With construction of a new Kannapolis Intimidators (Low A; Sally League) ballpark underway, officials in the North Carolina city see emerging signs of a broader downtown redevelopment initiative.
Ground was broken in October on the new $52-million home of the Intimidators, which is being dubbed the Sports and Entertainment Venue (SEV). The ballpark is currently slated to open in time for the 2020 season, and is billed as an anchor of a larger $300 million redevelopment initiative in downtown Kannapolis.
The overall vision for the development is one that could include much more than the ballpark, with apartments, offices, a hotel, and retail among the other amenities expected to be built out down the road. Over time, the hope is that the development along with some existing trends–such as a population growth of roughly 5,000 people since 2010–will contribute to a revitalized downtown Kannapolis. While the broader redevelopment would take place over time, current construction of the new ballpark is building some optimism of what could be in the city’s future. More from WFAE.org:
The city of Kannapolis northeast of Charlotte has seen wrenching change in recent decades. More than 4,000 jobs disappeared when the last textile mill closed in 2003 and its downtown has struggled. But in 2015, the city took matters into its own hands by buying the entire downtown. Now, residents and leaders hope a $300 million redevelopment project will bring the city back to life.
The first major project underway is a new minor league baseball stadium for the Kannapolis Intimidators. Still to come are hundreds of apartments, shops, offices and a hotel, City Manager Mike Legg said as he gives a tour of the site.
“This limit going that way is where the apartment project will go,” Legg said, “And it will face right directly into the ballpark.”
Construction and demolition downtown began last year. The Food Lion grocery and Family Dollar store are still open, but most roads around them are closed. Legg describes plans for a tree-lined street of shops and apartments.
As for the ballpark itself, it will feature many of the amenities found in modern Minor League Baseball facilities. It will offer a seating capacity of 4,930, with 3,218 fixed seats. Other seating options will include luxury suites, a party deck, berm seating, dugout box seats, a picnic terrace, an outfield bar, right field boxes and 6,000 square feet of club/banquet space. A new name is also on tap for the franchise, as the Intimidators recently announced plans to rebrand ahead of the 2020 season.
Image courtesy City of Kannapolis.
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