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Flying Squirrels, Richmond, VCU Sign Ballpark MOU

Richmond Flying SquirrelsThe Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and the City of Richmond agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a new Boulevard-area ballpark costing between $50 million and $60 million.

The agreement isn’t final, but the three parties have agreed on the broad strokes of the construction and development terms, according to a press release issued by the city. These efforts may be augmented with additional funding and/or financing from the Commonwealth of Virginia, other localities, private developers and investors:

  • Location: The parties anticipate that the location of the new baseball stadium will be in close proximity to the current facility (The Diamond) in the City of Richmond, but off 60 acres of city-owned North Side land bounded by North Boulevard and Hermitage Road.
  • Cost: Construction is estimated in a range of approximately $50 million to $60 million. As primary users of the new ballpark, the Flying Squirrels and VCU will be major contributors. Annual rent paid by the Flying Squirrels will be approximately $1 million, or roughly four times their current annual rent at the Diamond.
  • Design: The new ballpark will be able to accommodate non-athletic events such as concerts, festivals, or other community events, and it will be substantially similar in size, quality, programming, and amenities to BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte and Coca-Cola Park in Allentown.

“This is a significant step forward for baseball in the Richmond region,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “More importantly, it advances our efforts for economic development along the Boulevard to generate revenue for schools and city services, consistent with our longstanding goals for Richmond.”

“The Flying Squirrels are excited by the progress and spirit of cooperation that is evidenced by this new agreement. We look forward to playing our games in a new ballpark, as tenants in a Boulevard area that is being economically developed to best serve the interests of our Greater Richmond community, neighbors and fans,” said Flying Squirrels President Lou DiBella.

The potential (but not specified) site for the ballpark: a 20-acre site owned by the state and used as a central office and distribution center by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The current plan comes after an April announcement that the city, VCU and the Flying Squirrels were working together on a ballpark plan.

RELATED STORIES: Richmond, Flying Squirrels Present New Ballpark Plan; Governor: Richmond needs professional baseball; Squirrels: One season at a time; Flying Squirrels ballpark breakthrough announced; DiBella to Richmond: Time for a ballpark plan; Richmond ballpark solution stalled; will counties help?; Will 2015 finally see Richmond ballpark solution?; Flying Squirrels announce ballpark upgrades; Flying Squirrels at The Diamond for two more years; McEacharn: Lots of “frustration” with Richmond ballpark situation; Flying Squirrels ballpark plan on hold; Richmond ballpark plan lacks council support

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