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Watch: Ahead Of Tropicana Field Public Hearings, Developers Explain Their Plans

Tropicana Field redevelopment rendering
Courtesy: City of St. Petersburg
An aerial rendering of one of the Tropicana Field site redevelopment plans.

The four finalists showed off everything from community connections to detailed timelines in their last pitches to the city.

The four development teams still in the running to realize their visions for the Tropicana Field site in St. Petersburg released another element in their proposals this week.

When the short list was cut from seven to four earlier this month, the city of St. Petersburg asked the remaining development teams to submit five-minute video pitches to be used in the public comment phase of Mayor Rick Kriseman’s decision process.

On March 23, the city announced new opportunities for residents to voice their opinions on the site redevelopment starting on April 5.

The videos offer a fuller understanding of the proposals with a variety of outlooks in each one — from testimonials from local leaders to a breakdown of a timeline of the proposed redevelopment.

Midtown Developments Tropicana Site Proposal

Midtown Development
(See The Proposal)

Rev. Watson Hayes, president and CEO of the Pinellas County League, narrated Midterm Development’s video. Hayes praised the Miami-based developer for bringing his group in as a partner on the project and discussed his personal story of growing up on the Tropicana Field site.

“I have a vested interest in terms of what’s going to happen at Tropicana Field, so to be involved in this project is about more than just me. It’s an entire family. It is an entire community that I lived with and that I had to give up in order for Tropicana to happen,” Hayes said. “Midtown proved to have the commitment and genuine concern for the project, and so we formed a partnership to bring our shared vision to reality.”

The project focuses on creating space to foster entrepreneurship and job growth and will include intersecting greenways to connect the city.

Portman Holdings/Third Lake Partners Tropicana Site Proposal

Portman Holdings/Third Lake
(See The Proposal)

Local investment group Third Lake Partners and Atlanta developers Portman Holdings and Portman Residential broke down their timeline for redevelopment with a focus on allowing for flexibility with regard to the future of the stadium. The video also touched on the black community that was displaced to create the space for the site and their efforts to work with local communities. The plan features the incorporation of an urban grid to reconnect areas of St. Pete that were disconnected by the original site. Ken Jones, CEO of Third Lake Partners, emphasized his investment group’s local ties.

“It is not just about developing another piece of property. We’ve got great partners, and we are here for the long haul.” Jones said. “It represents an opportunity for us as citizens, not only developers, to really do something for the communities.

Sugar Hill Community Partners Tropicana Site Proposal

Sugar Hill Community Partners
(See The Proposal)

Sugar Hill Community Partners, a group led by San Francisco developer JMA Ventures, made a video that leaned heavily on testimonials from owners of local businesses and groups such as the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. The video highlights the project's focus on reconnecting the surrounding communities, creating affordable housing, and representing the history of the community that was originally displaced.

“Sugar Hill was able to connect the dots and not just connect the dots but connect the history behind the dots that truly made up the full spectrum of what that project was,” said Esther Eugene, president of the St. Petersburg Branch of the NAACP.

Unicorp National Development Tropicana Site Proposal

Unicorp National Developments
(See The Proposal)

The video from Unicorp National Developments is full of comparisons to famous urban parks across the world and discussions of the importance of green space. The focus of its proposed “Petersburg Park” is to increase connectivity within the city and create an outdoor space for the community to gather.

“The one thing we took away from it was there shouldn’t be as much density that was shown in the [RFP] package, and the reason for that is what we heard from the community — what they want,” said Chuck Whittall, president of Unicorp National Developments. “They wanted more park space and more gathering space.”

Community Feedback

The public comment phase of Kriseman’s decision-making process will begin April 5. The city created three ways for residents to give input regarding the proposal.

The first is to attend a virtual or in-person meeting, although attendance in-person will be limited. The first meeting will be virtual on April 5 from 6-8:30 p.m., the second will be April 7 from 6-8:30 p.m. at The Coliseum, and the third is April 8 from 6-8:30 p.m. at The Coliseum.

The second way is to visit an immersive showroom to see proposal summaries and renderings. The showrooms will be active starting April 12 and will be located at the North Library, Mirror Lake Library, JW Cate Rec Center, and Enoch Davis Rec Center.

Finally, residents can leave a comment at www.stpete.org/trop to voice their opinion.

Community feedback will be shared with Kriseman to inform the final development partner selection.

Elizabeth Kauma is the WUSF social media intern for the spring of 2021.
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