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USF explores 'tech' campus with Tampa General Hospital on redeveloped Tropicana Field site

The Tampa Bay Rays have yet to announce where they will play once their Tropicana Field lease expires in 2027 but have said the aging stadium is not an option.

University of South Florida officials sent a letter to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman asking to be a part of the redevelopment conversation.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has said he hopes to pick a developer for the Tropicana Field site soon, as his term ends just after the new year.

So this week, University of South Florida informed the city of their interest in being included in whichever plan he chooses.

USF officials sent a letter to the mayor, mentioning a potential "tech" campus on the site, as well as opportunities with USF Health and Tampa General Hospital.

“We ultimately see a tremendous opportunity for our community and remain committed to working with the City of St. Petersburg,” the letter said.

Tropicana Field is the home of baseball's Tampa Bay Rays, who have yet to announce where they will play once their lease expires in 2027 but have said the aging stadium is not an option. They have pushed a plan to split seasons with new stadiums in the Tampa area and Montreal.

The university has closely followed the several-year-long process to redevelop the site after the Rays move out, said Martin Tadlock, the regional chancellor for the USF St. Petersburg campus. Now it wants the region's leading university to be part of the conversation.

"We want to be at the table whenever we talk about opportunities to be of service to the people who really support the university, financially and otherwise, because we are that public institution that represents the people," he said.

As Kriseman's decision between two finalists nears, USF felt it was the right time to enter the public conversation, Tadlock said.

"I think the reason to make it public now is because is that time for a decision to be made about the developers that have proposals under consideration, both talk about an educational presence within their proposals."

Kriseman said he will announce soon which of the proposals he prefers.

City council members have pushed back on Kriseman's timeline, saying the city's future with the Tampa Bay Rays should be made before the stadium site is rebuilt.

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