Richmond’s renovation proposal would demolish and replace baseball stadium | Economic news

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JOHN O’CONNOR Richmond Times-Dispatch

The city’s publication of a 163-page Request for Interest on Tuesday invites development teams to participate in the redevelopment of North Arthur Ashe Boulevard and clearly sends the message that the new stadium will be the anchor for the Diamond District project.

There are retail, residential and commercial components, but all of them are connected in various ways to the centerpiece of the stadium which will be shared by the flying squirrels of Richmond, VCU and other events such as baseball and concerts at the high school, according to the report.

The 67 acres identified for redevelopment, pending a secured funding plan and city council approval, will be known as the Diamond District despite the fact that The Diamond, Richmond’s baseball stadium since 1985, will be demolished in part of the plan.

The city’s demand-of-interest report offered detailed information about the new baseball stadium that had never been seen before, such as its capacity (10,000, with 8,000 fixed seats), a schedule (available for the 2025 season), 20 private suites , 500 club seats, the potential cost of $ 80 million (the target appears to be 60% public and 40% private), and the location (just south of The Diamond on Arthur Ashe Boulevard).

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Lou DiBella, chairman and managing partner of The Flying Squirrels, called the plan a “benchmark moment” for the franchise, and regarding funding, he suggested surrounding counties likely would be partners.

Another idea from the city’s request for interest document:

The estimated cost to shave The Diamond was at least $ 2.75 million. It cost $ 8 million to build The Diamond before the 1985 season.

Regarding The Diamond, the report states: “The age of the stadium has made the facility functionally obsolete … Without a major renovation or a new stadium meeting standards (updates), MLB could cancel the team’s affiliation. and require it to be sold or relocated to a new market with a compliant stage.

This assessment in the city report was done by AECOM, an infrastructure consultancy firm.

To get an idea of ​​the scope and costs associated with a new urban stadium, the city looked at the baseball stadiums in these cities: Birmingham, Ala. ; St. Paul, Minn., Charlotte; Toledo, Ohio; Worcester, Mass., Durham, North Carolina

According to the city, “A new minor-league baseball stadium is also a natural companion for Richmond’s booming restaurant, craft drinks and niche entertainment scenes, encouraging fans to linger before and after games. for meals and interactive activities for all ages.

The report addresses the possibility that Richmond will once again host Triple-A baseball, the highest level in minors, rather than Double-A. The Double-A Flying Squirrels have been in Richmond since 2010. They’ve followed decades of baseball at Richmond Triple-A.

“Although in general Class AAA teams attract more participation than Class AA teams, it is assumed that the participation of the Flying Squirrels will effectively be the same regardless of the level at which the team is playing. “

The Flying Squirrels average around 6,000 fans per home game, of which around 80% live out of town.

Almost without exception new stages come with a naming rights partner, a company that typically accepts a 10 to 20 year deal. The stadium is also expected to generate sponsorship income through the sale of naming rights for parts of the stadium.


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