Now that two key votes for the funding have taken place, Fayetteville officials are beginning the process of developing conceptual renderings of a new ballpark.
HKS has been given the task of creating two concepts for the ballpark that will host the Houston Astros‘ Carolina League affiliate. Amenity wise, the facility is slated to have a capacity in the range of 4,000 to 4,500 and will be designed to accommodate non-baseball events.
In some respects, these elements follow trends that have played out in recent ballpark designs. Fayetteville officials have previously cited the Columbia Fireflies’ (Low A; Sally League) Spirit Communications Park as a model for the city’s project. While cost concerns led to planners scaling back the size of the ballpark, it still sounds as if some of the characteristics of Spirit Communications Park and other newer ballparks will be in place.
Aside from providing ideas on the look and feel of the facility, HKS will consider how to work with the ballpark’s site. More from the Fayetteville Observer:
The interim city manager, Doug Hewett, described the two concepts as more about how the stadium would fit on a 9.7-acre site behind the Prince Charles Hotel downtown. The city owns most of it, but 2.5 acres are owned by the investors of Prince Charles Holdings LLC, which scooped up the shuttered building at an auction about two years ago.
The city and the investors of the holding company hope to agree on a master plan for developing the 9.7 acres – a venture that would include the city-built stadium and about $60 million in private investment. They are looking to build a hotel, new apartments and ground-floor retail. The investors also are planning to renovate the historic hotel into rentable apartments for $15 million, with construction to start next year.
Hewett said the committee wanted to establish behind closed doors its negotiating terms with the holding company about acquiring or swapping some of the land.
Hewett said the committee also considered in the closed session how different stadium configurations, or concepts, would affect where the private development could go on the site.
Both the city and Cumberland County have approved financial contributions to the $33 million ballpark, which is set to open in 2019. Fayetteville officials have previously reached a memorandum of understanding with the Astros, and are trying to finalize a lease by the end of this year.
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