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Downtown Ballpark Proposed for Legends

Lexington Legends

A recently-submitted development plan for downtown Lexington includes a proposed ballpark for the Lexington Legends (Low A; Sally League). 

Grand Slam Development was one of several entities to recently submit a proposal to the Lexington Center Corp., which will decide on whether to proceed with developing the High Street lot across the street from Rupp Arena. The plan from Grand Slam Development calls for the ballpark to anchor an estimated $200 million development that would include three parking garages, a hotel, and mixed-use buildings.

Grand Slam Development master developer and principal partner Phil Holoubek has said that there could be interest in the site of Whitaker Bank Ballpark, the team’s current home, once the Legends move downtown. More from the Lexington Herald Leader:

The stadium could seat 5,400, which is slightly smaller than the 6,000 seats at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, current home of the Legends. The current stadium on North Broadway, originally called Applebee’s Park, cost $25 million to build and opened in April 2001. The new privately financed stadium would cost about $40 million, Holoubek said.

Asked what would happen with Whitaker Bank Ballpark, Holoubek said that is up for public discussion. “I know that several groups already have ideas for that site,” he said.

Andy Shea, president and CEO of the Lexington Legends, could not be immediately reached for comment.

A hotel or office building would be on the corner of Broadway and Maxwell Street, Holoubek said. The parking garages would be “wrapped” with first-floor retail and upper-floor residential units, so that the garages would not be exposed to the street. The plan calls for two parking garages in the first phase and a third in another phase.

WKYT did receive reaction from Shea in its story on the proposal:

“Literally since the first week that I’ve moved here, I’ve had people say ‘Oh man, I wish it was downtown or I can’t believe it’s not downtown’,” Shea said.

Shea says this would create up to $25-30 million of added economic impact to the city.

“The vibrancy that it would create and allow and enhance in downtown would just be absolutely fascinating. I mean when you pair that with Thursday Night Live, when you pair that with the Convention Center, when you pair that with all of the bars, restaurants, Emporium, everything that’s downtown it would just add so much to what’s going on,” Shea said.

As the Herald Leader notes in its story, and as has been covered here before, Allan Stein–who later became the Legends president and CEO–proposed in the 1990’s that a new ballpark be built downtown. However, that plan did not come to fruition, so a privately-financed facility at the Whitaker Bank Ballpark site–which is located outside of downtown–was constructed to land a new franchise.

The proposal from Grand Slam Development was one of five entities to responses to a request for proposal that was issued by the Lexington Center Corp.

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