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ABC to Request Move; Could Clear Richmond Ballpark Site

Richmond Flying Squirrels

If the potential relocation of a state central liquor warehouse moves forward, it could clear land for a new Richmond Flying Squirrels‘ (Class AA; Eastern League) ballpark. 

Currently, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has a warehouse located on Hermitage Road across from The Diamond, the home to the Flying Squirrels. ABC has been considering its long-term options for the warehouse, and recently determined through a study that moving to a new location is a more viable plan than staying put.

Should the effort to relocate operations move forward, it is expected that the site could be used for a new ballpark that would house the Flying Squirrels and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) baseball. If officials can ultimately strike an agreement for a new facility at that location, it would effectively end the Flying Squirrels’ search for a new ballpark while allowing The Diamond’s current site to be redeveloped. ABC’s request to relocate is expected to be considered by the state’s general assembly when it reconvenes in January. More from The Richmond Times-Dispatch:

“We’ve confirmed that it’s in the best interest of the ABC and the commonwealth to find a new location, and we’re getting greater detail about just what we need to do to make that happen to allow us to continue to grow our operations,” said Travis Hill, the agency’s chief operating officer.

The report says the agency will continue pursuing private development options that began with a request for proposals issued earlier this year that netted 15 responses. Based on those responses, the report says the agency has determined that partnering with a private developer will likely lower costs below the $105 million estimate presented last year.

The report says the agency plans present “a final solution for consideration during the 2018 budget and legislative session.”

While the agency has had no role in Richmond’s ongoing stadium quagmire, its desire for a larger, more modern facility neatly aligns with the city’s desire to build a new stadium in the vicinity of the Boulevard while freeing up the 60 acres of city land where The Diamond currently sits for redevelopment.

The Diamond originally opened in 1985 for the Richmond Braves (Class AAA; International League), and was home to that franchise until it relocated to Gwinnett County, GA prior to the 2009 season. The Flying Squirrels have played at the ballpark since 2010.

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