Kansas City-based Populous is expected to land the design contract for an $81-million renovation of Toronto Blue Jays spring-training facilities, including Dunedin Stadium and the Englebert Complex.
The Blue Jays and local officials have been working on the proposal, with the intention of completing the renovations in 2020, with work launching at Dunedin Stadium immediately at the end of spring training 2019. Plans to renovate Dunedin Stadium and the off-site Englebert Complex call for the Blue Jays to play out of both facilities, with the work scheduled to occur outside of spring training.
Once the renovations are complete, Dunedin Stadium would be equipped with a 360-degree concourse and 6,500 fixed seats, with standing room, berm, and alternate seating spaces bringing the overall capacity to 8,500. The Englebert Baseball Complex, which focuses primarily on MiLB player development, would be expanded into the adjoining city-owned Vanech Recreation Complex. The entire complex would encompass a large two-story clubhouse building with a long list of workout areas: 4½ fields for MiLB use, 2½ fields for MLB use, 1 open air agility field for MiLB use, 1 covered agility field (turfed) for MLB use, 1 inclined agility field for shared MLB/MiLB League use, 13 batting tunnels, covered indoor batting cages, 10½ MiLB gang mounds and 8½ MLB gang mounds.
In one of the next steps of the planning process, the City of Dunedin is expected to vote early next month to award the design contract to Populous. More from Tampa Bay Newspapers:
[Deputy City Manager Doug] Hutchens asked commissioners to have a meeting during the week of July 4 to award a contract to the architects. Design services are expected to cost $5.4 million to $5.5 million.
“They need to get going with surveys, they need to get going with a geotechnical work. Every day is significant here because it has a domino effect through the project,” he said.
Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski said commissioners could accommodate that request.
Interviews have been scheduled with the top construction management companies July 11-12 and commissioners will be asked on Aug. 23 to hire a firm.
The financial framework calls for the Blue Jays to contribute $20 million and the City of Dunedin to pay $5.6 million, with Pinellas County contributing $41.7 million in bed taxes, and a grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that will be paid out $1 million annually over 20 years covering the remainder of the cost. As part of the project, the Blue Jays would remain in Dunedin for another 25 years. The Blue Jays have a long tradition in Dunedin, as the team has trained there since its inaugural season in 1977. Dunedin Stadium is also the home of the Dunedin Blue Jays (High A; Florida State League).
Rendering is a conceptual look for Dunedin Stadium prepared by Populous under city contract.
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