The city of High Point (N.C.) is using a proposed $30-million downtown ballpark as a catalyst for $38 million in additional investment from private sources, with High Point University President Nido Qubein leading the effort.
There is not a final High Point ballpark plan yet; there is a rough budget, but no funding sources for the ballpark construction and some interest from the independent Atlantic League should a local ownership group be found. Qubein’s portfolio includes putting together a funding plan, finding the local ownership group and raising private funds for downtown redevelopment. He’ll be working under the auspices of Forward High Point, the nonprofit tasked by the city with the ballpark and redevelopment efforts.
“High Point has been my chosen home for nearly 50 years. I am happy here, and I love my city,” Qubein said in a statement. “I have no financial interest or stake in this development project in any way. My sole interest is helping High Point thrive.”
The goal of the private funds would be to launch projects, besides the ballpark, to bring people to downtown High Point. That could include an events center, a park, a children’s museum and more, That will be a challenge, as will be the effort to find $15 million for a new ballpark without dipping into the city’s general funds. (The city has committed to $15 million for land acquisition; another $15 million would be spent on the ballpark itself.) The plan is to fund the ballpark with rent, parking fees, naming rights (which, on a really good day, will get you $250,000 annually for 10 years these days, based on recent MiLB naming-rights deals; in general naming rights have been yielding lower revenues than, say, even five or six years ago) and an increase in area property-tax revenues.
If these financial pieces can fall into place, a new ballpark could open as soon as 2019. The proposed ballpark would seat 5,000, and capacity for events and concerts would be 7,000.
High Point already hosts baseball in the form of the High Point-Thomasville HighToms (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League), who play at historic Finch Field. The city is less than 20 miles from Greensboro and about 25 miles from Winston-Salem.
RELATED STORIES: Atlantic League Interested in New High Point Ballpark