Theophrastus Bombastus

PROPOSED: North Downtown/Baseball Stadium Development

205 posts in this topic


Most of the fanbase of the rock cats live in the suburb. convincing them to go into the city and pay for parking will not be easy. Everytime i have gone the stadium is full so attendance is not the reason for moving. if the move is going to happen, i am curious how the stadium is going to look and if the will incorporate the ct river/city wisely into the design.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just gotta point out that I posted this YEARS ago in here including a cheesy rendering any everything at that exact location.

 

this is BY FAR the most economical use of city/state funds to get vibrancy in Hartford.

 

minor league stadiums typically are reasonably priced, and they bring 6000 people to town 75 days a year

I think the state has given like 20 -25 million for each of the ones we have.

 

so for relatively minimal investment you can totally help the local businesses out and create an excelent before and after game experience

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of the fanbase of the rock cats live in the suburb. convincing them to go into the city and pay for parking will not be easy. Everytime i have gone the stadium is full so attendance is not the reason for moving. if the move is going to happen, i am curious how the stadium is going to look and if the will incorporate the ct river/city wisely into the design.

 

that is a mixed bag

 

first, you will surely lose some of the West Suburbs in terms of draw, but you gain considerable access for those to the east and North who currently have to deal with annoying traffic issues.  (The South is not really affected because Rt 9 and 91 are a draw

 

Second... Can we say corporate team building activities?

this is a gold mine when it comes to the corporate presense and use for team building.

 

Also, I am certain this will be part of the CRDA Sports Venue program thing and the CRDA/State owns the Morgan Street Garage...

 

they also now own Church Street Garage, and would surely own any new Arena garage..

 

Edited by The Voice of Reason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I first heard about this late last year when the proposed site was on Market St and the whole thing had been kept quiet. I was unaware the site had been moved to Main and Trumbull. I think it's a great idea and a great location. I also think this is much further along than the mayor of New Britain thinks.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I first heard about it as a deal with The Hartford as a way to use their Ct Mutual property better.

 

The head of facilities that was there I think was a proponent, but the past owners of the rock cats were not.

 

that guy is not there any more, I know and the idea was already rejected by the cats and maybe the city.

 

 

 

this one I guarantee has CRDA involved.  

 

the afore mentioned garages being game changers and also the fact that 3 new items were added to the CRDA agend with no news.  referred to as 3 new projects.  I am guessing this might have been one of them.

 

CRDA has been everywhere in sports too with tennis, uconn football and the XL, so it would be zero surprise that they would get into baseball especially with the chance to add vibrancy to the North Downtown area for pennies and kick start that area for development.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a long time lurker, but first time poster who felt the need to post on this topic. Please excuse the length, but I think there are a bunch of things going on with this story. 

 

Although I am now an adult living in Boston, let me start by saying I grew up a NB Red Sox/Rock Cats season ticket holder. Many of the summer nights of my childhood/teens were spent at Beehive Field and New Britain Stadium. Baseball in that specific place is very important to me. 

 

With that said, there's a part of me that feels like a potential move to Hartford may be a great opportunity and very exciting. Another part of me feels like it could end in disaster. But from reading the tea leaves, my biggest concern is that the new Rock Cats owners seem to have mentally checked out of New Britain, which means 1 of 3 things. 

 

1. They will move the team to Hartford - could be both good or bad

2. They will move the team to Springfield - the worst case scenario for Conn. as a team in western Mass would be able to exercise MiLB territorial restrictions over greater Hartford/Central Conn., preventing another affiliated team from coming in to replace them. 

3. Unable to reach a deal in another city, the Rock Cats owners reluctantly accept another lease with the city of New Britain, placing the city/team in a form of purgatory where the owners keep the team in the city, but constantly have their eye out on a potential deal to take them elsewhere. 

 

Just a couple of thoughts on stadiums in both Hartford and New Britain and a final thought on team ownership:

 

1. Stadium design here is crucial. One of the reasons we are here today is because the original design of New Britain Stadium was botched. In an effort to use local designers and contractors, the city and the state brought in a firm from New Britain that had never designed a professional sports facility before. While beautiful, state-of-the-art ballparks went up in Trenton, Bowie, MD, and Norwich utilizing new design techniques - the biggest being the open concourse at the top of the stadium - New Britain built a ballpark with a concourse set below and behind the stands. A design feature that had been basically abandoned 3 years earlier. In addition, areas like the management offices, clubhouses, and press boxes were not designed with the idea of expansion in mind.

 

When New Britain Stadium opened, the Rock Cats had something like 6 or 7 full time employees. They have more than 20 now. I have no idea where they put them. The press box design was also botched as the architects initially forgot to include space for newspaper writers. They had to lop off a radio booth and carve out space for a "press row."   The result is that the remaining radio booths have an obstructed view of the field, so much so that the Rock Cats announcer doesn't bother to use one of the booths. He just sits in the far corner of the press box next to the beat writers/official scorer. Upkeep has also been questionable, especially in recent years. I was at the game this weekend and was surprised at how badly things like painting, section signs and seating have deteriorated. 

 

If the Rock Cats stay in New Britain, they are going to need to seriously look at renovating the place. But I'm not sure how much space they have for any groundbreaking changes, other than cosmetic and infrastructure. 

 

2. An urban ballpark in downtown Hartford, or nearby has the potential to be spectacular. I could imagine having a park that is oriented toward downtown or the state capitol. It could really be something to see and something to truly enjoy. The keys will be finding the right architect (hopefully Populous/HOK, or Ellerbe Becket) and making the best use of the layout of the building site. Make sure the innards of the park are designed in such a way that renovation/expansion down the road can be done easily. Marketing will also be a key as some fans will undoubtedly be leery of coming to Hartford. This is where the city and the team truly need to team up with each other in educating fans about the area and what it has to offer. Clear maps and way-finding signage will also be key. As a side note, this will probably cost somewhere between $35 and $50 million. I'll be very interested to see where the money for this is coming from. 

 

3. Finally, I feel compelled to say something about the Rock Cats current and past ownership. The Joe Buzas era in Bristol/New Britain was a fairly quiet, yet stable era in the franchise. To his credit, he kept the team in New Britain, but his desire to market and energize the franchise never went beyond putting a sign up outside Willowbrook Park advertising a game tonight. When Coleman Levy and Bill Dowling came in, they completely reinvigorated the franchise and turned what had been a moribound building into one of the hottest tickets in town during the summer. But the, one March day in 2012 they quickly and suddenly got out, without as much as a warning. Their process to purchase the team took more than a year from announcement to complete hand off. (Rumors of Buzas negotiating with Levy had circulated for 2 years prior) Their sale of the franchise - on the other hand - seemed to take about 3 weeks. It was announced the first week in March and by opening day that year, the new owners were in place. This is almost unheard of in the sports world. 

 

The speed and seemingly clandestine nature of the sale always bothered me. The fact that the new owners were unconnected to the community and from out of state bothered me. The fact that their father owns another team in the league (New Hampshire) and that they needed to use a technicality to circumvent the rules barring two owners of the same team in the same league, always bothered me. Simply put, the sale of the team always left me with a bad feeling about the situation and the teams future. At the very least, it would appear that the paradigm for dealing with Rock Cats ownership has very much changed. Despite their successes, if Rock Cats end up leaving the state - or scorch most of the fan base by mishandling their move to Hartford - that may end up being the legacy of the Levy/Dowling era for the Rock Cats. 

 

Sorry for the length, I just thought I might be able to add some insights that others might not think of. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent first post JDR!!!

Welcome to Urban Planet Hartford.

 

You have offered a great deal of insight and it is appreciated.  It seems this ownership is able to keep things quiet and seemingly only announces moves when they are pretty well wrapped up, so I do uindeed think this must be a done deal.

 

Interestingly this seems to not involve the state, from what I have read, so that is a surprise. 

The city is apparently looking to make this move and that is almost astonishing considering they are selling parking garages to fund a pension.

 

as far as the comment regarding the potential for the ball park and the city.

It is truly an amazing opportunity for Hartford.  A ball park designed by as you say professional basebal park designers could offer an excelent look and feel for the city.  Almost as important it can offer a big city like sound.  There is comething awesome about hearing the cheers of fans up at the meadows on a summer night as muffled as they may be off in the distance.  This stadium will offer the cozy sounds of the national anthem, the 7th inning stretch and the crack of a home run followed by the cheers of a respectable crowd to the sounds of our downtown.   

A well designed building will also put store fronts onto widened sidewalks that now are anything but userful and inviting.

a well designed stadium will provide views of downtown from the stadium, and views of the stadium and its energy from the sterile office buildings.

 

If, as I have been led to believe, the city builds a new city hall near by, the near north end will have significant activity to then warrent private investment.

 

A well built stadium makes the crown plaza so much more than a bunker in a field of nothingness on the cities darkened and sketchy edge.

 

 

I think what is most needed is a partnership with a developer to deliver a stadium with some non stadium value.

meaning, vendor space that can face the street and the stadium at the same time.

also maybe the incorporation of a hotel or something

Heck, literally anything that makes this stadium interact with sidewalks and brings additional financial value to the place.

 

an interesting example would be the new arena in Dedtroit.  its got something like 300 million in additional development as part of the package.  I think you will see more and more of these kinds of stadium developments in the future to make the public financing aspect more pattetable for tax payers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Ripken Stadium in northern Maryland would be a good example of what is needed for success. Besides the state of he art baseball facility which seats over 6,000, there is an accompanying Marriott hotel.  This is to help with over night stays for baseball camps. Rather than just use the stadium for their minor league team, the baseball camps provide additional income from the stadium.

 

In today's dollars such a stadium would cost $24 million.

Edited by beerbeer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So It seems this is pretty Official now.   Anouncement later today

 

and they are quoting 9000 seats.

 

9000 seats is pretty big.  the current stadium is like 6100

so if its close to 9000 that puts it very close to the AAA minimum size as dictated by MLB

also even with 10000 being minimum for tripple A.  there is one new team with a 9000 seater and a whole bunch just at 10,000

 

I wonder if they are leaving the door open for that?

 

Also, for a comparison, the El Paso team is building a 50 million 9000 seat stadium right now

 

http://home.elpasotexas.gov/ballpark/

 

beter link

http://www.milb.com/photos/gallery.jsp?content_id=63119096&sid=t4904

 

it is saying 7500 on the city page but I read 9000 last night n several places because of a lawn seating area ort someting

 

anyhoo.

9000 is a pretty big stadium

Edited by The Voice of Reason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

9,000 seats is certainly agressive, but like I said yesterday, if well designed - the ballpark could be absolutely gorgeous. Reading the various tweets and Facebook posts about this move, it seems the fan base is very much in favor of staying put in New Britain. (Expressed mostly in borderline racist and ignorant comments relating to being the victim of a crime going to a baseball game)  Even Scott Grey of WTIC - somebody who is usually gung ho about such things - is skeptical of this move. 

 

I think people are misreading this situation as a NB vs Hartford issue. Based on the behavior of the team's owners toward New Britain, I would say they have made it clear they are not interested in a future involving New Britain. If this Hartford ballpark deal falls through, they're next stop will likely be out of Conn. Hopefully this all works out, and they don't lose a substantial chunk of the fan base in the process. 

Edited by jdrinboston

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am certain that for every fan lost due to the move at least one will be gained.

 

I agree on the borderline racist nature of comments.  Its a little sickening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like its actually closer to 10k seats.  This really is great for the city.... connects the North while getting foot traffic downtown all summer.   Hartford is on a roll.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great news for Hartford. I feel bad for New Britain though. I've never been in support of stealing this team from them. However, given the apparent choice of them leaving CT or getting this deal done and getting development started in North Downtown, this is a great outcome.

 

2014-06-05-stadium-01.jpg?w=650

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hopefully they release more renderings.  i guess this topic can be pinned now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Big price tag, $60,000,000

 

6b6fb63a-5969-4b28-9939-2dca7e953e5a_800

Edited by beerbeer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are all those buildings in the renderings? Is this part of a planned development? Or just wishful thinking for the future? I'm also starting to wonder if triple A baseball is the ultimate goal. Hartford could support it and the venue looks more in line with a bigger and better brand of baseball. I really like the idea of the skyline being visible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are all those buildings in the renderings? Is this part of a planned development? Or just wishful thinking for the future? I'm also starting to wonder if triple A baseball is the ultimate goal. Hartford could support it and the venue looks more in line with a bigger and better brand of baseball. I really like the idea of the skyline being visible.

 

I'm certainly wondering the same thing. It looks like a AAA ballpark. I really want to know if there are actually plans in place now for what appear to be buildings that would be separate from the stadium development. If so, then they just dropped huge news regarding finally repairing the fabric of the city between downtown and the north end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that seems the going rate these days though.  As I noted thats what the el paso stadium costs, and thats smaller and in texas.

 

Looking at the Orientation, I guess its the best you can do on that lot.  this way the batter is not blinded in evening.  and I think there might be some shadows from future buildings helping out.

 

 

I now also wanted to fall back and Punt on this exciting development....

 

 

Lets talk about UCONN baseball playing a few games here each year....

 

lets also add in a few NCAA regionals

 

can I keep going?  Sure why not.... small outdoor concers....(not THAT SMALL)

 

 

 

And I am tired of people beotching about parking.  Morgan Street garage is frekin HUGE and widely under used I think it has like 2200 spaces. and its 3-4 blocks away

 

Church Street while heavily used is 1299 spaces!   it is also owned by the city for now but soon to be CRDA.   either way it offers cheap and convenient parking for games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hopefully one of those new buildings in the rendering is the Hooker Brewery, I can't think of a better spot for them now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I doubt those buildings have any reality behind them.  But I agree Hooker would fit up that way nicely and the new city hall is being considered up there as well.

 

add in thoste items and then housing and whammo    complete district

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://the40yearplan.com/2014/06/if-you-build-it-they-wont-come/

 

i guess some people aren't happy. i do agree with his point that the stadium wouldn't really help the people in the north end of the city.

 

That's not true. Plenty of Hartford youth and adults will find summer employment here. Not to mention, people in Hartford like baseball too and people in the north end like nice stadiums over vacant lots just like anybody else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not true. Plenty of Hartford youth and adults will find summer employment here. Not to mention, people in Hartford like baseball too and people in the north end like nice stadiums over vacant lots just like anybody else.

good. i hope the project benefits everyone and not just the politicians.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

good. i hope the project benefits everyone and not just the politicians.

 

I honestly think it will be a huge psycological boost to have a brand new ballpark in this part of the city. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.