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Mayor Bill Foster asks Tampa Bay Rays to meet about Carillon stadium proposal

St. Petersburg developer Darryl LeClair has proposed an air-conditioned stadium at the Carillon business park that would be ringed by office buildings, retail stores, apartments and a hotel.

CityScape LLC illustration

St. Petersburg developer Darryl LeClair has proposed an air-conditioned stadium at the Carillon business park that would be ringed by office buildings, retail stores, apartments and a hotel.

ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay Rays fans have waited two years to find out whether the team would consider playing in a new stadium in the city.

The answer might come soon.

Mayor Bill Foster has requested a meeting with team owner Stuart Sternberg to discuss the proposed stadium unveiled last Friday by a prominent developer in the Carillon business park.

"Perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions following the CityScape presentation is 'where do we go from here,' " Foster wrote in a letter to Sternberg on Thursday.

"Given the time and monetary commitment CityScape has made, I think it would be prudent for us to meet soon to determine if we can find any common ground for the Rays and the city to explore this potential opportunity to address the Rays' future facility requirements."

Foster offered to fly to New York to accommodate Sternberg.

Rays executive Michael Kalt declined to comment Thursday on Foster's offer. It's unclear whether the team will agree to a sit-down.

The Rays and St. Petersburg have been at a stalemate for two years. The Rays repeatedly have said they want to consider stadium sites outside of Pinellas County, a notion Foster has rejected.

The team is bound by contract to play at Tropicana Field through 2027.

For the past week, Tampa Bay area baseball fans have wondered whether the team liked the stadium proposed by developer Darryl LeClair, who owns CityScape.

The firm wants to build the stadium in the Carillon business park just west of the Howard Frankland Bridge.

CityScape controls about 17.5 acres near Ulmerton Road and hopes to acquire five more to build the stadium. The footprint would consume nearly half that space, ringed by Mediterranean Revival office buildings, retail stores, apartments and a hotel that would form many of the stadium's outside walls.

No other major league stadium in the country integrates as much non-baseball construction with the playing field itself.

The air-conditioned stadium would seat 35,000, either with a retractable roof or a fixed window pane roof, fashioned from the tough, light plastic that covered Beijing's Water Cube during the 2008 Olympics.

Price estimates run from $540 million to $570 million.

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Mayor Bill Foster asks Tampa Bay Rays to meet about Carillon stadium proposal 10/04/12 [Last modified: Friday, October 5, 2012 7:16am]
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