According to a report, a proposed new Chattanooga Lookouts (Class AA; Southern League) ballpark and surrounding amenities could serve as a catalyst in bringing investment to the area.
The Lookouts and local officials have been considering the former Wheland/U.S. Pipe foundry property and surrounding area as the site of a new ballpark that would serve as anchor for other amenities. If the proposal moves forward, the new ballpark would replace AT&T Field as the home of the Lookouts, while being constructed in an effort to bring more economic activity to the South Broad Street area.
A study by the Chattanooga Design Studio suggests that the project could yield certain benefits. While the new ballpark and surrounding development could result in more activity in the South Broad Street area, it would also free up the current AT&T Field site for future redevelopment. Plenty of questions about the proposed project–including how it would be funded–remain, but the report suggests that a new ballpark could bring economic activity to its proposed site. More from The Times Free Press:
The study suggests relocating the Chattanooga Lookouts AA minor league baseball stadium into the area “can serve as a catalyst” and “serve as anchor to new investment.” Similar stadium projects in six other comparable cities studied show an average of 1.1 million square feet of new development was attracted within a quarter mile of the new stadiums.
At the same time, the study said demolishing the current Lookouts stadium atop Hawk Hill downtown along Highway 27 in downtown Chattanooga would open up more riverfront land and development to generate more tax revenue for the city.
The stadium could be key to reviving the former Wheland Foundry and U.S. Pipe & Foundry site, which has been idle for more than a decade since the foundries shut down.
“We heard over and over again that many in the community wanted the foundry site to be a vibrant gateway,” Eric Myers, the head of the Chattanooga Urban Design Studio, said in a presentation Tuesday to the Chattanooga City Council.
The concept for a new Chattanooga ballpark could resemble other projects that Hardball Capital–owners of the Lookouts–has undertaken in recent years, including Fort Wayne’s Parkview Field and Columbia’s Spirit Communciations Park. Both were constructed as part of private-public partnerships, and have been credited with helping to attract new development in their respective areas.
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