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City officials select firm to oversee $6.5 billion redevelopment

Mark Parker



A Community Benefits Council approved the the Tampa Bay Rays/Hines development team's proposed benefits package after several much debate and multiple amendments. Image provided.

A global company with a prominent local footprint will continue helping shape St. Petersburg’s future by ensuring the Historic Gas Plant District’s $6.5 redevelopment meets the city’s expectations.

Seven city officials and about 15 representatives from four companies vying to serve as the city’s owner’s representative gathered downtown at the Municipal Services building Thursday (Dec. 21) afternoon. The selected firm would negotiate with the Tampa Bay Rays/Hines development team, provide technical and professional oversight, ensure hiring goals are met and serve as the “central point of contact.”

New York-based Skanska USA will now perform those and myriad other functions on the city’s behalf throughout the 20-year redevelopment project. It is not the first time the firm will serve as an owner’s representative on a potential Rays stadium project.

Brian Caper, director of economic and workforce development, said he found nothing to criticize in the company’s proposal or presentation. “I think the team has such significant experience on a wide range of project types, many in St. Petersburg,” he said.

“I think their response to the question about the XBEs (disadvantaged business enterprises) was really spot-on – it was just very thoughtful.”

The Tampa Sports Authority hired Skanska to explore Tampa Bay Rays stadium opportunities “across the bay.” Screengrab/proposal.

Skanska’s Tampa office has led several recent, prominent projects across the bay. Those include the $92 million St. Petersburg Pier, Jabil’s $57 million new headquarters and the $111 million Marina Club Apartments.

The latter provided much-valued mixed-use development experience. Skanska’s resume also includes several sports venues – notably, MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and Jets.

Eight firms competed to oversee the momentous 76.2-acre project anchored by a new Rays ballpark. Skanska received the highest scores through the initial evaluations.

The committee also named Turner Townsend Heery, Hollins Consulting and Rawlins Infra Consult as finalists.

Skanska’s leadership allayed any previous concerns in the second round, which included in-person interviews.

“Their score went up based on their presentation,” said James Corbett, city development administrator. “I found myself wanting to extend the time.”

Corbett said Skanska’s wealth of ongoing projects led to availability concerns. However, the company’s project lead said he would “clear the deck” and exclusively focus on the Gas Plant redevelopment.

City architect Raul Quintana credited Skanska’s team for explaining how their construction experience would translate to the city’s role in public outreach. He also noted the company’s extensive history with the Rays/Hines development group.

Quintana said Skanska understood and addressed potential stormwater challenges around the site without prior instruction. “They’re starting to project and advance thoughts that we know are concerns – but probably not at a level we anticipated,” he added.

James Jackson, senior project coordinator, said the owner’s representative must provide knowledge and expertise city officials lack. He said it was “clear” that Skanska’s team would help them avoid future pitfalls.

Skanska’s proposal prominently featured an image of the Plymouth Street Playground in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The facility is part of an expansive recreational complex and helps kids learn motor and social skills. Screengrab.

The Catalyst obtained a letter addressed to the city’s purchasing manager and selection committee and signed by Skanska senior vice presidents Curtis Elswick and Chuck Jablon. They said the Gas Plant redevelopment will “celebrate the power of partnership, inclusive progress and local community.”

“We value our partnership with the City of St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay Rays and Pinellas County, and have been eager to help shape this important new era for the region and the Tampa Bay Rays for more than a decade,” they wrote. “Delivering world-class services to the City of St. Petersburg is equally as important as delivering an outstanding destination.”

The firm has previous experience serving as an owner’s representative for a new Rays ballpark. The Tampa Sports Authority hired Skanska to explore stadium opportunities “on the other side of the bay.”

According to its proposal, Skanska worked closely with the Rays, Hines, a design team and other stakeholders to “create viable solutions” that maximize redevelopment opportunities. The firm also identified potential infrastructure needs and issues and helped develop a budget.

“This experience gives significant insight and understanding of the various factors around the Tampa Bay Rays vision for the new stadium and surrounding development,” stated the proposal.




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  1. Avatar


    December 24, 2023at12:28 pm

    That’s a real good point there, Velva! The city BETTER get the language right then, by having some very STRICT ‘stipulations’ in that contract concerning budget and who’s responsible for ANY and ALL overages, etc. 💯 Now, WHY would you say such a thang like THAT, Ryan Todd!?

  2. Avatar

    Ryan Todd

    December 23, 2023at8:31 am

    Kill this deal, city council.
    No more Rays in St. Pete.

  3. Avatar

    Velva Heraty

    December 23, 2023at2:26 am

    Alarmed to learn this was the team that developed our Pier at 60 plus million over budget. If they can’t bring a simple structure like the pier in on budget then clearly they aren’t as competent as people say. Sounds like an “Old Boys Club” to me.

  4. Avatar


    December 22, 2023at5:22 pm

    Hideous. A $6 billion Baywalk. Remember how that turned out.

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