The $100 mil Bob Buckhorn thinks he can spend on Rays stadium is more like $50 mil, expert says

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With the increasing talk of a move by the Tampa Bay Rays from St. Petersburg to Tampa, Neil deMause in the Field of Schemes blog noticed something a little unusual in a Tampa Tribune editorial:  A number of $100 million floated as Community Redevelopment Area money.

Calling it “slush Tax Increment Finance-style fund” used to designate downtown property taxes for development projects, deMause wrote that the stadium Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn wants is $100 million, but only worth half that when spread out over 30 years.

The difference is extremely important.

Over 30 years, $100 million could fund around $50 million or so upfront, depending on the interest rate the city takes on stadium bonds. This assumes as much as $600 million, with Rays owner Stuart Sternberg ponying up $200 million, a number deMause feels comes “out of thin air.”

That leaves around $350 million unaccounted for, even if Buckhorn manages to loosen CRA money from other projects.

The Rays would also need to pay off St. Petersburg for breaking their lease, according to City Council Chairman Karl Nurse, if this move should occur before 2027.

It seems that picking a stadium site in Tampa is the easy part. Deciding which city taxpayers will get the biggest hit? That’s another thing entirely.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.