The St. Petersburg City Council approved a proposal for a $1.3 million makeover at Tropicana Field.
The Rays are planning an open-air 360-degree meeting spot with concessions behind the outfield seating. The new area would be where the the dark, glass-fronted Batter's Eye restaurant currently sits beyond center field.
However, the team needed the city council's approval before making the renovations.
Despite the ongoing disagreements between the Rays and the city about the future of the Trop, there is still an obligation to fulfill the existing contract. That includes making improvements to the structure at the city's cost.
Other improvements would include new exterior awnings, renovated restrooms, improved plumbing and new paint inside the Trop. The price tag on all of the upgrades would be about $1.3 million.
"This is part of the use agreement," Councilman Jim Kennedy said. "They're going to be allowing fans to transgress around the outfield and always be able to see the playing field."
The money would come out of a fund that collects revenue from ticket sales and naming rights.
The upgrades could come as negotiations to keep the Rays at the Trop seem to be running out of steam.
"I've been a season ticket holder for the Rays since the inaugural year," Kennedy said. "Hopefully this becomes a foundation upon which we've had discussions and agreements and we can move forward on this."
Even after the approval of the renovations, the fund for future improvements at the facility still contains more than $1 million.
The renovations are expected to be completed before Opening Day 2014.