Make us your home page
Instagram

Florida State Fair Authority may solicit development ideas for fairgrounds

TAMPA — Attention, land developers with ideas for the Florida State Fairgrounds. The people in charge of that land would like to hear from you.

The Florida State Fair Authority's board is scheduled to vote Friday on whether to issue an "invitation to participate," an open call for developers interested in building on part of the publicly owned property along Interstate 4 east of Tampa. The Fair Authority announced the vote in a press release Saturday afternoon.

The fair itself isn't going anywhere, officials said Saturday. Any development would need to be "in keeping with the fairgrounds' core mission," said Fair Authority executive director Chuck Pesano.

The state fair is self-funded, and in need of money. The fair has struggled to turn a profit for years, and its facilities need infrastructure improvements.

For years, fair officials have discussed developing part of the land to bring in extra revenue. A new ballpark for the Tampa Bay Rays has been among suggested ideas, but that is not anticipated this time, according to Terri Parnell-Longphee, director of sales and marketing. The Rays, who are under contract to play at Tropicana Field through 2027, have expressed a preference for a densely packed urban site, like downtown Tampa.

Of the fairgrounds' 331 acres, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre uses 17 acres, plus more for parking. The fair itself, when in operation, can use 35 to 50 acres, Pesano said. That leaves plenty of room for something else, provided developers also include a parking garage in their plans, he said.

Developing part of the fairgrounds is not a new concept. In 2010, former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco called the site the "next Disney." Greco, who could not be reached for comment Saturday, and Republic Land Development of Fairfax, Va. proposed a plan that included a new baseball stadium, as well as hotels, restaurants and shops.

More recently, a group called Sovereign Investments has discussed plans that include hotels and an entertainment center, Parnell-Longphee said, but the Fair Authority board wanted a process to solicit several bidders and plans.

"It will be competitive, transparent and fair," Doyle Carlton III, chair of the Fair Authority board, said. "We want to hopefully be able to accomplish something that will bring in some revenue, but not anything that will compromise the core of the fair and its integrity."

If the board votes as expected Friday, interested developers can visit the grounds Nov. 22 for a conference and site visit. Fair Authority officials were reluctant Saturday to commit to developments they'd like to see, although Pesano did say condominiums or strip malls would face an uphill battle.

Outside of that, Pesano said, Fair Authority officials are looking forward to seeing what developers think they can do with the land.

"The board is interested to see what the ideas are," he said.

Times staff writer Stephen Nohlgren contributed to this report.

Florida State Fair Authority may solicit development ideas for fairgrounds 10/27/13 [Last modified: Sunday, October 27, 2013 12:24am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Home of Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman hits market at $3.45 million

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is back on the market for $3.45 million after a brief hiatus.

    The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is on the market for $3.45 million. [Courtesy of Hi Res Media]
  2. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy

    Business

    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    Is there one theme or idea that captures the Tampa Bay brand? Not really but here's one possibility. The fun-loving annual Gasparilla "Invasion" of Tampa is captured in this photo of 
The Jose Gasparilla loaded with pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on its way this past January to the Tampa Convention Center. In the future a vibrant downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg may be the better theme. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where condominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  4. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy

    Retail

    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]