A major upgrade is on tap for Joseph P. Reilly, Jr. Park, as the Charleston RiverDogs (Low A; Sally League) have announced plans to build a 6,000 square foot club level.
At a price of $3 million dollars, the new indoor space—which is set to open in February 2017—will help modernize the ballpark. The Joe, as it’s often called by the RiverDogs, first opened in 1997. Though it has aged well, this change will allow the RiverDogs to operate the ballpark as a year-round destination. The RiverDogs are estimating that once the new club level opens, it will be able to host about 100 non-baseball events annually.
Sitting on the bank of the Ashley River, The Joe has a location and backdrop that has become a major part of the game day experience. From the sounds of it, the RiverDogs and local architects LS3P want the club level to play into the ballpark’s strengths. More from the Post and Courier:
The Goldklang Group, which owns the RiverDogs and three other minor league baseball teams, will finance the addition, after reworking the next 10-years of a lease with the City of Charleston. The Goldklang Group also plans to work with the city on construction of a boardwalk to completely circle Riley Park, including views from above the outfield fences.
The club level, to be designed by Charleston’s LS3P architectural firm, will extend along the first base line from the edge of the suites and press box building to the end of the bleacher seating area with a three-to-five foot overhang on the marsh side. With floor to ceiling glass, the structure will include 235 banquet-style seats with tables inside and 120 seats on an outside terrace. Game-day seating would be drink-rail style for 309 people. Construction is scheduled to begin in September.
“We are in baseball for a living and have seen a lot of facilities,” said Marv Goldklang, chairman of the Goldklang Group and majority owner of the RiverDogs since 1989. “But I have never been in a venue that will have the views that this one will have. Picture your event having a lit ballpark on one side and the sun going down over the Ashley River on the other.”
Goldklang added later in the story that the new space is inspired by another of the group’s teams, the St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association). Club and premium spaces are focal points at the Saints’ CHS Field, which opened to acclaim last season.
Fans will be able to purchase a season ticket package that will grant them admission to the club level’s daily buffet, and the area will be a part of The Joe’s group sales offerings. Naming rights for the club level could be part of the equation, as the Post and Courier indicated that the RiverDogs are looking into sponsorship deals.
On a broader scale, this upgrade puts the RiverDogs among the South Atlantic League squads that either have or are making significant improvements to their 1990’s era ballparks. The Hickory Crawdads put $1.5 million worth of improvements into LP Frans Stadium before the 2014 season, and the Delmarva Shorebirds are wrapping up the first part of a two phase overhaul to Arthur W. Purdue Stadium.