely for District 5 Hillsborough commission seat

William March: Crowded field likely for District 5 Hillsborough commission seat

Term-limited Democratic Commissioner Les Miller will vacate the seat in 2020.
Published: 11/19/18
‘Tip of the Iceberg’: Tampa corporate support for Rays? So far, it’s $16 million

‘Tip of the Iceberg’: Tampa corporate support for Rays? So far, it’s $16 million

Tampa Bay Rays 2020 co-founder Ron Christaldi put some details Friday behind his confidence that the Tampa Bay Rays will get a new home in Ybor City — $16 million of them.That's the amount of new corporate support pledged for a ball park north ...
Published: 11/16/18
Regional climate change coalition has one holdout: Pasco County

Regional climate change coalition has one holdout: Pasco County

County Commissioner Jack Mariano, who sits on the Regional Planning Council, did not bring the proposal to the County Commission because he doesn't want the words climate change used.
Published: 11/16/18
Tampa’s Grand Central Station and High Line? Harry Cohen is thinking big on transportation

Tampa’s Grand Central Station and High Line? Harry Cohen is thinking big on transportation

  Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen, an eight-year veteran of City Council, is known for his attention to detail on even the smallest zoning matter. But in his run to replace term-limited Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Cohen is leaving the small-ball appr...
Published: 11/15/18
Updated: 11/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell resigns at council meeting

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell resigns at council meeting

Caudell said she needs to spend more time on her business, then walked out of the meeting. City Attorney Pam Akin said the resignation won't be official until it's in writing.
Published: 11/15/18
Rules of the Sidewalk? Tampa grapples with the rented scooter craze

Rules of the Sidewalk? Tampa grapples with the rented scooter craze

Tampa city officials are sifting through applications for a pilot scooter program. Residents could be scooting through the streets by February.
Published: 11/15/18
Buckhorn names Arthenia Joyner to transit committee

Buckhorn names Arthenia Joyner to transit committee

The former Democratic state senator is the first person named to the 13-member transit surtax oversight committee.
Published: 11/15/18
Clearwater strong mayor fight is over but rift on City Council remains an open wound

Clearwater strong mayor fight is over but rift on City Council remains an open wound

Hoyt Hamilton asks for apology from Doreen Caudell for her words in Letter to the Editor. She apologizes but claims she was misquoted in her own letter.
Published: 11/14/18
William March: Could a late arrival in Tampa mayor’s race upset the apple cart?

William March: Could a late arrival in Tampa mayor’s race upset the apple cart?

Speculation centers on businessman Mike Griffin or former state Rep. Ed Narain possibly entering the race for Tampa mayor.
Published: 11/13/18