Cooley Law School Stadium, home of the Lansing Lugnuts (Low Class A; Midwest League), could see the addition of apartments, ballpark upgrades and a year-round restaurant under the terms of a proposed private-public partnership.
The $22-million proposal has Lugnuts owner Tom Dickson investing $11 million into a new scoreboard and apartments past the outfield wall and the city investing $11 million into ballpark improvements, including theater seats (replacing bleachers), upgraded concessions, expanded clubhouses, a new field and a year-round meeting space.
Yearly public debt on the ballpark is $800,000, but the final bond payments are scheduled for next year. That gives the city some flexibility in taking on ballpark improvements — and at the same time draw some private investment in the city. The city hopes to increase revenue from the Lugnuts lease (currently at $350,000 annually) and use TIF financing as well.
Having a ballpark with adjacent housing is unusual, but not impossible to find: several housing complexes oversee AutoZone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), for example. The project is on a fast track: the city, the mayor and Dickson want to see the plan approved by May 1 so construction can begin this year and be completed by the 2016 season. From Mlive.com:
The project, known as the Outfield, will play off the Stadium District mixed-use development across the street, which has 50 occupied units, as well as his Marketplace project just northwest of the stadium near the Lansing City Market. The first phase with 80 residential units should be complete by late fall.
“The demand for people that want to live downtown is really strong, and there are not enough units, so we definitely feel there’s a market for 80 more,” Gillespie said.
LEAP is negotiating with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. for community revitalization incentives to support the apartment and restaurant portion.
Images courtesy of the Lansing Lugnuts.
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.