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Berlin: SB Cubs investing more at Four Winds Field

Four Winds Field, South Bend Cubs

South Bend Cubs (Low A; Midwest League) owner Andrew Berlin announced more investments in his team’s home, Four Winds Field, including a new party deck and a mixed-use development beyond the left/center field walls.

This follows $9 million in previous investments in the ballpark and team by the Chicago businessman. The team, led by Berlin and team president Joe Hart, underwent a series of changes and investments over the last four years. The biggest change came a year ago when the franchise underwent a total rebranding after signing a new affiliation deal with the Chicago Cubs, changing the name from Silver Hawks to Cubs and unveiling new logos, colors and uniforms. The changes paid off: the SB Cubs set franchise records for the best single-season attendance (347,678) and average attendance (5,039) at Four Winds Field. The upgrades resulted in Minor League Baseball’s John H. Johnson President’s Award and Ballpark Digest’s Team of the Year awards in 2015.

And the investments will continue. The first: the addition of a 200-capacity party deck atop the Cubs Performance Center in right field, at a cost of $250,00. This should be completed for the 2016 season.

The second is more extensive: a mixed-use development with apartments, retail and more. From the South Bend Tribune:

The second — and larger — project Berlin talked about on Wednesday will be a two-building, mixed-use development with apartments and shops beyond the stadium concourse in left field and center field.

Berlin didn’t provide many details about the mixed-use development. He didn’t talk about how much it will cost or the timeline for construction.

But he did say he’s been meeting with developers and working on concepts for the project. It would include about 140 apartments, he said, as well as restaurants, concessions and areas for parties on the buildings’ rooftops. He said retail stores will line the walkway that leads into the stadium’s center-field entrance. Many of the apartments will have balconies with views of the baseball field, he added.

Adding apartments and mixed-use developments to the ballpark area is a really hot trend right now: the Lansing Lugnuts (Low A; Midwest League) are unveiling development at Cooley Law School Stadium next season, while we encountered plenty of construction around Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps (Low A; Midwest League) during a late-season visit.

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