St. Pete and Rays stadium talks underway - WFLA News Channel 8

St. Pete and Rays stadium talks underway

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

The stalemate between the City of St. Petersburg and the Rays baseball team over stadium talks appears to be over. St. Petersburg City Councilman Karl Nurse said conversations have been going on for six months.

"The challenge now is getting lawyers to translate those conversations into a deal," said Nurse.

The Rays have expressed concern about the low attendance at Tropicana Field despite the team's winning performance. But the city wants to keep the team bound to a contract to play at the Trop through 2027.

Talks stalled several months ago because the city refused to allow the Rays to look at possible locations in Tampa to build a new stadium.

According to Councilman Nurse, the latest talks center around an agreement that would allow the team to look across the Bay, acknowledging it doesn't negate the contract with St. Petersburg. As part of the deal, the team would take a serious look at the Gateway area as a possible future stadium site. In August last year, CityScape developers presented a proposal to build a stadium on 12 acres of vacant land at Carillon, off Ulmerton Rd.

"If the team takes a serious look at Tampa and the Gateway area, I think the Gateway area's strongest point is it's ability to handle traffic," said Nurse. "There are half a dozen transportation projects already in the works for the Gateway area."

Speaking to reporters before last night's Rays VS Red Sox game in Boston, owner Stuart Sternberg answered questions about the stadium issue, according to Rick Vaughn, team spokesman. Published reports say Sternberg confirmed talks with the city were ongoing, but he would not elaborate.

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