ST. PETERSBURG -- St. Petersburg will not allow the Tampa Bay Rays to explore specific stadium sites away of the city, but that doesn’t prevent landowners from dreaming a bit.
Tampa real estate broker Rick Narkiewicz recently emailed Mayor Bill Foster with a novel idea to have the city become a stadium landlord in Hillsborough County, and Narkiewicz has just the site: 39 acres of industrial land he wants to sell east of Ybor City in an run-down industrial area.
It’s on 39th Street, close to the Lee Roy Selmon, I-4 and Adamo Drive and can be had for $8 million. Maybe the city of Tampa could chip in another $40 million to buy 100 or so contiguous acres for a massive mixed-use development, “creating a mini version of downtown just outside of Ybor,’’ Narkiewicz says.
Increased property and sales taxes in the blighted area could help finance stadium construction and St. Petersburg would collect a cut of concession money to compensate for losing the Rays. Tampa would even provide a trolley system to carry fans between the stadium, the Pinellas beaches and downtown St. Pete, Narkiewicz suggests.
Foster says the Rays are doing just fine at the Trop, thank you, and he has no interest in a Hillsborough stadium. People do come up with imaginative ideas from time to time, he says, including one proposal to fill in the Vinoy Basin and solve that pesky Pier problem with a new waterfront stadium.