'Rays Park at Carillon' Introduced

CityScape presented its proposal for a new Rays stadium to be built west of the Howard Frankland Bridge, in Pinellas County.

As momentum builds in the Rays 2012 post-season chase, a local developer seeks to build momentum for a 35,000-seat Rays baseball stadium in Carillon Park.

The cost could range from $424 million to $574 million, with private financing or a combination of public and private financing as options, organizers said Friday during a presentation at the Hilton Carillon.

Developers Darryl LeClair and CityScape presented their plan for the “Rays Park at Carillon,” in front of the St. Petersburg City Council, Pinellas County Commission and members of the Rays organization.

“We believe it is important to have a regional discussion about Major League Baseball, because the Tampa Bay Rays are a regional asset,” LeClair said Friday afternoon at the Hilton Carillon. “CityScape has a vision for a Rays park."

That vision includes a 35,000-seat stadium within the Carillon Park, which would also become an entertainment district development.

How Much?

While only a few sketches were shown, five cost options were presented. Costs varied based on differences with the roof and outfield wall in centerfield, with views of the water. 

  • Option 1: Retractable, transparent roof and retractable, transparent wall, $577 million
  • Option 2: Fixed, transparent roof and retractable, transparent wall, $548 million
  • Option 3: Fixed, transparent roof and fixed, transparent wall, $540 million
  • Option 4: Open air stadium and no transparent wall, $424 million
  • Option 5: Retractable transparent roof and fixed transparent wall, $564 million

Because of heat, humidity and thunderstorms, the CityScape team suggested that a roof of some sort would be needed in Tampa Bay. 

Stadium Amenities

Having a park close to the water, CityScape presented a plan Friday for a transparent roof and wall past centerfield. This would allow fans to be able to enjoy views of the water while enjoying views of the game.

A hotel, residential building and office building would be located on the left field line, behind the plate and along the right field line.

Each would have rooftop spaces and views of the park and the bay, according to Chris Eastman, president at CityScape.

The entire Carillon Park area would add retail, restaurants and entertainment as part of the project. All would be walkable to the stadium. However, Eastman said there would be a tram to pick people up at various locations inside Carillon Park. 

Why Carillon Park?

 The CityScape team Friday said that Carillion Park makes the most sense as a location.

According to Steven Kurcan, project manager with CityScape, one of the main factors is distance. MLB said a stadium has to be within a 30-minute drive of a stadium to be successful, Kurcan explained.

Of various sites thrown out as potential locations for the Rays, such as Dale Mabry, Channelside and Tropicana Field, Kurcan said Carillon Park is best suited to handle the traffic and growth of the area.

The Carillon Park area, according to CityScape, also has the highest number of nearby residents, businesses and home income compared to other sites in Tampa Bay.

While parking has been a major question mark since CityScape announced it wants to build a stadium in the area, the CityScape Team Friday said there are currently more than 14,000 parking spaces in the area now. With future buildout, that could reach more than 21,000 spaces.

The future buildout of Tampa Bay also means Carillon Park is better suited, Kurcan said. With future road projects and existing infrastructure, Carillon Park allows for easier access to the Rays for more people in Tampa Bay.

“Bottom line, is what this means is more butts in seats,” he said 

Will it Get Built?

A. Susan Johnson, executive vice president of CityScape, said Friday, the presentation was just the first step.

“Every successful project just like this one begins with an idea,” Johnson said.  “And that idea evolves into a vision and a vision is refined into a plan and the plan matures into a commitment … and a commitment gets a shovel.”

What the crowd in attendance at the Hilton Friday did not get was the exact financing proposal.

“We hope you can appreciate that we are taking a risk today by sharing our stadium plans and further that you appreciate that we have a reluctance to share our financing blue print,” Johnson said. “We do believe there are multiple financing options that range form private financing to a public/private joint venture that requires no incremental direct burden on local tax payers.

“Given the opportunity, we will explore all the opportunities with all the parties involved,” Johnson added.

Much legal work also has to be worked out between the Rays and the city of St. Petersburg before the Rays could speak directly with CityScape over the proposal.

The Rays have insisted that if they were to explore new stadiums that they wanted to be able to hear proposals in Hillsborough County as well. The city fears that giving the Rays that waiver on their contract about exploring options outside St. Petersburg would leave the Rays options to not only leave St. Pete but also the entire region.

“We want to show our future partners all of the exciting possibilities,” Johnson said of details of the proposal not revealed to the public Friday. “This moment presents the opportunity to keep the Rays in the only home they’ve ever known.”

CJ September 29, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I realize that this date has been set for some time, but considering the heated final stretch race that is going on right now with the Rays trying to nail down a Wildcard spot...it seems to me this story, this meeting, etc, could have all been set aside for a few days in order to not provide any distraction for our Rays right now. The only attention they should be getting right now is support to win games. ''That's'' how you treat your baseball team...''not'' by supplying distractions at a very crucial time. What would delaying all this 1 week have hurt? One week....by next Wednesday we will will know if they are in the playoffs. Even a minor distraction right now could be a line that should not have been crossed. This does not show our team any respect bringing up all this during ''this'' week. They are still in this race folks. To heck with these news possible plans for now...support the Rays NOW...and attend the Mon, Tue, And Wed final games against Baltimore. ''Then'' we can talk about new ideas. This make me sick as a baseball fan to see this story here during this week with so many things on the line for them. This article is bad timing. No wonder the owner does not like being here.
Steve September 29, 2012 at 09:18 PM
They put the story online, my friends,,,,,,not us.
Dharma September 30, 2012 at 12:44 PM
well to be honest with all of you, we pay taxes to do this and that was done so rebuilding another place for baseball seem rediculous. as voters do we not have any say at all here, please vote and get rid of all who are here to serve us... and keep us abreast with what has become a throw away world. it doesnt matter that we have paid so much before. its just off the wall behavior of this entire country and how it behaves are all issues. build, blast it, steal the money from tax payers and then move away and leave it sitting there to do it all again. i say no......
Dharma September 30, 2012 at 12:46 PM
we have what i call abandon cities in side of cities.. throw away money matters that cannot be used by any tax payer. we have vacant buildings, empty, senators telling people who work to get a job. its all backwards and lopsided...
Dharma September 30, 2012 at 12:47 PM
to you who was not here to see the past and feel the fun of it, i am so sorry, that is where tail gate parties came from. families, went as a whole and just pulled up and began to eat and wait ... it was great..


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