High-A baseball in the form of the Carolina League would be a good fit for Fayetteville (N.C.), while the best site for a $46.9-million ballpark is a site pitched by developers near the Prince Charles Hotel, according to a study presented to the City Council today.
The report, prepared by Barrett Sports Group, Populous and Hunt Construction Group, evaluated the Fayetteville market and two potential ballpark sites: the developer-led Prince Charles Hotel site and the city’s preferred site on the southern end of Murchison Road. While the Murchison Road site was the earlier favorite, the report’s authors are recommending the Prince Charles Hotel site: work could start immediately, while the Murchison Road site could be delayed for up to five years because of state work on a nearby bridge. The cost of the Prince Charles Hotel ballpark would be slightly higher — $46.9 million, versus $43.8 million for the Murchison Road site. The report envisions a 5,000-capacity ballpark with 10 luxury suites and a club level with seating for 150.
Meanwhile, the report also studied Fayetteville demographic and acceptance of pro baseball, per the Fayetteville Observer:
The report said minor league baseball would bring new entertainment alternatives to the market and be relatively affordable, with ticket prices averaging $7.30. The stadium, which could also host other athletic events, concerts, family shows and community events, could also be a catalyst for other redevelopment, the report said.
The report said there appears to be strong interest in minor league baseball in the Fayetteville area. In a survey completed by more than 1,300 people, 88 percent said they would attend a game at new baseball stadium. Only 6 percent said they were “extremely unlikely” to visit.
There are some other larger issues that need to be addressed, such as timing (2018 is the most realistic timing for a ballpark opening, but work continues on a shift of two California League teams to the Carolina League for 2017 — a shift that’s also affecting other Cal League teams, by the way) and an owner. The Houston Astros ownership has publicly expressed interest in owning a team; the Colorado Rockies have privately expressed interest.
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