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The Dash Downtown Ballpark

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Winston-Salem Downtown Ballpark

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What We Know!

  • $22.6 million for the ballpark stadium itself
  • 5,500 seats
  • Winston-Salem Warthogs will relocate from Ernie Shore
  • Special suites for companies/parties behind home plate
  • Children's playground beyond centerfield
  • Brick exterior with pronounced columns (like Camden Yards)
  • Part of a larger $189 million second-phase that will include offices, residences, and retail
  • Second-phase will be developed by Crosland (developer of Birkdale Village in Huntersville)
  • Large scale ads (38-foot Primo water bottle) will be feautured pending a zoning approval
  • Construction begins October 2007
  • Opening Spring 2009

External Links:

Winding Up the Pitch

Proposal for downtown baseball park and office complex gains momentum

By Victoria Cherrie

JOURNAL REPORTER

The proposed site for a baseball stadium and 250,000-square-foot office complex borders Watkins Street just off Business 40 (Photo by David Rolfe).

The concept of a new downtown baseball stadium is moving forward. Preliminary plans are being developed for a 6,000-seat stadium for the Winston-Salem Warthogs and a 250,000-square-foot office complex.

The plans call for the complex to be built on about 12 acres bordered by Peters Creek Parkway, Green and Watkins streets.

The stadium would be next to the midrise office building, which would serve as headquarters for Blue Rhino Corp. and several other businesses.

A co-founder of Blue Rhino, Billy Prim, is one of the owners of the Warthogs.

The idea of a downtown stadium-office building became public last July. It has been quietly moving forward, and the Winston-Salem City Council was recently briefed in secret on the project. The cost of the venture is not being released.

Mayor Allen Joines said that the goal is for the stadium and offices to be built by a new or existing nonprofit organization, although one has not been named.

The nonprofit organization would then lease the stadium and the office space to one or more private companies, said Joines, who heads the Winston-Salem Alliance.

The alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on economic development, has contracts on 42 of the 45 properties needed to build the stadium and has verbal agreements on the remaining three, Joines said.

The alliance will eventually transfer the contracts to the nonprofit organization that finances the project, he said.

Prim discussed his efforts with the council and shared preliminary stadium drawings. The city will be asked to build a parking deck to support the project.

Prim could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The city won't go ahead unless new taxes from the office buildings and monthly rental income from parking spaces in the deck pay for its construction, Joines said.

The cost of the deck won't be known until city officials determine how many spaces are needed and what percentage could be shared with the spaces needed for the office building, said Derwick Paige, the assistant city manager for economic development.

"As with any project, we would also have to look at it and determine how it would be able to sustain itself," Paige said.

The land chosen for the stadium is near the western edge of downtown, a few blocks from the Unity Place development that will bring the headquarters of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., shops, restaurants, condominiums and movie theaters to Fourth and Broad streets.

The stadium and office properties are in a bowl-shape area along Watkins Street, which now consists mostly of rental homes and empty, trash-strewn lots. There also is a small city park and the West End Holiness Church.

The church is willing to move, and the alliance is working with its pastor to find a new site, Joines said.

He said he hopes for the property details to be "buttoned up" in the next three months.

Prim is the top executive at Blue Rhino, a propane-cylinder exchange and propane-fueled products company. It was sold last month to Ferrellgas Partners LP of Liberty, Mo., for $343 million in cash. Blue Rhino is based in Winston-Salem and operates as a division of Ferrellgas led by Prim.

Efforts to build a stadium here are similar to those in Greensboro, where a nonprofit foundation and private investors are financing a $23 million stadium for the Greensboro Bats.

Construction began about six months ago, and is several weeks ahead of schedule, said Mike Sears, the project manager for Samet Corporation.

The corporation is developing that project with Barton Malow, a Southfield, Mich., company that specializes in building sports complexes.

Once complete, the Greensboro stadium will seat about 6,000 and could be expanded to seat up to 3,000 more, he said. The stadium is being modeled after the Redbirds stadium in Memphis, Tenn., which also is owned by a nonprofit organization.

Members of Samet have talked about the feasibility of developing a stadium here.

"It looks like a great location," Sears said.

Greensboro's stadium does not need a parking deck because there are existing decks within walking distance, he said.

There also is no office space included in the plan. But there is an adjacent, 10-acre lot, being considered for the construction of a housing, retail and entertainment complex, said Ray Gibbs, the president of Downtown Greensboro Inc., a nonprofit agency that works to promote the city's downtown area.

Many people already grasp the potential positive effects of having a stadium in the city's core, Gibbs said.

Proponents of a downtown stadium here said they can see similar positive effects for Winston-Salem.

The Warthogs, a Class A farm club of the Chicago White Sox, recently signed a two-year lease at city-owned Ernie Shore Field that will expire in February 2006. The team also has an option to renew the lease through 2008.

Should the Warthogs choose to play at a new stadium, the city could continue to operate the field as a stadium for high-school and college tournaments.

But those involved with bringing a stadium to downtown Winston-Salem are talking with Wake Forest University about other options for the old ballpark.

The city has spent about $3 million to improve the stadium over the past few years and would like to recoup that debt, Joines said.

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this project seems to be moving at a fast pace which is very good. Looks like we could soon be joing the downtown baseball club. My only problem with project is the location. i know there not a lot of options for a project this size for our downtown, but that area is in a hole with a bad view of the skyline. Seems like that a nice city view would be key for spectators.

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I agree. I dont like the view from this location. It is close to my house and very close to bars and nightlife. Its also within walking distance of homes in West End - North Carolina's first streetcar neighborhood. I guess they want the foot traffic from Burke Street and the Krispy Kreme development and the homes nearby in West End, West Salem, Holley Avenue, Ardmore and Brookstown. Crowds mean more than skyline views to them. They also want lots of luxury boxes too! ;)

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Why don't they build it next door to the Downtown Middle School and have a viewing fence along the strollway for bike riders and those taking a late night stroll? I would like a better view. I also would like to see the Old 40 bridge renovated to look like an old railroad bridge. Have that and the skyline as a view and run the Redline Trolley in a circle connecting the ballpark to Old Salem, Research Park, Downtown, Union Station and the central transit center. Its a perfect location!

Thoughts?

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Billy Prim buying up property

Company owned by a co-owner of Warthogs is investing in sites near proposed stadium

By Victoria Cherrie

JOURNAL REPORTER

Friday, January 14, 2005

A real-estate investment company owned by Billy Prim is buying land near what could become a new downtown baseball stadium for the Winston-Salem Warthogs.

Prim, who is a co-owner of the team, said that the properties are an investment and have nothing to do with his idea for a 6,000-seat stadium.

But the land is between the possible stadium site and what was proposed two years ago as Unity Place, a $60 million office, entertainment and retail complex.

Both projects are critical to reviving downtown, city officials say.

"They are sort of like the one-two punch that would truly establish a gateway into downtown," said Council Member Wanda Merschel, who represents the area. "But they are still very independent of each other."

Unity Place was to be anchored by Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc.'s new headquarters at the corner of Fourth and Broad streets. But last week, Tom Fowler, whose company owns the bulk of the property, said he no longer believes that Krispy Kreme will be part of the proposal. Fowler is moving ahead with his own plans. He wouldn't elaborate on what he is creating, but has been working with Lincoln Harris, a commercial real-estate company, and Boulevard Centro, a Charlotte architect and developer.

In the meantime, Prim continues to have private conversations about the stadium, which would be privately developed and include offices, possibly some retail space and space for a new headquarters for Blue Rhino.

Prim is the chief executive of Blue Rhino, a propane-tank exchange and propane-fueled products company, which is a division of Ferrellgas Partners LP, based in Overland Park, Kan.

Prim declined to discuss any preliminary plans for a park.

"I would love to be in a new baseball stadium downtown," he said. "But today I don't have a plan that finances that possibility."

The Winston-Salem Alliance, a nonprofit economic-development group, has options on about 16 acres for the baseball-park project between Business 40, Peters Creek Parkway and Green Street, said Mayor Allen Joines, who is also the president of the group. The group is paying for the options with money from the Millennium Fund, a pool of local money earmarked for economic development. The goal is for the options to be transferred to the developer once the project is further along.

Joines said that no timeline has been set to sell the property or wrap up the baseball project, which would likely require a publicly financed parking deck.

Prim approached the city last summer about the need for parking.

Derwick Paige, the assistant city manager for economic development, said that he has not been approached since then.

The new tax revenues and parking fees would have to pay for the construction costs, Joines said.

Officials in Greensboro recently completed a new $23 million stadium downtown. The stadium can hold up to 9,000 people. It was modeled after the Redbirds stadium in Memphis, Tenn., which also is owned by a nonprofit organization. The first game for the renamed Greensboro Grasshoppers in First Horizon Park will be April 3.

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Minor League Baseball has become big business glad to see WS really thinking about success with their team (other then just on the field).

Love that mascot too, the Warthogs!

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Love that mascot too, the Warthogs!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The liked it when WS had the Spirits back in the day. The current mascot is okay but I think "the Rhinos" would be a better.

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Kimberly Park is not in North Winston, neither is 27th street, Northside shopping center, N. Liberty etc.

North Winston is N. University Pkwy, Shattalon Dr., Oak Summit, Hanes Mill Rd. Germanton Rd., NC66. North Point, Bethabara Park Rd. Home Rd. etc.

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I wouldn't characterize the Green Street/1st St/2nd St/Brookstown area which was the site of the proposed stadium as a bad neighborhood either. There has been a lot of investment in that area including the coming West End Village, Christopher's New Global Cuisine, Gothic Cycles not to mention the proximity of all of the Burke Street businesses.

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I wouldn't characterize the Green Street/1st St/2nd St/Brookstown area which was the site of the proposed stadium as a bad neighborhood either. There has been a lot of investment in that area including the coming West End Village, Christopher's New Global Cuisine, Gothic Cycles not to mention the proximity of all of the Burke Street businesses.

No those areas aren't bad, it's just the area around Academy and Peters Creek and some parts of the Broad St. corridor. I am talking about these exact locations, not a couple blocks over to where it starts to turn good.

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If I were building the ballpark in Winston-Salem, not only would I build it in the heart of downtown but I would give the ballpark a tobbaco warehouse look. It would look more like a tobacco warehouse than a ballpark from the exterior. Sort of like what they did in Louisville Kentucky. Slugger Field looks more like an old train station than a ballpark from the exterior, but that was due in part because they converted an old train station to become part of the ballpark.

Any way I would make the stadium 4 stories tall, 7,500 permanat seats and it would have an upper deck with about 7 rows of seating. The ballpark would include a restaurant and bar on the upper deck and an 8 story hotel that looks like a tobacco warehouse over looking the field. A parking deck that looks like a warehouse could be built attached to the stadium.

The exterior could look something like the warehouse photo below but it would be 4 stories. This is the future of ballpark design I believe. stadiums that blend in with other buildings in the area wether they have a modern design or a historic design. This elimates cookie cutter designs

If W-S built a stadium with a facade similar to this, I could image street level retail and even a few street level restaurants, a night club, coffee shop and Krispy Kreme Shop being incorperated into the stadium on the exterior. The city should do something unique like this because it would set the stadium apart from others and the twin city would even have a ballpark better than Greensboro's.

16a.jpg

Edited by cityboi

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If I were building the ballpark in Winston-Salem, not only would I build it in the heart of downtown but I would give the ballpark a tobbaco warehouse look. It would look more like a tobacco warehouse than a ballpark from the exterior. Sort of like what they did in Louisville Kentucky. Slugger Field looks more like an old train station than a ballpark from the exterior, but that was due in part because they converted an old train station to become part of the ballpark.

Any way I would make the stadium 4 stories tall, 7,500 permanat seats and it would have an upper deck with about 7 rows of seating. The ballpark would include a restaurant and bar on the upper deck and an 8 story hotel that looks like a tobacco warehouse over looking the field. A parking deck that looks like a warehouse could be built attached to the stadium.

The exterior could look something like the warehouse photo below but it would be 4 stories. This is the future of ballpark design I believe. stadiums that blend in with other buildings in the area wether they have a modern design or a historic design. This elimates cookie cutter designs

If W-S built a stadium with a facade similar to this, I could image street level retail and even a few street level restaurants, a night club, coffee shop and Krispy Kreme Shop being incorperated into the stadium on the exterior. The city should do something unique like this because it would set the stadium apart from others and the twin city would even have a ballpark better than Greensboro's.

16a.jpg

Yes sir, this is what I'm talking about. i especially like the retail/restaurants/Krispy Kreme on the exterior street level.

Add some luxury suites, a HD video scoreboard, state-of-the-art drainage system for the field, maybe throw in a few condos with the hotel overlooking the stadium with nice big balconies.

i would also make the playing field visible from 1 of the highways (bus 40 or hwy 52)

only if i had an extra $20-30 million, i would do it my self.

good ideas cityboi.

Edited by don julio

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Thanks. Maybe some Winston-Salem developers will see these ideas on this board. One good thing about incorporating street level businesses and retail on the exterior side of the ballpark is that those businesses that pay leases along with corporate luxury boxes would actually help pay of any loans that the developer got. Once loans are paid off thats just extra profit coming in for the team or who ever owns the stadium. I wish Greensboro had done something like this.

Edited by cityboi

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I love that idea too Cityboi...but the problem is, where could this possibly be built? everything in brookstown or PTRP/Goler are either historic, being redeveloped, or already have plans. it would be good if Ideallance could set aside some land for a ballpark. i know that wouldnt fit with the park's master plan, but it definitely would benefit downtown more.

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It would, Maybe there could be a land exchange deal with county property like what happened in Greensboro and like what Charlotte is trying to do

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story

excerpt bizjournals.com

New Warthog ballpark?

While the Grasshoppers have the advantage of a sparkling new stadium, Ernie Shore was built in 1956.

But city officials and team owners Billy Prim and "Flip" Filipowski have been negotiating on the possibility of building a downtown ballpark in Winston-Salem.

Manuel said that he's not privy to any inside information about where those negotiations stand, but said a feasibility study had been done on the potential of the ballpark.

"We did the research, and if it happens, we could make it successful," he said. "We can thrive just as much as Greensboro has."

John Allen, business development administrator for the city of Winston-Salem, said the city is continuing to have discussions with Warthogs ownership about a new stadium.

"Nothing's been decided," he said. "(Prim) has outlined a potential broadbrush financing option that lays out what the city's participation would be. Don't expect anything decided anytime soon. It's probably a matter of months, not weeks."

Edited by twincity

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I think that would be really great. I was born and raised in GSO. Whenever we'd go to DT Winston, I would just look around in awe. It was so foreign to me, and that's exactly why I liked it. The park would definitely spur development on top of what's already going on. I wish they could link DT GSO and DT WS with some kind of rail service.

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I think that would be really great. I was born and raised in GSO. Whenever we'd go to DT Winston, I would just look around in awe. It was so foreign to me, and that's exactly why I liked it. The park would definitely spur development on top of what's already going on. I wish they could link DT GSO and DT WS with some kind of rail service.

I think PART is trying to link the two now. this project has been proposed for almost three years now. i understand that something of this scale takes a lot of time, but dirt should be moving by now. hopefully, the delay will produce an even greater plan. 250,000 sf of office, residential and retail were part of the original proposal.

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I think PART is trying to link the two now. this project has been proposed for almost three years now. i understand that something of this scale takes a lot of time, but dirt should be moving by now. hopefully, the delay will produce an even greater plan. 250,000 sf of office, residential and retail were part of the original proposal.
True, Greensboro's ballpark was first planned about 5 years before the first game started at the stadium It does take time. Mainly its because communities have to figure out how to fund its construction. But a ballpark will spur alot of development in downtown Winston-Salem and tthe icing on the cake is that it will be next to the streetcar line. I hate that Greensboro missed out on having a 15-story office building over looking left field though. Edited by cityboi

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Looking at the map of the area and the overhead view from the satellite shots available from Google Maps or Microsoft Live show me there is much more potential here for redevelopment than that graphic bundled with the Journal article. Why stop at Green St? I say push the development all the way to Broad St where the ramps from Business-40 meet up with Broad. Appartently with the Green St bridge closed because of that tractor trailer collison last month, people are commenting in how crime seems to be less prevalent in the area.

Also, push the development up to Brookstown Rd through straightening 1st Street through that area, create a traffic circle where Brookstown Rd meets First Street so as to create a focal point that ties in the West End Village development with the Ball Park with a boulevard that takes you downtown.

If you are going to dream, dream big. :D

Edited by ncbrian

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Looking at the map of the area and the overhead view from the satellite shots available from Google Maps or Microsoft Live show me there is much more potential here for redevelopment than that graphic bundled with the Journal article. Why stop at Green St? I say push the development all the way to Broad St where the ramps from Business-40 meet up with Broad. Appartently with the Green St bridge closed because of that tractor trailer collison last month, people are commenting in how crime seems to be less prevalent in the area.

Also, push the development up to Brookstown Rd through straightening 1st Street through that area, create a traffic circle where Brookstown Rd meets First Street so as to create a focal point that ties in the West End Village development with the Ball Park with a boulevard that takes you downtown.

If you are going to dream, dream big. :D

yes, this development should go up to broad. demolish one of those gas stations, close green street and cut down some of those trees. the stands could face the skyline and the midrise could front broad. good idea.

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