Retailer Cato Corp. is proposing a $450-million mixed-use development that would include the current site of Knights Stadium, the home of the Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League).
The ballpark is slated to close at the end of the season, when the Knights make the move to a new Uptown ballpark. York County (S.C.) has been exploring options for the 32-acre ballpark site, but it looks like the Cato Corp. proposal will be accepted. According to the Charlotte Business Journal, the total cost of the development — which includes warehouse space, retail, apartments and office space — is $450 million. The company has already purchase 265 acres surrounding the ballpark for $7 million; York County will sell the remaining 32 acres for $845,000. As part of the deal, Cato will receive a property-tax break as well.
It was fairly certain the ballpark would be torn down after the Knights departed the area; the only plan for keeping it intact came from a group proposing to convert the facility to a racetrack.
Knights Stadium was borne of optimism, designed to be expanded if a MLB team ever descended on the Queen City. A plan to lure the Minnesota Twins never quite came together, and over the years Knights Stadium became more and more of an anomaly as teams discovered cozy, downtown ballparks to be quite efficient at drawing fans — which is why the Knights are moving downtown.
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