With financing and naming-rights sales for a new ballpark stalled, the Potomac Nationals (High Class A; Carolina League) pitched a new lease for Pfitzner Stadium through the 2018 season.
That there are issues with Pfitzner Stadium is not debatable: the 31-year-old ballpark — never a showcase facility — is showing its age and needs some major upgrades just to meed minimum MiLB standards. The P-Nats are in the awkward position of requesting upgrade funds while at the same time stalled out on bringing in new partners, including a sale of naming rights. The asking price for the ballpark’s naming rights has been described to us as being pretty rich — and while Woodbridge (Va.) is certainly an upscale area, so far the naming-rights sale has been a hard one. However, owner Art Silber says the financial plan for the $35 million project has been changed and is being shopped to banks for financing.
So that leaves the P-Nats potentially at Pfitzner Stadium for the next several years. And that means some upgrades. On Tuesday Prince William County approved $230,000 to upgrade the visiting clubhouse, which will upgrade showers and bathrooms as well as expanding training and coaching facilities. But that’s really the tip of the iceberg: the grandstand is falling down and needs $390,000 just to keep it usable, and new lights — costing at least $250,000 — are needed as well. And the lease extension pitched by the P-Nats still needs to be approved by the county Board of Supervisors.
Despite the new lease at Pfitzner Stadium, there’s still some urgency toward finalizing a new-ballpark deal. Conditions are indeed rip for new development, with low interest rates and a general freeing up of capital in the marktplace. The team’s partner, Roadside Development, wants to see a new deal finalized by the end of this year, which means construction could begin next year.
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