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PROPOSED: North Downtown/Baseball Stadium Development


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I wouldnt put any stock in what that lunatic Krayeske writes. He is ultra liberal bordering on communist and used to be a staff writer for the Advocate. His main objective was bashing the mainstream and conservatives so of course he would oppose something like this. Who cares. Its money well spent for the enjoyment of those in Hartford and the surrounding areas. It if was up to people like him, there would be no XL Center, no Rentshler Field, no baseball field and no fun. Why cant people who pay taxes enjoy their tax dollars? Maybe 30 years more of dirt parking lots is better for the city than something tangible that can be enjoyed by the same people who enjoy concerts, sporting events, the circus, etc.? And what about the people who will work there? I hate thinking like his. In bigger cities, these things arent even questioned because its for the good of the community. It reminds me of how all the politicians "saved" Hartford from Steve Wynn and his casino complex in the early 90s for the same area of Hartford. 20 years later we still have the same parking lots and no development. Like things are so much better now...

 

Anyway, I hope that there is some kind of development plan that goes along with this stadium. Maybe apartments in the building beyond left field? It would be an easy sell for baseball fans to sit on their terrace and enjoy a baseball game with friends. Housing for players? I would hate to see the stadium built without some plan for the surrounding area.

 

And I agree with most about the comments on the Courant site. Its ridiculous. We will just have to move forward as a community from the small minds who state they fear "being shot" or those "lurking in the shadows" on every street corner. Some people are just idiots. And for the people complaining about Hartford "stealing" New Britain's team, how is it any different than when New Britain 'stole" Bristol's team? Management has made the decision to move and Hartford stepped up to keep professional baseball in state. Grow up people.

 

And should this all actually happen, I really like the name "Hartford Dark Blues" who were a charter member of MLB's National League in the 1870's.

Edited by Luca Brasi
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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 grea

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

Renderings of the proposed ball park and neighborhood.  (Apparently they want to please VOR).  Each rendering in the gallery is followed by a photo of what exists in the same spot today. The Park is u

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i too like the historic name.

 

I feel the need to comment about the New Britain Mayor...

 

grow up

 

Im sorry but she comes across as extremely green and it wont help her career.  She is young and could have a bright political future but she is acting like a jilted lover on facebook.

 

by all accounts, this was a choice of Hartford or Springfield or somewhere even further away.

 

by this definition, be thanksful Hartford is stepping up.

Talking crap about Hartford is not helping anyone especially NB.  I think Maoyr segarra is fine and honestly knows better than to comment publicly.  Just like the Gov and many others.   Its might be this immaturity that made the owners decide to make the move New Britain.  

 

As a town, there is poten tial ther but they need to move on. 

it sucks but figure out a way to capitalize on this as best you can.  ensure that the ans stay engaged and use the busway and find a way to redevelope the stadium complex... get to work with positive efforts, not negative.

 

The most recent update I saew tonight shows lots more info about this and the team is paying like 5 million.  I am eagerly seekinng more details about this effort incuding the actual design and such.  I mean there has to be an architect and the site plan would be nice.

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I swear if I hear one more person ask where people are going to park....   Somebody tell these people this entire block is all surface parking lots. It has been all surface parking lots as long as I've been alive. When the park is built, there will still be two large surface lots next door....I'm fairly certain both lots will be bigger than the ones in New Britain now. What is with people? I understand people have questions and mixed feelings, but why do people feel the need to open their mouths without looking at a damn map?

 

Now with any luck, if the park is successful, those lots might become viable for private development. Now wouldn't that be a nice problem to have?

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Hi folks...I posted this on another message board a little while ago. (Not an urban planning board)  Thought I might post it here as well. Let me know your thoughts. 

 

"I'm Rock Cats fan and former season ticket holder and I'm still trying to figure out where I come down on this, but while the outlay by the city is expensive, there is something to consider. The city basically owns all of those parking lots, save for the one small lot that they are purchasing from Rennselear Hartford to complete the ballpark. Those lots have been virtually undeveloped my entire lifetime. Because they are isolated from the rest of the city, they've been seen as a sort of Bermuda triangle by developers.

But suddenly with a ballpark there, all sorts of opportunities there for development. For example, as an apartment developer, imagine being able to put up a mid or hi-rise type building with loft-like apartments that look into the ballpark? The ground floor of the building can have a sports bar or restaurant that caters to baseball fans as well as some of the new residents moving into the neighborhood. With a ballpark, there is the potential for the city to not only gain new tax revenue from new development, there is also the opportunity for increased money by selling those lots to developers for a higher price than what they are worth now. 

People talk about the money that was spent on the Civic Center/XL Center within the vaccum of that building. But nobody seems to consider the construction that occurred around the building in the ensuing 15 years. CityPlace 1 &2, 1 Commercial, The "Stilts" Building, Goodwin Square, 242 Trumbull, 100 Pearl St. How much revenue do those buildings generate for the city that was there prior to 1975? Can you honestly say the Civic Center was unconnected to these developments? Why couldn't the same type of spin off happen here?

Finally, I'm somewhat baffled at what is in this for the Rock Cats, with the exception of a larger, nicer stadium, which I admit is significant. They are going to pay almost 5 times the rent of NB, contribute 10 percent toward construction, and share half of the naming rights and stadium advertising revenue with the city. To my knowledge, the city is offering them no guarantees of revenue - unlike the potential Patriots or Whalers deal. So aside from the city assuming the risk of the bonding, it looks like the team is assuming the risk to their business operation. Not to mention, they have risked alienating a significant chunk of their fan base. I've never seen a sports franchise owner agree to such terms."

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the team owner gains some additional consideration in my opinion

 

the chance to go AAA

 

higher visibility

 

increased revenues

 

think of it this way.  if the team gets half of the advertizing, they have to be thinking that there is more advertizing opportunities in Hartford.

also do they get advertizing $$ now or does the city of NB?

 

same with the naming rights

there are no naming rights now are there?

 

same with parking??

I know now the city of NB owns most parking and makes money on it.  Maybe they get a better deal here in Hartford.  at least I know they dont get a worse deal

 

So, for arguments sake, let make the assumptions I did above which are easy to make.

 

60 million stadium with 5 mill paid by team

then 500K in rent per year

 

the increase is cost should be only 400K per year and the lump down payment

Some googling shows me that minor league stadium rights can range from over $2 million a year to something more pedestrian like 350K for one team

https://law.marquette.edu/assets/sports-law/pdf/sports-facility-reports/sfr-v07-minor-baseball.pdf

 

Either way, the potential is to get 200K per year easily and might even be as high as 1 million a year for the team.  completely new revenue!

 

Something else, completely not mentioned is consessions.

 

say the city and team split concessions.

I think NB takes all that monwey now

 

the team could make a fortune on the concessions.

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Hi folks...I posted this on another message board a little while ago. (Not an urban planning board)  Thought I might post it here as well. Let me know your thoughts. 

 

"I'm Rock Cats fan and former season ticket holder and I'm still trying to figure out where I come down on this, but while the outlay by the city is expensive, there is something to consider. The city basically owns all of those parking lots, save for the one small lot that they are purchasing from Rennselear Hartford to complete the ballpark. Those lots have been virtually undeveloped my entire lifetime. Because they are isolated from the rest of the city, they've been seen as a sort of Bermuda triangle by developers.

But suddenly with a ballpark there, all sorts of opportunities there for development. For example, as an apartment developer, imagine being able to put up a mid or hi-rise type building with loft-like apartments that look into the ballpark? The ground floor of the building can have a sports bar or restaurant that caters to baseball fans as well as some of the new residents moving into the neighborhood. With a ballpark, there is the potential for the city to not only gain new tax revenue from new development, there is also the opportunity for increased money by selling those lots to developers for a higher price than what they are worth now. 

People talk about the money that was spent on the Civic Center/XL Center within the vaccum of that building. But nobody seems to consider the construction that occurred around the building in the ensuing 15 years. CityPlace 1 &2, 1 Commercial, The "Stilts" Building, Goodwin Square, 242 Trumbull, 100 Pearl St. How much revenue do those buildings generate for the city that was there prior to 1975? Can you honestly say the Civic Center was unconnected to these developments? Why couldn't the same type of spin off happen here?

Finally, I'm somewhat baffled at what is in this for the Rock Cats, with the exception of a larger, nicer stadium, which I admit is significant. They are going to pay almost 5 times the rent of NB, contribute 10 percent toward construction, and share half of the naming rights and stadium advertising revenue with the city. To my knowledge, the city is offering them no guarantees of revenue - unlike the potential Patriots or Whalers deal. So aside from the city assuming the risk of the bonding, it looks like the team is assuming the risk to their business operation. Not to mention, they have risked alienating a significant chunk of their fan base. I've never seen a sports franchise owner agree to such terms."

 

Its called "seeing the big picture" which many in the suburbs fail to do. I too see the ignorant comments about misconceptions regarding lack of parking, rampant crime and the waste of tax dollars on Hartford. I've been doing business downtown for 15 years and lived in Hartford for 20 years and I've never been mugged, shot or stabbed. Never even had my car broken into. Imagine that.

Edited by Luca Brasi
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http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-hartford-rockcats-council-0606-20140605,0,5856689.story

 

First off... I am almost Guarantee AAA baseball is in the works.... I say this because this team is of course an LLC and they in the past were new Britain DOUBLE play

 

they are now Connecticut TRIPPLE play.

 

i know that seems like a huge leap but lets just say that all signs point to yes Mr. Magic Eight Ball

 

 

City documents obtained by The Courant show Hartford would enter into a 25-year lease with the owners — identified as Connecticut Triple Play, LLC. The team's management currently is registered with the state as New Britain Double Play LLC.

City officials could not explain Thursday why the name had changed. Rock Cats management could not be reached for comment

 

*********************************

 

to the article... Its good to see a street realignment is part of the deal because this can go a LONG way at making this really work best.

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Things are making more sense now. The LLC name change sounds an awful lot like someone has AAA baseball aspirations. The 10,000 seat 60 million dollar stadium at the intersection of 91, 84 and 2 and the bigger home city all add up. If they were content with staying AA, there is no real reason to leave New Britain who supported them for years. If it's true it's even more exciting because it is a BIG step up.

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Here is a list of attendance numbers in 2013 for all 176 minor league teams.

 

http://ballparkdigest.com/201309096619/attendance/news/2013-affiliated-attendance-by-average

 

The Rockcats check in at #58 averaging just under 5,000 a game. The best was over 11,000 a game, the worst Eastern League team came in at 2,800. The Eastern League plays 71 home games every year. Clearly, there is the opportunity to drive some traffic to Hartford business.  It also provides a nice amenity for city residents. 5,000 folks coming 70 times a year is a nice bump for restaurants. The big plus it that it will come in the summer months and augment, rather than compete, UConn and hockey in the winter.  Besides, summer weather may produce crowds that come earlier and leave later. 

 

If Hooker Brewery is still nosing around the city, the corner of Main and Morgan or, perhaps, Trumbull and Morgan would be a great place to to place a brewery/restaurant/bar for maximum effect. 

 

Here is a look at the proposed numbers for building the stadium itself.

 

Hartford_Rock_Cats_stadium_projected_bud

Edited by beerbeer
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Things are making more sense now. The LLC name change sounds an awful lot like someone has AAA baseball aspirations. The 10,000 seat 60 million dollar stadium at the intersection of 91, 84 and 2 and the bigger home city all add up. If they were content with staying AA, there is no real reason to leave New Britain who supported them for years. If it's true it's even more exciting because it is a BIG step up.

 

There may indeed may be a AAA plan afoot. If so, that would explain why they've been so secretive with New Britain and cryptic with their reasons for wanting to leave NB. Frankly, if they are looking to acquire and bring a AAA team to Hartford, there is nothing New Britain can do to help them except blab it out early and scuttle the potential deal. 

 

The only concern I have is that there doesn't appear to be a lot of vulnerable International League teams that are prime for the taking. There are a lot of complex ownership situations in the IL, many of which involve community trusts with hundreds of local stockholders. Syracuse and Rochester are among the lowest draws in the league. Syracuse is averaging less than 3,000 people per game. But they are owned by several hundred community stock holders so they would seem to be "ungettable."  Same situation in Rochester.

 

Many other teams - while drawing weak crowds - are playing in newish or newly renovated stadiums i.e. Gwinnet, GA or Scranton, PA.  The owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox died relatively recently and his heirs still own the team. Would the Solomons want to wade into that PR mess by trying to move the PawSox to Hartford?  At this point, the only team that I could peg for possible purchase and relocation is Norfolk. They are owned by a more traditional ownership group and they are among the lowest third in the league in attendance (though their numbers would be fine for AA). A possible scenario: The Solomons purchase the AAA Norfolk Tides with the purpose of moving them to Hartford in 2016 and move the AA Rock Cats to Norfolk?

 

One thing I'll say about Josh Solomon thus far: he's proven to be a master at keeping his plans a secret until he's ready to make them public.  

 

I would not be shocked if there are more shoes to drop regarding this story.  

Edited by jdrinboston
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I was listening to sports talk on 1080 last night and Solomon was on. He mentioned that his team's player development contract with the twins expires at the end of this season. What's also interesting is that the team that has the same contract with the twins aaa affiliate also expires this year. Combine that with all luca brasi's great observations and I really do think a aaa team will play in the hartford stadium in'16.

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We can all hope. AAA baseball as we all know is a step below MLB. We will without question see many major leaguers who develop, rehab or journey between MLB and AAA. Virtually every major league star spends a good amount of time developing at the AAA level. This would be truly exciting to have downtown.

Edited by Luca Brasi
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There may indeed may be a AAA plan afoot. If so, that would explain why they've been so secretive with New Britain and cryptic with their reasons for wanting to leave NB. Frankly, if they are looking to acquire and bring a AAA team to Hartford, there is nothing New Britain can do to help them except blab it out early and scuttle the potential deal. 

 

The only concern I have is that there doesn't appear to be a lot of vulnerable International League teams that are prime for the taking. There are a lot of complex ownership situations in the IL, many of which involve community trusts with hundreds of local stockholders. Syracuse and Rochester are among the lowest draws in the league. Syracuse is averaging less than 3,000 people per game. But they are owned by several hundred community stock holders so they would seem to be "ungettable."  Same situation in Rochester.

 

Many other teams - while drawing weak crowds - are playing in newish or newly renovated stadiums i.e. Gwinnet, GA or Scranton, PA.  The owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox died relatively recently and his heirs still own the team. Would the Solomons want to wade into that PR mess by trying to move the PawSox to Hartford?  At this point, the only team that I could peg for possible purchase and relocation is Norfolk. They are owned by a more traditional ownership group and they are among the lowest third in the league in attendance (though their numbers would be fine for AA). A possible scenario: The Solomons purchase the AAA Norfolk Tides with the purpose of moving them to Hartford in 2016 and move the AA Rock Cats to Norfolk?

 

One thing I'll say about Josh Solomon thus far: he's proven to be a master at keeping his plans a secret until he's ready to make them public.  

 

I would not be shocked if there are more shoes to drop regarding this story.  

 

 

According to the attendance chart I posted the Charlotte Knights are drew 3,800 a game in 2013 the worst in the IL.

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I suggest you guys check out the PDF from the consultant

http://media.trb.com/media/acrobat/2014-06/189544840-06084300.pdf

 

Loads of info about our market (the numbers are very good for AA)

 

also info about the potential ball park details such as ....

 

 

8,998 Capacity

» 300 Club / Loge Seats

» 6,600 Fixed Seats

» 24 Suites

» 4 Party Suites

» Picnic Area (750 Tickets)

» Berm Area (1,000 Tickets)

 220,000 SF

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I suggest you guys check out the PDF from the consultant

http://media.trb.com/media/acrobat/2014-06/189544840-06084300.pdf

 

Loads of info about our market (the numbers are very good for AA)

 

also info about the potential ball park details such as ....

 

 

8,998 Capacity

» 300 Club / Loge Seats

» 6,600 Fixed Seats

» 24 Suites

» 4 Party Suites

» Picnic Area (750 Tickets)

» Berm Area (1,000 Tickets)

 220,000 SF

 

Very informative. It's clear that this is going to be a major development for Hartford. I applaud the city for putting something like this together. AAA would be great, being a premier AA franchise in a top of the line stadium would also be great. I like the fact that the study points to housing, dining, and other ameneties that ended up being developed near these new ball parks in other cities. This is a project that is big enough to really have an impace on Downtown North and also small enough that the city was able to do it on their own, very impressive Mr. Segarra. Almost nobody even saw it coming.

 

I hope that the city has been on the phone with Hooker Brewery regarding their potential project and I also hope that the new city hall plans are more advanced than has been let on to this point. We are starting to make major progress now folks.

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I think that if they can lure a developer to develop the remainder of the block contaiing the Raddison(crown Plaza) into housing (a big if, but it can happen)

 

and a city hall is built as indicated by that taller building shown South of 1st base, the area North of 84 will have a real chance for continued development and some solid improvement.

 

Getting some new, nice market rate residential up there is going to be a very key move. 

there are a few obstructions for that though.

 

1:  1000 main street id a big dead spot.  and since directly across the street, the stilts building is not pedestrian friendly along main, you end up with a pretty dead area leading to a highway capped park.

 

developing the ballpark filled a HUGE goal, but if you need to trek across a half mile of barren street scape its not ideal.

 

The site of Butt Ugly is supposed to be the city Hall location, so that would help the walk both from Main or Trumbull.  I say this because of where those big garages are.

 

so, with the highway park, a city hall a stadium...  the real issues are 1000 Main and the lot that the Raddison is on.   So those are going to be KEY

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I agree that 1000 main and the Radisson lot are the key areas that need to be addressed assuming that the city does have plans for the former Butt Ugly site. Both are located near occupied buildings, so that right there is a decent starting point. I would hope that if 1000 Main is to be redeveloped that the Talcott Garage will be demolished and redeveloped completely. That thing is so far past it's prime and has become a huge eyesore in its own right.

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I suggest you guys check out the PDF from the consultant

http://media.trb.com/media/acrobat/2014-06/189544840-06084300.pdf

 

Loads of info about our market (the numbers are very good for AA)

 

also info about the potential ball park details such as ....

 

 

8,998 Capacity

» 300 Club / Loge Seats

» 6,600 Fixed Seats

» 24 Suites

» 4 Party Suites

» Picnic Area (750 Tickets)

» Berm Area (1,000 Tickets)

 220,000 SF

FYI--from the City Council agenda for Monday night (thanks to Jenna Carlesso and I guess some others at the Courant). She emailed me back and said they don't have any details on the street realignments yet other than that they are on Main, Trumbull, Pleasant and and Windsor Streets (like in the mayor's handout artist renderings from Wendesday). She said they'd post anything they get from the PZC and other city commissions as they get them after Monday's council meeting.

http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-pdf-hartford-rock-cats-resolutions-html-20140605,0,1692224.htmlstory

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I suggest you guys check out the PDF from the consultant

http://media.trb.com/media/acrobat/2014-06/189544840-06084300.pdf

 

Loads of info about our market (the numbers are very good for AA)

 

also info about the potential ball park details such as ....

 

 

8,998 Capacity

» 300 Club / Loge Seats

» 6,600 Fixed Seats

» 24 Suites

» 4 Party Suites

» Picnic Area (750 Tickets)

» Berm Area (1,000 Tickets)

 220,000 SF

That 23k hotel rooms might be a bit of a stretch.

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I think the 60 jobs number is realistic though it has meet some skepticism in the press.  The 25 players are jobs. Kick in a manager and few coaches, a GM and front office staff, that gets you to over thirty before you hire a single person to take care of the park on game nights (ticket takers, concession workers, ground crew, security, etc). The really good part is that many of those employees will have their salaries come from out of town. Many will be paid by the parent ball club so it is net new income brought into the area, that would not be true of major league team that would have to generate all its own income from the market.

 

Plus there should be a halo effect for surrounding businesses. An extra waiter and bartender here or parking attendant there on game night.

 

These are NOT numbers pulled out of the air, there are 170+ ball parks around the country.  The numbers are based on demonstrable experience.

Edited by beerbeer
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Predictably, last night's public hearing on this turned into a circus with the super righteous community types screaming that Hartford needs to fix it's schools and do more for the poor rather than invest in another attraction. I need to see more to make up my mind about the price tag, but the idea is one that I fully support.

 

I think that this stadium will be an anchor for a new neighborhood to spring up around and that it will improve the perception of Hartford exponentially by doing so. I think that getting the streets realigned and streetscapes redone would warrant a significant expenditure of public funds, however doing them in conjuntion with constructing the stadium and bringing the team here, really makes it an investment that should reap dividends for the city.

 

I may try to go to the next public hearing and speak in favor of the stadium. I honestly do hope that it is a done deal though and the council and mayor have already decided. Sometimes leadership requires you to make these types of choices in the face of vocal opposition. The vast majority of city residents aren't even engaged beyond the, "really the Rock Cat's are moving here, sounds good" stage.

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There is a a knee jerk reaction in the Hartford area to oppose everything.... Wynns casino complex, a downtown football stadium, the Griffin Line and any kind of mass transit, a new arena, the Convention Center, front St, etc. The list goes on and on. Sometimes people just like to say no. There is a lot of misconceptions that people are basing their opposition on.

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