Major upgrades could be on the way for the Syracuse Chiefs (Class AAA; International League) at NBT Bank Stadium, as the New York Mets and Onondaga County are discussing a renovation.
The Mets purchased the Chiefs prior to the 2018 season. As it plans for the future, the club is working with the county to explore a renovation project that would result in significant changes to NBT Bank Stadium.
The proposal calls for the ballpark to receive a reduction in seating capacity–from 11,000 to 7,000–but a greater array of amenities, including a tiered bar area in left field, a wraparound concourse, group picnic terraces in right field, and other features. Currently, the club is committed to NBT Bank Stadium through the 2025 season, but county officials hope that a renovation can ensure a longer stay.
It is anticipated that the renovation cost could be $25 million or higher, but potential state funding will have to come through before the project is finalized. More from Syracuse.com:
Ryan McMahon, chairman of the county legislature, said the biggest variable at this point is how much funding the state will contribute. County officials have tentatively proposed to borrow $8 million for the project, but they hope to pull together total funding closer to $30 million, he said.
“Much of what will be done, or won’t be done, (depends on) how much money for the project we get from the state of New York,” he said. “Pending what the state might do, maybe you’re looking at a $25 million to $30 million project,” McMahon said.
The sale of naming rights, pouring rights and other sponsorships could also contribute to the project, McMahon said. (NBT has the stadium naming rights through 2025.)
Officials at Empire State Development, the state economic development agency, confirmed that they are negotiating with the county but declined to provide details.
Officials are hoping to have a funding plan and proposed lease on the table in September, with county legislator votes taking place in early October. If the project were to go through, it would mark a substantial update to a ballpark that originally opened in 1997.
While the Mets already own the Chiefs, the team is currently fulfilling the final season of a player development contract with the Washington Nationals. Once that affiliation agreement expires, the Chiefs will become an affiliate of the Mets and that switch is expected to coincide with a change to a new name.
Rendering courtesy EwingCole.