The prospective owner of a Richmond Eastern League teams says updating The Diamond isn’t an option for his group, while a developer says he won’t move forward with a Shockoe Bottom redevelopment without public funding of a new ballpark in place. It’s hardball time in Virginia.
The prospective owner of a Richmond Eastern League team says updating The Diamond isn’t an option for his group, while a developer says he won’t move forward with a Shockoe Bottom redevelopment without public funding of a new ballpark in place. It’s hardball time in Virginia.
A public discussion on Shockoe Bottom development brought Bryan Bostic and Paul Kreckman to a local elementary school before a crowd of 75 or so citizens, who had plenty of questions for the pair. Bostic is the lead of Richmond Baseball Club, the group currently closing on a purchase of the Connecticut Defenders (Class AA; Eastern League); Kreckman works for Highland Properties, the firm looking to invest millions in a redevelopment of the city’s Shockoe Bottom area.
Both sides made it abundantly clear they were not interesting in discussing a renovation of The Diamond, the former home of the Richmond Braves (Class AAA; International League), an idea that’s been gaining momentum in recent weeks in Richmond city circles. The only way baseball would work in Richmond, they declared, would be for the city to build a new ballpark in Shockoe Bottom.
Of course, we’re talking loads of self-interest here: a new ballpark would certainly enhance the value of the team and attract more interest in a Shockoe Bottom development. But taxpayers would need to pick up the costs, either in the form of direct aid or a diversion of revenues via tax-increment financing.
The current situation in Richmond: a group of consultants is working on a study to determine the real costs of a new Shockoe Bottom ballpark versus a renovation of The Diamond. Whether that gives the city enough cover to move ahead with a new ballpark remains to be seen.
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