Amarillo’s Local Government Corporation (LGC) has signed a Letter of Intent with an Elmore Sports Group-owned company for a new downtown ballpark to house the relocating San Antonio Missions (Class AA; Texas League).
Technically, Amarillo is calling the ballpark a Multi-Purpose Event Venue (MPEV), designed to host pro soccer and events other than affiliated baseball. The proposed lease between Amarillo Professional Baseball Club and the city calls for the baseball team to pay $400,000 in annual rent, with $225,000 of that diverted into a capital fund for future ballpark improvements and maintenance. The proposed lease runs through 2048, but there is an out clause in 2038 should the city fail to maintain the ballpark to industry standards. A final lease still needs to negotiated, but this agreement begins the clock on design and construction.
The budget is $45.5 million ($40 million for the ballpark, $5.5 million for improvements in surrounding area), funded by a city hotel tax. It will be located on nine acres north of S. 7th Avenue to S. 8th Avenue, and from S. Buchanan Street to S. Johnson Street. Construction will begin in December, and it’s expected to take 14 months to construct.
Completion date for the new ballpark is Feb. 1, 2019, in plenty of time for the 2019 season. That season will see the shift of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) to San Antonio and a temporary tenancy in Wolff Stadium, the shift of the Missions to Amarillo, and the move of the Helena Brewers (rookie; Pioneer League) to Colorado Springs.
Designing the new Amarillo MPEV: Kansas City-based Populous. From NewsChannel10:
“Over the next few weeks the city council will be finalizing the lease discussions with [the Elmore Sports Group],” said Bob Cowell, Amarillo’s Deputy City Manager.
The LGC has also hired an international architectural firm, Populous, to design the stadium.
“It’s a firm that’s based out of Kansas City, and this is what they do. They build sports facilities internationally as well as nationally,” said Cowell. “The group we’re working with is about a dozen folks that work almost exclusively in minor league facilities. I think they indicated there are 30–something they’ve done in the last 10 or so years. These are the best of what it is they do and we’re looking forward to working with them.”
This season saw three new Populous ballpark projects unveiled: SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves; The Depot at Cleburne Station, home of the Cleburne Railroaders (independent; American Association); and renovations to Steinbrenner Field, spring home of the New York Yankees and regular-season home of the Tampa Yankees (High A; Florida State League).
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