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Birmingham mulls changes in ballpark design team

New Birmingham ballpark

We sense a little Schadenfreude in the air: Birmingham Mayor William Bell is seeking to eliminate two local architects from the design team for a new downtown Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League) ballpark.

The Birmingham News is reporting the mayor’s office is working to remove Giattina Aycock Architecture Studio and Hoskins Architecture from the three-firm architectural team, which also includes HKS — a firm with tons of sports-architecture experience. No one is talking about why the mayor is moving to remove the pair, but we have a theory: when the ballpark process in Birmingham first began and Giattina Aycock was seeking a partner, we heard from folks with architecture firms large and small complaining about Giattina Aycock’s approach to a partnership: Giattina Aycock would take the lead, demand control and take credit even in a situation where a collaborating firm would be doing the vast majority of the work. Treating a firm with ballpark experience as essentially a subcontractor isn’t a cool move; hence the Schadenfreude, and perhaps hence the removal.

In any case, the ballpark design is in good hands with HKS: the firm certainly has the experience to pull off a Double-A ballpark. Too bad Birmingham didn’t truly open up the architecture process at the beginning; some councilmembers are questioning whether the ballpark project is on track, and we’re guessing it is — now.

The $64-million ballpark and Negro Leagues museum will be located near downtown Birmingham at Railroad Park. Naming rights to the facility are carrying over from the Barons’ current home, Regions Park in suburban Hoover.

RELATED STORIES: Developers lining up to take advantage of new Barons ballpark; Birmingham: Design of new ballpark still evolving; American Association: We’d be interested in Hoover team; Entertainment district planned for Barons ballpark area; Demolition planned for Birmingham ballpark site; Birmingham postpones Barons ballpark vote; Barons ballpark plan moves forward, adds Negro Leagues museum to mix; Birmingham: We’re close to finalizing ballpark plan; Birmingham ballpark situation more complicated than anticipated; Barons reach deal to play at new ballpark; Birmingham formally approves downtown ballpark; next up, the Barons; Birmingham approves new downtown ballpark, but second vote needed; New Birmingham ballpark could create $3.8 billion in economic activity: study; Birmingham City Council to vote on new ballpark next week; Birmingham City Council: We support ballpark tax, but we want team first; Birmingham OKs initial ballpark funding plan; Birmingham to discuss downtown ballpark Monday; Downtown ballpark study underway in Birmingham; New ballpark pitched for downtown Birmingham


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