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Columbia sells Capital City Stadium; Wal-Mart on the way

Columbia BlowfishThe writing is on the wall: Columbia (S.C.) has sold historic Capital City Stadium to a development group with close ties to Wal-Mart, leading locals to wonder about the ballpark’s fate.

Capital City Stadium, home of the Columbia Blowfish (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League), was sold for $1 million to Atlanta-based Bright-Meyers LLC. The sale is contingent on property rezoning to allow a large shopping center, as well as the purchase of additional land. The contract does prevent Bright-Meyers from taking any action on the ballpark until after the 2012 season, which meand the Blowfish will have a home for now. And with Wal-Mart saying it intends to open a new store in Columbia, it doesn’t take a genius to see where this is heading, even if Bright-Meyers officials are being a little coy about their intentions.

Or, to put it more bluntly, there’s no way Bright-Meyers bought the land to run a ballpark.

On the flip side, it does lend credence to talk that the Blowfish ownership — Michael Savit and Bill Shanahan, of HWS Group and the Mobile BayBears (Class AA; Southern League) — will indeed work to bring minor-league baseball back to the city, perhaps in a new development pitched by Bob Hughes. Columbia is one of the better open markets in Minor League Baseball, ranked as the #77 television market in the country, ahead of Savannah, Charleston and Wilmington in the region. Any talk of a Cal League/Carolina League switch probably should include discussion of Columbia in the mix.

Capital City Stadium dates back to 1945 and was built by former Pittsburgh Pirates owner and Hall of Famer Barney Dreyfuss as part of his minor-league empire.

RELATED STORIES: Future of Columbia baseball in play


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