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. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political …

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena, has been relegated to the back row in the State House chamber, moved to a fouth floor office and stripped of her job as chairwoman of a House subcommittee after a series of disagreements with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA

    Airlines

    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  3. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants the Constitu?tion Revision Commis?sion to ask voters to repeal the state’s system of partial financing of statewide elections.
  4. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — When Miami developer Jorge Perez first eyed a 4.2-acre tract on the west bank of the Hillsborough River two years ago, people asked him if he wouldn't prefer to build on the opposite side closer to the downtown core.

    No way.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  5. Eat 3-course meals for $35 at these 100 restaurants for Orlando's Magical Dining Month

    Food & Dining

    In the early 1900s, hotels offered "table d'hote" or "prix fixe" menus as a form of loss leader. Hotels didn't necessarily make money on these lower-priced, multi-course meals, often served at communal tables, but they made up for it on the booze. Prohibition may have contributed to a gradual shift toward a la carte …

    Bulla Gastrobar serves a variety of Spanish and Portuguese dishes.