Photo of Ybor City in Tampa, Florida.

Image Credit: Doug Kerr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan has all but confirmed the Channel District-Ybor City area as the future site of the Tampa Bay Rays’ home stadium. At the moment, the county is trying to acquire the land from multiple landowners which has been the largest obstacle. The next biggest obstacle is how the team will fund the stadium’s construction while not relying too heavily on the local taxpayers for the revenue.

Hillsborough County has also been in touch with Goldman Sachs, the bank that will finance the stadium’s construction as well as Populous, the architectural firm that will design the stadium. Populous is based in Kansas City, Missouri and recently designed SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves. Hillsborough County’s legal team was in frequent contact with the Tampa Bay Rays organization before the start of the 2017 MLB season. Since then, talks between the county and the Rays have cooled. In all likelihood, new stadium talks between the two parties will resume when the regular season ends in five weeks.

Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg previously stated that all five of the organization’s preferred locations were unavailable. Perhaps the most desirable location was “The Heights” a mixed-use area located in downtown Tampa. The potential Ybor City site is located off Nuccio Parkway and is within walking distance of downtown Tampa, Florida as well as the TECO street car line. The Tampa Bay Rays are also possibly remaining silent on new ballpark talks due to the ongoing St. Petersburg mayoral race. You can bet that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and the rest of his front office are watching these negotiations closely. The league holds the construction of new stadiums for the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics as two of it's highest priorities.

A few days ago, a story broke about the county using federal transit revenue to pay for the new stadium's construction. Paying for the stadium’s construction will likely mirror what the Atlanta Braves did when they erected SunTrust Park. Cobb County, Georgia borrowed just under $400 million to finance the stadium while the Atlanta Braves owners contributed another $230 million. Our staff actually visited SunTrust Park last weekend and were completely blown away at the stadium as well as the surrounding neighborhood called “The Battery Atlanta”. Read our review of SunTrust Park.





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