SBD/November 15, 2013/Facilities

Tropicana Field Renovation Would Cost $1.3M, Rays Seeking City Approval

Tropicana Field upgrade funding will come from an escrow account the city controls
The Rays' planned upgrades to Tropicana Field, which will include "360-degree 'interior stadium fan access' with the creation of walkways behind the outfield seating areas and opening up what was the dark, glass-fronted Batter's Eye restaurant into an open-air meeting spot with concessions," will have a "$1.3 million price tag," according to city records cited by Waveney Ann Moore of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. The bulk of the money for the "overhaul is coming from a special stadium capital projects escrow account the city controls." The account, which has a balance of $2.1M, is "funded with naming rights revenues and ticket fees as part of the city's contract with the Rays." The team "can't spend money from the account without city approval." The team will ask the City Council to approve the project at its Nov. 25 meeting. St. Petersburg Managing Dir of Development Administration Joe Zeoli said that the team "will be responsible for costs associated with the build-out of concessions in the former Batter's Eye restaurant area." Moore reports though the glass walls "are coming down, there still has to be a dark area in centerfield that provides the hitting background." In the new configuration, that may be "a screen or a mesh banner, and it will be smaller than the fronting of the restaurant, though it will meet league requirements" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/15).

STAYING OUT OF IT: In Tampa, Stephen Nohlgren notes Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on Thursday both said that the league "has no immediate plans to intervene in stadium negotiations between St. Petersburg" and the Rays. Nohlgren notes Selig "expressed impatience in August that the city and the team could not forge an agreement to allow the Rays to explore new stadium sites in Tampa." However, Selig on Thursday at the MLB owners meetings in Orlando "eased off that." He said that "any negotiations right now are 'a club matter'" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/15).
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