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Developer makes surprise $100-million bid for Tropicana Field

Developer Joel Cantor  previously said he would not bid on the Trop project.

Developer Joel Cantor previously said he would not bid on the Trop project.

ST. PETERSBURG — The man behind the Signature tower sprouting downtown injected himself into the discussion surrounding the redevelopment of Tropicana Field on Friday, making a surprise $100-million offer to purchase the 86-acre site.

Developer Joel Cantor said he reviewed the three proposals the city received last week to purchase and redevelop the site and came away unimpressed.

He fired off a two-page letter to the city Friday saying he would bid $100-million to build a community centered on affordable housing that he would call Sunshine.

"I'm in it," Cantor told the St. Petersburg Times.

Not so fast, city officials responded late Friday. The deadline to submit a proposal was 10 a.m. March 18.

Senior city development administrator Rick Mussett said he planned to review Cantor's letter, but was unsure what would come of it.

"It appears that Mr. Cantor's bid missed the deadline," Mussett said.

Cantor's project would include 2,600 residential units, 500,000 square feet of retail space and 100,000 square feet of office space — far less than proposed by developer Archstone-Madison and slightly less than Hines.

Hines is offering $50-million for the site. Archstone-Madison hasn't made a specific financial offer.

A third developer, Williams Quarter, is proposing a 4,000-unit rental community and offering $61-million to the city.

"As a citizen, I have a right to make an offer," said Cantor, who previously had told the Times he would not bid on the Tropicana redevelopment.

"If the city doesn't want to talk to us, that's fine," he added. "We're doing fine anyways."

The city is considering a plan to redevelop the Tropicana Field site as part of a larger proposal to build a 34,000-seat waterfront baseball stadium at Al Lang Field.

Tampa Bay Rays' officials say the tax revenue created by the Tropicana redevelopment could pay for up to two-thirds of the new $450-million stadium. The Rays would contribute $150-million.

Team senior vice president Michael Kalt said he had not heard of Cantor's proposal late Friday.

"It's ultimately up to the city what to do," Kalt said. "Obviously, we're interested in what happens, but we're just observers."

Developer makes surprise $100-million bid for Tropicana Field 03/28/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 3, 2008 7:54am]
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