YBOR CITY, Fla. -- Portions of Ybor City surrounding the site of the proposed Rays ballpark could see some changes if the project is approved.
- RELATED: Rays unveil Ybor City stadium details
- $90 million of proposed total project cost would go to community development
- Portion of cost to come from taxpayers unclear
The entire construction project is expected to cost about $900 million. $90 million of that money is slated to develop nearby communities, team officials said.
Steven Bernstein, chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, called the move a “game-changer.”
“It really provides the first opportunity for a direct link between the downtown corridor and Ybor City by way of a true commercial district,” Bernstein said.
Team executives unveiled renderings of the new stadium to a group of invited guests and reporters in Downtown Tampa Monday afternoon. The new stadium, which seats 28,216, would have a translucent roof, a parking garage and a bridge.
Tropicana Field, the current stadium of the Rays based in St. Petersburg, seats 42,735.
The proposed stadium would be used year-round, with open access for fans. USF Economics Instructor Chris Jones says that’s a new strategy owners of sports franchises are betting on.
“That does create positive stimulus, not only for the fan experience but for residents and businesses within the surrounding area,” Jones said. “The more you can make that facility a revenue-generating event, the better likelihood you have for it to have a positive return on investment.”
Some stadiums have struggled to see that return. Marlins Park in Miami cost over $500 million, but critics say the anticipated economic development boom never happened.
The new Rays ballpark is expected to cost about $800 million before the additional surrounding development. It’s unclear how much of that will be paid with taxpayer money.