A $6.5B, 8-million-square-foot mega-project in St. Petersburg has taken a big step forward as the City Council approved a 30-year development agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays for a new MLB ballpark.

The preliminary approval of the development agreement sets the stage for what the council hopes will be a formal approval next month of the overall project, a partnership between the city, Pinellas County, the Rays and Houston-based Hines that would build the largest mixed-use development in St. Petersburg's history, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

In September, the partnership unveiled its plans for the development, which would be built on the 86-acre site of Tropicana Field. The Trop, the quirky domed stadium that has been home to the Rays since 1998, is famous for low-hanging light fixtures that sometimes redirect fly balls in fair territory.

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