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While Rays look elsewhere, Ybor landowners consider Plan B

LUIS SANTANA   |   Times Aerial view looking to the Southwest of the proposed baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa.  [Thursday October 26, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
LUIS SANTANA | Times Aerial view looking to the Southwest of the proposed baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa. [Thursday October 26, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
Published Dec. 13, 2018

TAMPA — The collapse of the proposed Ybor City ballpark deal not only left the Tampa Bay Rays' plans in disarray, it also sent several land owners back to the drawing board.

Chief of those is BluePearl veterinary clinics CEO Darryl Shaw, who owns 11 parcels in and around the proposed ballpark site and is under contract to buy two more. That would have given him ownership of all but three parcels in the stadium footprint.

"I'm certainly disappointed," Shaw said. "I thought they would be great for Tampa and it would be super for Ybor. It would have accelerated development."

He said he plans to continue with the purchase of the two parcels he has under contract from FMF Real Estate, a New York firm. He expects to close in January but declined to reveal the purchase price.

He previously told the Tampa Bay Times that the likelihood of that land being part of a MLB ballpark had driven up the asking price. Text messages between Commissioner Ken Hagan and Tampa Sports Authority outside attorney Irwin Raij show that Shaw was asking about $30 million for all his holdings inside the stadium site including the two plots under contract.

He does not expect to renegotiate a new purchase price with FMF Real Estate.

"Yes, the price is steep," he said. "I always knew that I was making a commitment to buy those parcels whether or not the Rays would be there."

Along with a handful of business partners, Shaw has spent more than $60 million buying roughly 150 parcels of land in and around Ybor City. He began buying mostly industrial plots in and around the ballpark in 2014, records show. That includes the Gas Worx, a roughly 7-acre site Shaw bought for $10 million in June 2016.

Ybor's history and character and the proximity of the TECO Line Streetcar System makes it a place that could be transformed into a walkable community, he said.

"I had always intended to develop this site," he said. "If it doesn't work with the Rays, we'll begin to give thoughts to what it can look like developing an urban village there."

He is part of a group called FBN Partners that loaned the Tampa Bay Times $12 million as part of a larger refinancing by the newspaper's parent company

Andy Scaglione, who owns a 1-acre lot with a warehouse inside the stadium footprint, said he is a long-term buy and hold real estate investor. He said he is confident that property in Hillsborough County remains a good investment.

Tampa Electric also own two parcels where the Rays wanted to build a new home.

Despite the collapse of the deal, Hagan said he will continue working with the utility company to find a new site for a sub-station in case the Rays reconsider the Ybor site.

"It's basically just tightening up the framework and providing more details and specifics to the proposal," Hagan said.

Contact Christopher O'Donnell at or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_times.