It's no secret that the Tampa Bay Rays need a new stadium. Three weeks ago, the first step in a fairly drawn-out process to get that stadium was reached when Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan announced a Ybor City site was acquired.
14 acres in the Ybor City-Channelside District, as pictured in its current state above, is where Hagan plans to build a new Rays stadium. A mere 25 miles from the Rays current home in St. Petersburg and built in an area with nearly double the population within a 10-minute drive of stadium grounds.
The next step of course, and most difficult perhaps will be funding this project which is expected to cost somewhere between $600-$700 million.
Many have expressed their concerns about parking and surrounding retail or attractions space in the immediate area of this particular location. The renderings do seem to indicate that it could be a tight squeeze and with Tampa's severe lack of mass transit, it certainly could present an issue.
However, as pictured above, this potential site looks to be an ideal situation for those concerned about traveling to and from the game. This site provides easy access to both directions of Interstate 275, Interstate 4, and the Selmon Expressway which connects straight through Brandon. An easy 10-15 minute drive for fans in Eastern Hillsborough County, another severely populated area of importance.
The finished product looking anything like the above seems to be the perfect scenario for the both the Tampa Bay Rays and fans throughout the Tampa Bay region. This site checks all the boxes and will be something to keep close track of as more and more developments and proposals come forward in the coming months. One thing is for certain though, this must get done. Sooner than later is preferred.
All photos courtesy of TBO.com and WFLA