TAMPA — Michael Kalt, the Tampa Bay Rays’ executive behind the team’s stadium efforts, is departing for a job running an investment office for some of the Rays’ general partners.
Kalt, 39, joined the Rays in 2006 and became the face of the baseball club in stadium discussions. For example, he met for months with a St. Petersburg committee called the ABC Coalition that ultimately decided the team needs a new stadium. The committee also suggested that downtown Tampa, Tampa’s West Shore area and the Gateway/Carillon area of St. Petersburg offered the best possible locations.
Kalt is a native New Yorker and has been traveling between New York and St. Petersburg in his role as senior vice president of development and business affairs. His new job will let him stay in New York full-time, especially important because he and his wife have a 14-month-old son.
From New York, he’ll run a private investment company that will screen investment opportunities for a few members of the Rays’ six-member chief ownership group. Principal Rays owner Stuart Sternberg is not among the investors in Kalt’s new venture, he said. Many of the investments likely will be in real estate, Kalt said.
Sternberg praised Kalt in a prepared statement.
“Michael’s contributions and leadership during the past eight years have been invaluable to the growth of the Rays’ organization,” Sternberg said. “He has influenced and bettered nearly every aspect of our business. His presence and guidance will be sorely missed.”
Before coming to the Rays, Kalt spent three years in the administration of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, advising the city’s deputy mayor for economic development. That job included working on new ballparks for both the New York Yankees and Mets. He also worked for management consultant McKinsey & Co.
Aside for serving as the Rays’ point man on their stadium efforts, Kalt also helped oversee the team’s development of a new spring training campus in Port Charlotte.
Kalt said he wasn’t sure on Friday who the Rays will get to replace him.
People who dealt with Kalt on stadium affairs described him as sharp, with a strong command of baseball economics.
“I thought he was a very straight-forward, very smart representative of the Rays,” said Craig Sher, a member of the ABC Coalition.