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westsider28

Downtown Baseball Stadium?

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Interesting article about possible redevelopment sites around downtown.  Nothing really seems to be concrete, but the areas have potential.  I'd think the Magnolia Street Pub would be the most likely to happen soonest.  Obviously the old Spartan Grain property is the largest and has the most potential.  I found it interesting that Roger Snyder (property owner) mentioned a baseball stadium as an idea (among others) for the site.  I've personally thought for a while that it would be an excellent site for one.  I really think we can support a team, and it would be a huge attraction that would take downtown to the next level.

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I agree 100% with the baseball idea. That would take us to the next level for sure.

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Does anyone recall why the decision was made to remove the Phillies from Spartanburg? I feel like we've discussed (or I read about) a distance requirement from other teams, and that Greenville's team somehow precludes us from the conversation. I have no idea if that's an accurate statement or not.

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It used to, but now that they have moved to the West End, we are just over the 30 miles that would have required the Greenville Drive to

consent. Its funny that the Spartanburg Phillies consented for Greenville, but Greenville chooses not to consent for Spartanburg.

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It's important to note that the distance requirement only applies to MiLB.  Some cities are building new stadiums for independent pro league teams (i.e. not directly affiliated with MLB), including this really nice one (CHS Field) in St. Paul, MN (much larger city obviously, but still).  Some people in Raleigh are having a similar conversation right now as it relates to the Durham Bulls.

Though it happened when I was quite young, I understand that the Phillies leaving was due to the deteriorating condition of Duncan Park Stadium primarily.  Attendance was down in those last few years, but that was probably related to the stadium experience and possibly the knowledge of their impending departure.  Older folks can provide more info, I'm sure.

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The Phillies pulled up and left primarily because of (1) our neglect of Duncan Park stadium, (2) fan apathy, and (3) a sweet deal from Kannapolis,

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It would be great if we could get a team as part of MiLB, but it wouldn't bother me if it was independent. I could get behind a second baseball stadium if they are able to get all of the land between the AC Hotel and Henry St. It would take most of that just to get a stadium in there anyway, and it would be a great opportunity to "formalize" that corner of downtown. It would probably be a catalyst for redevelopment between DMA and Church too.

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It would be great if we could get a team. Its just too far to go to Greenville on a school night or work night. I have never seen

so many little league teams and tournaments in the area as we have now. All of this interest would surely support a minor league

team. Our company would purchase a luxury Box if someone builds the stadium. Hopefully, Charlotte will get a Major League team

in the near future, maybe we could be the single A affiliate of a new Charlotte team.

Sponsorships would likely come from Duke Energy, BB & T, BMW, Denny's, BOA, Jimmy Gibbs, etc. etc.

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I'd like a stadium downtown if we were going to build one but access wise I am not sure there is enough land between AC hotel and Henry St. Besides that you would need parking somewhere and I think the RR tracks prevent further expansion. I just think it would be too tight and create some horrible traffic. In a dream scenario, I'd relocate the Buick/GMC dealership and build it there. You'd have parking on 3 sides and plenty of space all the way up to Forest Ave.

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I've actually looked into this using Google Maps for scale.  There is PLENTY of room for a stadium at the Spartan Grain site (much more than even Wakefield, where you'd have to eliminate the West Main - St. John connector street; not good w/trains), especially if you include the Maaco and City land along Henry.  You could easily build a parking deck next to the AC Hotel (where their parking lot will be).  All this wouldn't even require demolition of the remaining grain buildings.  You could also acquire properties south of Henry for parking.  And it's just 1 block to the City Hall lot (where you could also build a deck).  This is a very flexible and accessible site.  Here's a to-scale overlay of Greenville's Fluor Field on the site, with room for an office or apartment building (in red) on DM:

56f16edbc2968_bballidea.JPG.1c8eed301324

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I like it. I also think there is enough land at Renaissance  Park.

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3 hours ago, westsider28 said:

I've actually looked into this using Google Maps for scale.  There is PLENTY of room for a stadium at the Spartan Grain site (much more than even Wakefield, where you'd have to eliminate the West Main - St. John connector street; not good w/trains), especially if you include the Maaco and City land along Henry.  You could easily build a parking deck next to the AC Hotel (where their parking lot will be).  All this wouldn't even require demolition of the remaining grain buildings.  You could also acquire properties south of Henry for parking.  And it's just 1 block to the City Hall lot (where you could also build a deck).  This is a very flexible and accessible site.  Here's a to-scale overlay of Greenville's Fluor Field on the site, with room for an office or apartment building (in red) on DM:

56f16edbc2968_bballidea.JPG.1c8eed301324

Nice work!  One of these days the owner of a minor league franchise is bound to look at Spartanburg to place a team.  A new ballpark, of course, is a must.  Are we wiling to help pay for it?  Will we support the team?

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I for one am not willing to pay for it after that debacle for a new SHS that is going to raise my taxes on several fronts. We already have paid to renovate Duncan Park and gosh knows what ever else D7 has wanted in the last 5 years.

If someone like Jimmy Gibbs wants to step in and form Gibbs Field, that's fine with me but no one in their right mind is going to agree with more taxes to cover a ball field.

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Nice work westsider! The only other thing to consider is that the railroad probably has some ROW in there. I don't recall how much ROW they have, but I don't think it would prevent it from working.

Sparkleman, I 100% agree. I think that no matter what, GDJ or Jimmy Gibbs (etc) would need to step up to be a sponsor. Besides, I seriously doubt the City would try to raise taxes for a baseball stadium. The City/County would probably assist with financing through the existing hospitality tax, property tax breaks, constructing a parking deck, other infrastructure (water/sewer upgrades) or other similar type of deal.

 

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A little late to the game here (maybe 4th inning!) but I really like this thread.  One of my friends who is a city/county bureaucrat in another county told me that he's a firm believer in downtown baseball just because of the foot traffic it brings into your downtown 60-70 days/nights a year.  I have thought that this site - between Henry, Daniel Morgan, West Main, and the railroad would be a great spot for a baseball field, and I'm glad to see from that rendering that it really would be enough.  Further out West Main I could live with, but this has so many advantages in being part of the Grain District.  The only other use I could really conceive of for this plot of land would be for some new housing - perhaps a planned development district for very densely-situated single family housing.  The traffic might be an issue with a baseball field, but there's capacity on the streets around it.  Thanks for that rendering, Westsider - it's really cool.  

I don't really think the city-county would be able to lay out millions for this stadium, but would certainly have to support it with streetscaping, potentially a parking deck, etc.  And if coupled with another apartment-condo building, that could help offset some of the costs, and provide property tax revenue - perhaps in a new TIF district - to offset some of the municipal expenses.  

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Haha, given that this concept is only being discussed here on UP, I'd say we're still doing pre-game stretching exercises.

While traffic would be more of an issue than it is today, baseball stadium traffic isn't hard to manage if it's built in an area with good roadway connections. If it can be designed so that it encourages people to park in the other decks downtown and walk over, then the traffic can be dispersed throughout downtown. 

What about the block surrounded by Broad, Daniel Morgan, Harris Pl, and Spring? Just eyeballing the scale Charlotte's minor league stadium fits in a block about that size and I'm guessing Spartanburg's would be smaller. (Also, for the record, I would be against this location because we'd lose several historic buildings in the already sparse Grain District.)

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I was doing some Googling on the AC Hotel, and I stumbled across this website: http://www.cityofspartanburg.org/playball

So this shows that the City is seriously looking into a baseball stadium at the Snyder site and appear to be actively soliciting interest (for the stadium and, I assume, a team / ownership group).  Good to see.  Unfortunately the previous 2 times they've created a "pitch" webpage like this (Stone Brewing & CH2M-Hill), the City was unsuccessful in their efforts.  Hopefully the 3rd time's a charm.

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Has the website been taken down since you posted that? When I click the link it directs to a search page that only shows a short paragraph that doesn't provide much info.

I think the 'pitch' page just shows commitment to the idea. Recruiting businesses that are committed to leaving is completely different than showing that the market exists for minor league baseball.

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Hmm, it does appear to have been taken down.  I'm pretty sure City staff occasionally read this forum, so maybe they didn't intend for that page to be publicly viewable?  I should've screenshotted it while it was up.  Anyway, here's a PDF I downloaded from the page before they took it down: City Baseball Stadium concept pitch.pdf

And here's their field concept picture (very similar to mine from earlier in this thread):

FieldConcept.jpg

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Interesting.  Would be interesting to know as well if we are outside of any exclusion zone for the Greenville team - what the rules are, etc.  

Was talking with someone downtown over the weekend and their thought was that a ballpark on the other side of the railroad tracks - basically at West Main and South Forest - with the stands facing downtown so you got a view of the Denny's building and other downtown views - would also be a good plan.  

I hope there's something to this.  Good find on the website!  

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I would be ecstatic with either. I think this development would have a greater impact on

Spartanburg than any other development. I think either site is great and this community

has to find a way to make this happen. If not now, at least in the next 4-6 years. 

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Minor league franchises are looking to relocate all the time.

Spartanburg's pros:

  • A legacy of textile league baseball.
  • 50 years ago, support for the Spartanburg Phillies was quite strong.
  • An up and coming downtown.

Spartanburg's cons:

  • No stadium, at least yet.  Duncan Park is available, I guess, for short-term use. 
  • Fan support for the Phillies during their final years was pathetic.
  • Greenville's team is only 30 miles away.

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I doubt that proximity to Charlotte has much to do with it. I feel like MILB at any level is an extremely local event, and I'm not convinced that Greenville's team will have much of an impact. Greenville is a long way to go to watch a baseball game

When the Knights were in Ft Mill most people in Charlotte rarely went to games, then when they built the stadium uptown they had record crowds because it was more central to a larger number of people. The Kannapolis team wasn't affected by that move at all. You'd think that their attendence would decrease if there was a relationship, but the reality is that it stayed roughly the same (if not slightly higher on average). What it comes down to is that Kannapolis and Charlotte are two different markets. I think the same relationship applies to Greenville and Spartanburg. Right now, I'm sure there are people who occasionally go to Greenville to watch a Drive game on a weekend. Maybe it happens more often for people who live on the west side too. But for the most part, they don't go. If a team were in Spartanburg, you'd have more opportunities and less hassle to go to games. Plus we would be the natural draw for Cherokee, Union, and Polk Counties. I don't know the specific of funding sports like this, but I do know that their models are based off of season ticket sales, not selling out every game. So, if we can show that there is enough support from the business community and residents to buy season tickets then I think we have a strong case.

 

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If a team wanted to relocate to Spartanburg, and there is no evidence that any do, it would require a new state-of-the-art stadium. I'm guessing such a facility would cost upwards of $20-30 million. Pretty big number.

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