Welch, St. Pete announce details on new RFP for Gas Plant/Trop site redevelopment

Welch, St. Pete announce details on new RFP for Gas Plant/Trop site redevelopment

An aerial view of the Tropicana Field site
Photo courtesy City of St. Pete

St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch is making good on his promise to quickly move forward with the redevelopment of the Gas Plant District and Tropicana Field site. After announcing that the city was putting together a new request for proposals (RFP) for the historic neighborhood earlier this summer, a series of public discussions were hosted as they gathered feedback on the changing needs of city residents.

On Friday, that culminated in the release of the new RFP, which has a few key differences from the original RFP commissioned some years ago. Primarily, this new RFP places a heavy emphasis on affordable housing, minority-owned businesses and contractors, and the inclusion of a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Those plans for the Rays are new, as the previous RFP allowed submissions without a stadium. Now, the RFP requires a 17.3-acre space specifically for “an integrated new, state-of-the-art baseball stadium.” Welch and the city believe it is necessary to demonstrate to the MLB that St. Petersburg wants and will support the team on a permanent, long-term basis.

Proposals are due to the city by November 18, and Welch has said previously that he expects to have a development team selected by the end of 2022. Included in the city’s announcement is a caveat that “Mayor Welch may select a proposal without discussion if it is determined to be in the public interest for intended site use.”

Affordable housing is a primary focus of new RFP

From Welch himself on the new RFP: “This is an historic opportunity for our city to utilize a generational redevelopment opportunity to ensure equitable opportunity for all residents, visitors, businesses and stakeholders. With this new RFP we are calling for a significant emphasis on affordable and workforce housing; arts and culture; research, innovation, and ] education; recreation; open space, healthy and sustainable development; and intentional equity. We look forward to receiving and reviewing proposals as we prepare for this once-in-a lifetime opportunity.”

Welch and the city have emphasized that the biggest change to this new RFP is a significantly-increased emphasis on affordable housing. Welch addressed the changing needs of St. Pete as the reason for commissioning new proposals, and the current housing issues are at the top of that list.

More from the City: “Successful proposals will prioritize housing affordability, maximize the number of affordable and workforce units on site, and demonstrate significant positive impact for St. Petersburg residents. Innovative solutions to address the City’s housing goals and this site should include a mix of housing that addresses the needed supply for very-low income, low-income, moderate-income, and middle-income households.

“Proposers are encouraged to look towards additional solutions, such as providing affordable and workforce units off-site; partnering with other entities to provide additional units off-site, including rental and ownership product; and/or making a financial contribution to the construction of affordable units citywide.”

More information on the process can be found here.


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