An ambitious plan for Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium upgrades, complete with new clubhouses, a wraparound concourse and expanded outfield seating, was unveiled today by the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins, the ballpark’s spring tenants.
The plan was unveiled today in a presentation to the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council. The request for Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium upgrades is not a surprise: the Cardinals, in particular, signaled that they would be seeking upgrades after Palm Beach County went ahead with the construction of FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, which opened in 2017 as spring home of the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros. And while Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium was considered state of the art when it opened, keep in mind it opened when the Montreal Expos were still owned by Canadian interests.
What did the teams pitch to the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council today? First, the teams want new, expanded clubhouses for both MLB and MiLB operations. Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium is a busy ballpark: besides hosting the Cardinals and the Marlins for spring training, two High-A Florida State League teams–the Palm Beach Cardinals and Jupiter Hammerheads–play regular-season games there, while the complex also hosts Gulf Coast League action. The plan would tear down the existing clubhouses to make room for a 360-degree concourse and additional outfield seating, with new clubhouses built beyond the new concourse. Also proposed: a new scoreboard to replace the old one that would be dismantled to make way for the new outfield concourse. And, of course, the teams want an expanded merchandise store as well as some other minor ballpark upgrades. The cost of the project: $100 million, which would be partly funded by the county’s tourism (hotel/motel) tax.
As noted, this is hardly a surprise. One reason why the Atlanta Braves failed in their pursuit of a new Palm Beach County spring-training complex was that Palm Beach officials knew they needed to take care of the Cardinals and Marlins before committing to another spring complex.
The action today was just the first step in the process: the Tourist Development Council will consider the proposal in upcoming workshops.
Image courtesy Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Under the proposed renovations, the clubhouse in the background of this photo would be torn down, with new clubhouses moved farther away from the ballpark bowl.