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Very imbalanced, fundamentally flawed, concludes Weekly Challenger

[Note to readers: If you agree with the comments below and want to help make sure the residents of St. Petersburg and all of Pinellas County get a fair deal with Rays Hines, we need your help. Please learn more at the bottom of this post.]

On May 17, The Weekly Challenger reported comments of Karyn Mueller and Alan DeLisle, both members of No Home Run, regarding the St. Petersburg's proposed deal for the development of the Gas Plant Site, home to Tropicana Field and the Tampa Bay Rays.

The plan is to build a new baseball stadium, and for the City of St. Petersburg to sell the current parking lot to Rays and Hines (a major private developer) to develop for offices, residential and other mixed-use purposes. You can read our Full Analysis Here - a $2.4 billion giveaway - $6,000 cost for every man, woman and child in St. Petersburg.

In Weekly Challenger article, Very imbalanced: fundamentally flawed, Mueller and DeLisle point out a number of the flaws in the proposal that need to be rectified:

  1. Rays/Hines will only be paying $105 million for the developable land, which is significantly below its true value. "The city is giving away land..."

  2. The city is paying for all infrastructure (roads, etc.) at a cost of ~ $130 million... "unheard of in a as strong as St. Pete and site adjacent to such a robust and vital downtown."

  3. The city will be diverting real estate tax dollars to help pay for the stadium. However, where will the city find the money to make its budget priorities without these funds? Increased taxes are the likely result.

  4. Affordable housing - so important to keeping our city vibrant. Nevertheless, the proposed deal only promises to start construction of 100 units by 2028, and no more are promised to start construction until 2042.

  5. The stadium is slated for completion by 2028 but the rest of the development won't be completed until 2054. That's a long time to wait for promised outcomes.

  6. The proposed deal only provides for a goal of 10% minority business participation. "I almost fell off my chair...and 10% is not required, just a goal..." Many of the advocates required a 20% to 30% - and not just a goal, but a requirement.

  7. There is no provision for what happens to the city if the owner of the Rays sells the team. Would the city get back its investment or would the owner get all the increased value?

  8. Only 10 acres of open space are provided. DeLisle said that under a previous plan he worked on, the plan required 24.7 acres of parkland.

  9. Finally, a fatal flaw in the agreement, is that the developer cannot be terminated even if they fail to perform and default.

"You have got to go back to the table and make a better deal for the city and city residents."

What do you think? If you agree this deal needs work... we need to let our City Council know - vote no for this deal - we need a better deal.

How do you let your concerns known to the pivotal City Council Members who will likely be the key votes? How can you easily communicate to them to VOTE NO on the current proposal and go back to the negotiating table to create a fair deal? We need hundreds of letters - it's easy. Contact them on this page and we'll be sure that they hear from you.


What You Can Do

We need a fair deal for St. Petersburg. If you agree, let your concerns be known to the pivotal St. Petersburg City Council members whose votes will likely decide our fate. Contact them HERE and we'll be sure that they hear from you ...


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