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$900M stadium in Tampa will have translucent roof

Check out more images of the proposed stadium at atmlb.com/2L4QDik.

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday unveiled an elaborate plan for a new domed stadium that would take them across Tampa Bay to the Ybor City section of Tampa at a cost of nearly $900 million.

The 30,842-seat stadium would be the smallest in Major League Baseball and would be covered by a fully enclosed and translucent roof, not a retractable dome.

Stuart Sternberg, principal owner of the Rays since 2005, called the plan “a dramatic break from the past” and explained the blueprint as the franchise’s latest attempt to make a long-term commitment to the region.

“That has the best opportunity to happen here in Tampa, at the center of the Tampa Bay region,” Sternberg said. “We believe that baseball cannot only survive but thrive here in Tampa, and Tampa Bay, and all the growth that comes ahead of us.”

The Rays have consistently ranked near the bottom in attendance at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, about 20 miles away from the proposed new site. The Ybor City site is bordered by Channelside Drive on the west, 15th Street on the east, 4th Avenue on the north and Adamo Drive on the south.

No plans were revealed about stadium financing. The Rays, now in their 21st season in the American League, made the presentation partly to solicit corporate support.

“The test is when people see this,” explained Matt Silverman, the club’s president. “If people are getting behind this vision for how our ballpark can look and see how it can feed into Ybor City, if we’re on the same page there, we have a better shot at figuring out the plans.”

Melanie Lenz, the Rays’ chief development officer, calculated the “total project cost” as $892,429,823, 30 percent of which applies to the roof.

Sternberg has said he expects to play at Tropicana Field for at least four or five more years, and a best-case scenario for the opening of the new ballpark would be 2023.

“I think you’re looking at a four-to-five-year buildup, 36 months on the construction side,” Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn said. “Will we live or die based on whether we have this stadium? No. We’re going to be fine with or without it, but I would love to have it.”

By DICK SCANLON
Associated Press

http://www.djc.com/news/search.html?action=get&id=12112712&query=900

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Trupanion to pay $65M for its Georgetown HQ

Pet insurer Trupanion announced that it will sell $60 million in stock to acquire its headquarters building in Georgetown from current landlord Benaroya Co.

The deal is expected to close in August. The company said about 1.8 million shares will be sold, priced at $33 per share.

Proceeds will be used to buy the Benaroya 6100 building at 6100 Fourth Ave. S.

The building has five stories and 227,200 square feet. It was developed in 1975 as a speculative office project by Benaroya, on a little over 2 acres. Benaroya converted it to a warehouse mart and sold it in 1984, then bought it back in 2005 for $26.3 million. After that, the space went back to offices.

Trupanion signed a 10-year lease in 2016, and now occupies about 108,000 square feet. It moved from smaller offices in Ballard. Other tenants include Sur la Table and Aerotec.

Trupanion says it doesn’t plan to rename the building.

The company was founded in 2000 by current CEO Darryl Rawlings, and relocated from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle in 2007. Howard Schultz’s venture capital firm, Maveron, was an early investor.

The company went public in 2014, and now has about 500 employees. Its current market capitalization is about $1.2 billion.

By: Brian Miller

http://www.djc.com/news/re/12112337.html

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Grocery industry reacting to Amazon

By JOSEPH PISANI
AP Business Writer

NEW YORK — Donna Brown visited a Whole Foods for the first time in at least five months with one goal: see how much Amazon had cut prices. She did buy almond milk, yogurt and lunch meat, but doesn’t plan to quit her usual grocers, Walmart and HEB, where she says she finds bigger selections and lower prices.

“I am a comparison shopper,” says Brown, a part-time administrative assistant in Austin, Texas.

Amazon made a splash right away as the new owner of Whole Foods, slashing prices quickly on baby kale, avocados and ground beef. That attracted some customers, but whether shoppers who’ve found cheaper alternatives will come back, or those who never visited will give Whole Foods a try, may help determine what kind of effect the blockbuster deal has on how people get their groceries.

Shoppers who talked with The Associated Press this week say what they want most of all is lower prices and one-stop shopping.

Stores are competing fiercely to attract them. Traditional supermarket chain Kroger stressed earlier this year that it does not plan to “lose on price.” Target is spending billions to remodel its stores and highlight its grocery section. Newer entrants from Europe, such as discounters Aldi and Lidl, are opening more U.S. stores. And Walmart, the country’s largest grocer, is making it easier for customers to order groceries online and pick them up at the store.

Some shoppers say they’re concerned with Amazon’s growing power, while others said the nearest Whole Foods was too far away to be a frequent stop. And while other supermarkets have added aisles of organic and natural products to mimic Whole Foods, the chain still doesn’t sell some consumer favorites like Diet Coke, Bounty towels or other brands people want.

Brown said the “chichi organic stuff” at Whole Foods can’t replace her Clairol hair color or allergy medicine.

“I’m going to gravitate to Walmart,” she said.

Gail Johnson, a pharmacy technician from Cleveland, has never been to a Whole Foods and doesn’t plan to, even after hearing about the price cuts.

“Organic food is real high expensive, but here there’s regular food,” Johnson said while browsing a movie rental kiosk near the Walmart entrance. “They’ve got movies, liquor, beer, ice cream; anything you want.”

Analysts at Citi and JPMorgan Chase say they do expect the price cuts at Whole Foods to make the chain more competitive with rivals and attract more shoppers. And Amazon said the moves last week were just the beginning. It expects to lower prices on more items and will offer discounts to members of its $99-a-year Prime program. More price cuts may also help shake the grocer’s “Whole Paycheck” image.

Knocking a few cents off some items won’t attract new customers since Whole Foods is known to be expensive, said Carol Major, a retired dental assistant who was sitting outside a Trader Joe’s in Philadelphia with two shopping bags.

She likes both stores, but “people who shop (at Whole Foods) aren’t too worried about prices,” she said.

Rachel Manders, a stay-at-home mom who was at a Whole Foods in University Heights, Ohio, likes to stock up on produce there but goes elsewhere for other goods.

“I didn’t see everything discounted,” Manders said. “I got avocados, tomatoes, at a substantial cheaper price than yesterday, so I was happy.”

Some Whole Foods fans were worried about Amazon’s growing influence in their lives.

“It’s going to make me want to go to Whole Foods less because they’re already a corporation, but now they’re part of Amazon, which already owns so many other things,” said Hillary Minor, who recently moved to Seattle, where Amazon.com Inc. is based. “It just seems like it’s taking over.”

U.S. regulators didn’t have a problem with the Amazon and Whole Foods deal, giving the e-commerce giant the go-head last week to acquire Whole Foods for nearly $14 billion. Whole Foods has about 460 stores in the U.S., far fewer than Kroger Co.’s 2,800 locations and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s more than 4,000.

Joshua Cano of Seattle said he’ll stick to Quality Food Centers, a supermarket chain owned by Kroger, even though he says Whole Foods has high-quality food.

“I can come here,” he said, “and spend half the cost and get twice as much food.”

http://www.djc.com/news/ae/12104090.html