Midtown Statement following Mayor’s Welch’s Cancelation of Trop RFP
St. Petersburg, Fla – Below is a statement by Midtown Development principal Alex Vadia following St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch’s announcement today that he is canceling the original Request For Proposal (RFP) for the redevelopment of Tropicana Field.
“Midtown Development has been honored to spend the last few years working with our partners in the City of St. Petersburg on the Tropicana Field RFP. We have made many friends in the St. Petersburg Community, including Watson Haynes of the Pinellas County Urban League. We are truly grateful for their friendship. We wish Mayor Ken Welch and the residents of the City of St. Petersburg all the best in their future efforts to redevelop Tropicana Field.” – Alex Vadia, Midtown Development
The city of St. Petersburg is putting the brakes on the current Tropicana Field re-development process, and starting a completely new effort in mid-August.
Mayor Ken Welch says too much has changed since the initial RFP (request for proposal) was issued in July of 2020, and he's now planning to pick a developer for the site's 86 acres by the end of the year.
Among the new conditions that must be considered, according to Welch:
- 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.
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has said there's an "urgency" about the Tampa Bay stadium situation, but Welch doesn't see it that way. "I think we have plenty of time," Welch said. "It's 2022. I plan to select a developer by the end of this year, and that gives us plenty of time to work out a deal that's best for the community, and best for a new Rays stadium as well.
Still, Welch said he understands there's a "true, real time constraint" because the Rays' lease at Tropicana Field ends in 2027. "We are very mindful of that. However, this is a generational project that has to be done right," Welch said.
Welch said he was impressed by proposals from the two finalists, Midtown Development and Sugar Hill Community Partners, and said they're both welcome to submit new bids.
photo: Getty Images