Reprinted without any permission or warning from this article, BY CHARLIE FRAGO
– TIMES STAFF WRITER
ST. PETERSBURG — When you think Tampa Bay, you think water, right?
So how about a new waterfront baseball stadium that’s in St. Petersburg but close to Tampa, complete with boat slips, a marina and bay views?
The Snug Harbor site on Gandy Boulevard could be just the latest fresh face in a parade of locations discussed and dismissed since 2008, but it has some advantages:
At 39 acres, it’s large enough for a stadium and all the extras the Rays envision. It’s owned by a local couple who wants to sell, which could simplify negotiations. The nearby roads are already slated for substantial improvements, easing access to the somewhat isolated property. It’s a natural stop for the proposed Tampa to St. Petersburg ferry, if that initiative ever materializes. It’s also in a county that has already reserved bed tax money for a new ballpark.
And, perhaps most importantly, the Rays are interested.
“This is certainly one of many sites that we’re taking a serious look at,” said Melanie Lenz, who is leading the Rays’ effort to find a new stadium. She said the team learned of the site a few months ago, though she declined to detail the site’s pros and cons.
In recent months, leaders of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce contacted the property owners, Ronald and Deborah Roseman of Belleair Shore, who assembled the land more than a decade ago. The energy magnate and his wife agreed to add the former mobile home park to the list of potential stadium sites.
The Rosemans did not return a call for comment. Colliers International Tampa Bay is marketing the property for $30 million and calling it a “one of a kind development opportunity in Tampa Bay.”
“You could get in your boat and go to a game from Tampa,” said David Bernstein, an attorney who represents the Rosemans. “You could get in your boat and go to a game from St. Petersburg.”