St. Pete Mayor Kenneth T. Welch announces Historic Gas Plant District RFP for Tropicana Field site redevelopment
St. Petersburg, FL — St. Pete Mayor Kenneth T. Welch announced Wednesday, June 29 that the city is canceling the RFP issued in July 2020 and launching a new RFP process.
The decision comes after careful consideration and extensive communication with City staff regarding city needs, current economic trends and changing workforce needs.
“As a County Commissioner, I was fully engaged in this process — attending meetings and presentations, speaking with the Kriseman administration and prospective development groups in my role as the County Commissioner whose district was based in St. Petersburg. I am impressed with the efforts from the two finalists in the current RFP process — Midtown Development and Sugar Hill Community Partners. They have listened to our community and have responded with their vision of the development of these 86 acres in accordance with our community needs in terms of housing, office space, meeting space, green space and impactful economic development, including inclusive opportunities for local and minority businesses. There has also been robust community engagement in developing a vision for this generational project,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Kenneth T. Welch.
“However, our environment has changed in many ways since the initial RFP was issued in July of 2020, and we must ensure the RFP meets our current environment and realities and incorporates the most up-to-date information.”
Among the new conditions that must be considered:
- The Pandemic has changed the way we work and has affected the potential need for office space.
- The cost of rental housing and home ownership has skyrocketed, bringing higher priority to the need for affordable and workforce housing.
- Supply chain and labor issues are impacting the cost of capital projects.
- The need for intentional equity and equitable development is highlighted by results of the city’s Disparity Study and Structural Racism report completed after the issuance of the original RFP.
- The community’s desire for equity is reflected in the Community Benefits model adopted by City Council last year.
This is also an important opportunity to bring certainty to the future of the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg. The Welch administration has spent significant time building and rebuilding relationships with key partners, including City Council, Pinellas County, members of the community and the Tampa Bay Rays. Significant progress is being made with our partners toward developing the right model for the Historic Gas Plant District redevelopment, focused on inclusive progress and equitable development for our entire city.
While the expiration of the Rays lease on Tropicana Field in 2027 represents a real time constraint, it is crucial that this generational project be done right. Emphasis must be placed on meeting the city’s needs, delivering progress for our residents and building a district that will be a world class destination to visit, live and work.
“I am optimistic we will choose that right path, one that will bring jobs, equitable and diverse business opportunities, meet our need for housing, meeting space and innovative economic drivers, and support a state-of-the-art home for the Rays for decades to come,” Mayor Welch said.
Mayor Welch has instructed staff to target the new RFP release for August. The city will also hold a series of community outreach events as the RFP is developed and through the decision-making process once the RFP has been issued. We will also be soliciting feedback online. A form to provide input is available on the city’s website at stpete.org/gasplant.
More information on the Historic Gas Plant District redevelopment process can be found at stpete.org/gasplant.