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St. Petersburg mayor recommends negotiations with two Trop bidders

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Baker on Monday recommended the city negotiate possible deals with two of the three developers bidding to purchase Tropicana Field.

In a memo, Baker asked City Council members to authorize monthlong negotiations with Hines Interests and Archstone-Madison.

Council members would then choose a winner June 5, based on the result of those discussions.

The recommendation to move ahead with two developers removes some of the drama from this Thursday's council meeting, where members will be asked to approve the mayor's request. But by keeping two proposals alive, the city potentially can use one developer as leverage against the other.

Not recommended was a bid from Williams Quarter, a group of developers with local ties that proposed 4,000 units of rental housing and 1-million square feet of retail and office space.

City officials said in a report accompanying the mayor's recommendation that the Williams Quarter bid was "suburban."

The Hines and Archstone-Madison bids are similar, with each focusing on a mix of retail, residential and office space. The Archstone-Madison bid, however, contemplates a more intense development.

Made up of Washington, D.C., developers Archstone and Madison Marquette, the Archstone-Madison proposal would include an outdoor mall and entertainment complex similar in size to Tampa's International Plaza.

The proposal also includes 2,690 homes and a large office component.

Hines of Houston worked with the Tampa Bay Rays for months on a possible redevelopment plan for the 86-acre Tropicana site.

The Rays in turn have used the possible redevelopment of Tropicana Field to financially justify the construction of a $450-million waterfront ballpark.

The Hines plan includes 1,173 homes and 855,000 square feet of retail space, which would be anchored by an outdoor retailer like Bass Pro Shops or Cabela's.

Hines has offered $50-million for the downtown site; Archstone-Madison bid $65-million.

In the city's recommendation, officials said they intended to negotiate the purchase price with each developer.

Aaron Sharockman can be reached
or (727) 892-2273.

St. Petersburg mayor recommends negotiations with two Trop bidders 04/28/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 8:57pm]
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