Mayor Rick Kriseman announced at a press conference on Thursday morning in Campbell Park that Midtown Development was selected to redevelop the Tropicana Field site. Pictured is Creekside Banyan Village: Retail, micro-retail, dining, and entertainment in the surrounds of nature.
BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – Thursday morning, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced that Midtown Development would serve as the developer of the Tropicana Field Site. This selection is the next step in a more than five-year process of extensive community engagement, visioning, and master planning.
“We have worked hard to ensure that this has been an inclusive, community-driven process,” said Kriseman, stressing that the city will honor the past while pursuing the future.
“That future includes a development that provides jobs, mixed-income housing, office space, entertainment, and emphasis on the creek, the natural environment, and the Pinellas Trail,” he said.
Mayor Kriseman stressed it is “critically important” that the City of St. Petersburg honors the promises made more than 40 years ago.
Those promises began on Sept. 7, 1978, when city council passed a resolution declaring the African American Gas Plant neighborhood a redevelopment area and adopted a written proposal that included affordable housing and an industrial park that would create between 620 and 688 new jobs.
Hundreds of homes were razed, along with businesses, churches, schools and cemeteries. The city did not keep its promises and built a baseball stadium atop Black lives.
“We have done much these past eight years to achieve our goal to create a more equitable St. Pete, but there remains much work to do. That means moving forward with the process to redevelop the Tropicana Field site, with or without a baseball stadium,” Kriseman said.
Alex Vadia, principal of Midtown Development, said they are excited to work with Mayor-elect Ken Welch, city council, Pinellas County, the Rays, the Pinellas County Urban League (PCUL), community groups, and leaders to implement the 21 principles in their plan.
For the 86-acre site, the developer’s “Creekside” plan is slated to cost $2.7 billion (mid- density) or $3.8 billion (high-density). Mid-density would include 6,220,068 square feet of residential space, with high-density clocking in around 8,509,534 square feet.
The square footage should yield approximately 6,000 and 8,000 homes in terms of units. The affordable units will be the greater of 1,000 units or 20 percent of the overall housing units.
Of the first 1,000 units delivered, 100 units will be at or below 30 percent AMI, 700 units will be at or below 80 percent AMI, and 200 units at or below workforce housing level (120 percent AMI). This proportion of affordable and workforce units will be applied to any additional units over the first 1,000.
The mid-density development program will generate approximately 16,000 jobs, creating direct, indirect, and induced jobs of 39,784 and economic output of $7.4 billion. The high-density model will generate about 20,000 jobs, creating direct, indirect, and induced jobs of 49,667 and economic output of $9.1 billion.
Midtown Development will purchase the property for $60 million and spend $168.8 million in infrastructure, including the city’s $75 million TIF contribution. Community benefit programs are allotted $22.5 million, bringing the net financial impact to the city of $176,317,912.
Property tax revenue to the city will result in approximately $17,600,000 – $24,000,000 annually, depending on density, which will result in property tax revenue of $352 – $480 million over 20 years, at full buildout.
“This is only the beginning of a multi-generational project for the future of St. Petersburg,” said Vadia. “Most importantly, we’re eager to continue our engagement efforts together with the PCUL, our strategic partners, to begin unlocking benefits to the community as soon as possible.”
The PCUL is Midtown Development’s strategic partner in the redevelopment of the Tropicana Field and will be the lead stakeholder for equity and inclusion for the project. The PCUL will oversee and administer Creekside’s local hiring and training programs, equitable development modeling and initiatives, housing programs, and “Unlocking Opportunities,” a $10 million grant for minority and BIPOC-owned small businesses, to name a few.
“Our mission at the Pinellas County Urban League is to empower and create and foster economic and social opportunities for our community,” said Rev. Watson Haynes II, PCUL president. “We decided to work with Midtown because their long-term approach to real estate investment and development aligns with what we believe benefits communities the most.”
Haynes, whose childhood sat where third base is currently, said instead of Midtown Development showing them “their vision for the redevelopment of the site, they asked us to build that vision with them.”
Kriseman said redeveloping the site is a generational project that will transcend administrations. “I may be the first mayor to hand this off, but I won’t be the last.”
Mayor-elect Welch issued a statement regarding Kriseman’s recommendation for a Trop site development plan.
“Mayor Kriseman has worked hard to develop thoughtful and promising plans for the future of the Tropicana Field site. As mayor, I plan to put the same amount of effort in evaluating those plans as well as new ideas and moving forward with a version that capitalizes on St. Petersburg’s incredible momentum and reconnects our community.”