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Ballpark Preview: Spirit Communications Park

Spirit Communications Park

Tuesday saw the groundbreaking of a new Columbia (S.C.) ballpark, Spirit Communications Park. The $37-million project ($30 million from the city, $7 million from team owner Hardball Capital) is set to open for the 2016 season.

While the team moving to Columbia is still to be determined — Savannah is a strong contender, but there are some possibilities floating around — the ballpark itself should be the major draw. Located on the edge of downtown Columbia, the new 8,000-seat ballpark is envisioned as the centerpiece of Columbia Common, the new gateway to downtown Columbia. The 181-acre Columbia Common, under the guidance of master developer Hughes Development, is a mixed-use development featuring housing, retail and office space.

“This is a milestone day for our entire city,” Mayor Steve Benjamin said at the groundbreaking. “It’s taken hard work by many to make this possible, and more hard work is still in store, but our vision for a more vibrant Columbia is coming closer and closer to fruition. The countdown is now on to Opening Day in 2016.”

“It’s exciting to think about how Spirit Communications Park will add to what is already one of the Southeast’s great cities,” said team owner Jason Freier of Hardball Capital. Freier led the development of Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps (Low Class A; Midwest League), a ballpark that attracted significant new development to downtown Fort Wayne.

There is another successful model for Spirit Communications Park: Fluor Field in Greenville’s West End. “We’ve seen this kind of development centered around a ballpark work throughout the country, including not so far away from Columbia,” said Bob Hughes, who developed the area around Fluor Field. “Folks in Columbia are in for a treat with Spirit Communications Park.”

Populous is charge of the ballpark design. Construction of Spirit Communications Park is being managed by CCEB Venue Partners, a joint venture among Contract Construction, Construction Dynamics, and EnviroAg Sciences — all local firms — as well as Barton Malow Construction, national ballpark experts.

Renderings courtesy Columbia Professional Baseball.

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