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Outline of Wilmington ballpark deal emerges: $37M, 5,500 seats

Carolina LeagueThe outline of a Wilmington (N.C.) ballpark deal is emerging, as the City Council will consider a proposed $37-million, 5,500-seat facility to be built at a prized waterfront site.

Though nothing is final — and neither Mandalay Baseball Properties nor the Atlanta Braves have signed off on any lease — CIty Council members have been given an information packet that contains the following parts of a ballpark deal:

  • The total cost of the project, including land and the ballpark, will not exceed $37 million, down from the $42 million originally proposed by Mandalay. The ballpark itself will have a $31-million budget, funded by a property-tax increase.
  • The ballpark will have 5,500 seats.
  • Mandalay and the Braves would agree to a 20-year lease.
  • The ballpark would be built at the so-called Almont property, pending land acquisition and remediation efforts. That’s the waterfront site on Harnett Street.
  • The opening may be pushed back to 2015, depending on how the design goes.

Next week sees some crucial deadlines for the project. On Monday a council committee will be meeting to discuss the plan; if that goes well on Tuesday (Aug. 7) will meet to approve the proposal and place it on the fall ballot, with the property-tax increase subject to referendum.

The two sides are working on a proposal for a public funded new facility to be managed by Mandalay and occupied by the relocating Lynchburg Hillcats (High Class A; Carolina League), a team to be owned by the Atlanta Braves.

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