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Toytown developers want housing, retail, rail stop — and wouldn't reject a stadium

The companies seeking to redevelop the old Toytown landfill want St. Petersburg's permission to build housing, retailers, offices and a light rail station there.

But the Toytown site, which is on the northeastern edge of St. Petersburg near Interstate 275 and Roosevelt Boulevard, also may be available for another use: a professional baseball stadium.

Central Pinellas is among the list of potential sites for a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium. Although there have been no talks with the Rays about building a ballpark there, project consultant Bill Tippmann said Wednesday that the developers consulted with the city and Pinellas County — owner of Toytown — to make sure any changes wouldn't stop a stadium from going up.

A hearing by the St. Petersburg Planning and Visioning Commission will be at 3 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 175 Fifth St. N.

The development would have up to 2,100 housing units, 1.5 million square feet of shopping and 2 million square feet of offices. About 70 acres would go to recreation and civic projects, and 6 acres for a transit depot.

Pinellas County has sought to vastly remake the old 240-acre landfill. But one of the partners in the project, Bear Creek Capital of Cincinnati, has struggled financially with soured real estate investments. Last year, Pinellas gave the developers a one-year extension to study how to pull off the project, which has been scaled down amid the recession.

Now, another partner, Industrial Realty Group of California, has taken the lead on the project due to Bear Creek Capital's financial troubles, Tippmann said.

Pinellas County economic director Mike Meidel recently said the application for rezoning is a good sign the developers see potential for the project to move ahead.

If zoning changes are approved, studying how to build a major project atop the old landfill — and keep it environmentally safe — is the next step. Construction was set to begin in 2013.

"This development, or the pre-development, is going to take some extensive period of time," Tippmann said.

David DeCamp can be reached at ddecamp@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8779.

Toytown developers want housing, retail, rail stop — and wouldn't reject a stadium 02/03/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 11:22pm]
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