We’ve reported on this as a possibility for several years, and now a plan has emerged for a new Boise Hawks ballpark, as team managing partner Chris Schoen is looking to buy downtown land for the short-season-A Northwest League team and associated development.
Schoen and his Greenstone Properties have been involved in two high-profile baseball-centered developments: Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne Tincaps (Low A; Midwest League), has been a catalyst for new development in that city’s downtown, while North Augusta’s Project Jackson, an extensive development anchored by a new Augusta GreenJackets (Low A; Sally League) ballpark, has received final approvals.
That model — using a ballpark as centerpiece for a more extensive development — has become the Holy Grail for many team owners, and Schoen certainly has the background to pull off a similar deal in downtown Boise. The plan: buy 11 acres from St. Luke’s Health System, put the ballpark on four acres and develop the rest. (If you know downtown Boise, the ballpark would be placed on a lot bordered by Americana Boulevard, Shoreline Drive, 14th Street and Spa Street.) The 5,000-capacity facility could also host professional soccer — potentially a USL team owned by the MLS Portland Timbers. From the Idaho Statesman:
In addition to donating the land for the stadium, Schoen would contribute $1 million to its construction cost, which is expected to be about $41 million. The Boise Hawks would lease the stadium, whose eventual owner is a detail that has yet to be worked out. Other potential sources of income include the minor league soccer team, BSU, concerts, prep sports tournaments and other events.
Capital City Development Corp., Boise’s urban renewal agency, would borrow money to pay for the stadium’s construction cost, Ludwig said. Other groups, including Greater Boise Auditorium District and the city of Boise, could have a hand in financing the stadium, either with upfront cash contributions that pay down the principal of the stadium loan or with yearly contributions that help pay off the debt.
The rest of the property would be developed by Schoen for residential, retail, office and parking. We’re not talking anything that will happen soon: while there’s a chance the new ballpark could open in 2019, 2020 is a more realistic expectation. But Boise is in the midst of an economic renaissance, and the chance to develop a new downtown ballpark has been a goal of Schoen and Jeff Eiseman since they purchased the Hawks. There’s absolutely no future in the team’s current home, Memorial Stadium.
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