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Council nixes developing only Trop parking lots

ST. PETERSBURG — A proposal to develop Tropicana Field's parking lots while leaving the dome intact was killed by the City Council without a vote on Thursday, after council members questioned if the prospect was appropriate or even feasible.

City Council member Leslie Curran suggested the modified development, saying it may be an alternative to the Tampa Bay Rays' plan to redevelop the entire site and move to the waterfront.

Curran proposed the city ask the three developers bidding to purchase Tropicana Field to present renditions excluding the dome site.

"Everything is still up in the air. Nothing is solidified," Curran said of the Rays' stadium and redevelopment proposal, which would require a referendum. "What is the harm in hearing what those proposals would be?"

Curran withdrew the idea after council members said the hybrid concept may complicate an already complex situation. Developers, they said, have already signaled they would be interested in a smaller redevelopment.

What else is there to know, council members asked.

"You have to let this thing run its course," said council member Wengay Newton.

Under Curran's scenario, the city would be responsible for building 7,000 replacement parking spaces for the Rays, senior development administrator Rick Mussett said.

At $14,000 a space, according to Mussett, the cost would reach $98-million.

The Rays also would have to agree to the proposal, Mussett said, citing a lease agreement between the city and the team.

Council nixes developing only Trop parking lots 04/03/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 7, 2008 5:00pm]
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