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Saturday, November 17, 2007
Rays say stadium would promote $1 billion in investment

Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A new waterfront stadium and redeveloped Tropicana Field could bring $1 billion in investment to St. Petersburg's economy, according to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The city released a 600-page document on Friday outlining the team's plans for the proposed $450 million ballpark and the redevelopment of the Rays' current home.

The plan would create 2,500 permanent jobs and 14,000 temporary construction-related jobs. The redevelopment of Tropicana Field would attract a million square feet of new retail, office and residential development. That would generate more than $800 million in new property and sales tax revenue over the next 35 years, according to the document.

The figures are from an Oct. 22 letter to the city from Michael Kalt, the team's senior vice president for development and business affairs. The letter was part of the document release on Friday.

"We have spent almost a year developing a plan which we believe will not only solidify the future of the Rays in St. Petersburg for decades to come, but, more importantly, will also serve as a powerful economic development engine for the continued growth and expansion of the downtown core," Kalt wrote.

The Rays envision a 35,000-seat stadium on the current site of Al Lang Field, the longtime spring training facility the Rays are leaving next year. The team would like to see a new park in use as early as 2012. Preliminary plans call for the new stadium to be open, but equipped with sail-like material on a cabling system for when it rains.