Monday, June 8, 2009

Rays Stadium

I've posted the following to the St. Pete Times Editor, in response to today's editorial.  (see the link above)

The current discussion about future regional growth focuses on transit, infill and redevelopment.  The Stadium should be the leader in that shift, and a downtown location is the place to do it.

Think small and think urban.  The problem with the Trop is that it’s too big, and too suburban.  


The new stadium must be smaller, but so must the scale of development that goes with it.  The mammoth mixed-use project that would be needed to make the stadium succeed in any of the “new” locations is untenable.  In downtown, however, the supporting development of restaurants, offices and residential can be accomplished in smaller increments, by a constellation of smaller developers and investors, building on what is already there.


It's not enough simply to locate the stadium downtown, it has to be part of downtown.  Remake the current site as an urban environment.  1) reconnect the street grid, creating a dozen or more new blocks; 2) build the new stadium closer to downtown, and pull it right up to the street 3) locate a TBARTA rail station nearby, configure the area’s streets to absorb more game-day parking, and bury whatever dedicated parking is left in a mid-block garage, shared with other uses.

The financial model of this approach is far more reasonable than the alternative sites.  It requires much less public investment and risk, increases community buy in, and enhances the city’s most valuable asset:  Downtown. 

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