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Three developers bid on Toytown site

Darryl LeClair isn’t saying what his intentions are for the 240-acre parcel in Pinellas.
Darryl LeClair isn’t saying what his intentions are for the 240-acre parcel in Pinellas.
Published Sep. 4, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — A St. Petersburg developer who pitched a baseball stadium for the Carillon area a few years ago is among three groups bidding to build on the former landfill known as Toytown.

So what does Darryl LeClair have in mind for the county-owned, 240-acre site in a prime location near Interstate 275 and Roosevelt Boulevard? That's unclear because the proposals, solicited by Pinellas County Economic Development, aren't yet public record and LeClair isn't talking.

What is public are the names of the three bidders, which were disclosed this week. They include a limited liability corporation created last month called Sports-park Partners. One of the listed managers, EIN Sports LLC, lists the same St. Petersburg address as Echelon, a residential and commercial real estate development firm that LeClair controls. A reporter who called Thursday was forwarded to a prerecorded message by Chris Eastman, Echelon's chief development officer, who confirmed the company submitted a proposal but declined further comment.

In 2012, LeClair proposed a new professional baseball stadium for some vacant land in Carillon west of the Howard Frankland Bridge. Echelon owns the land. The Tampa Bay Rays never engaged with LeClair.

Meridian Capital Realty and SunRay Park also submitted proposals for Toytown.

Meridian is a development firm in Cincinnati and the chief executive officer is Matt Daniels, the company's general counsel, Chris Wiest confirmed Thursday.

Daniels, who couldn't be reached, has experience with Toytown. It was his Bear Creek Capital Development firm that in 2008 submitted an $870 million venture for Toytown with homes, offices and retail space. The county approved the plan but Bear Creek pulled out in 2011.

No one affiliated with SunRay Park could be reached Thursday.

The proposals are exempt from disclosure for 30 days.

Staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8779. Follow @tmarrerotimes.