A New York-based developer is pitching a new proposal for the Capital City Stadium site to Columbia, SC officials, calling for a mixed-use development on the property.
The former home of the Capital City Bombers (Low A; Sally League) and Columbia Blowfish (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League), Capital City Stadium has had a long and unique history. It was originally built by Hall of Famer and Pittsburgh Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss in 1927, and went on to host numerous teams over its decades of use. The last affiliated minor league franchise to play there was the Columbia Mets/Capital City Bombers, who called the ballpark home from 1983-2004 before relocating to Greenville, SC and they were followed by the Blowfish from 2006-2014.
Capital City Stadium has gone largely unused in the years since the Blowfish’s departure, and has been obsolete for baseball since the Columbia Fireflies (Low A; Sally League) opened the current Segra Park in 2016. In February, Columbia officials opted to move forward demolishing Capital City Stadium to make way for new development. However, Georgia-based development company Bright-Myers–which has a contract to purchase the site–will be conveying its deal with the city to New York developer Andy Weddle, who wants to redevelop the site with a mix of amenities that includes market-rate apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail.
Those plans are not final at this point, but the developers are asking the city to hold off on demolishing Capital City Stadium. By purchasing the property before the demolition of any on-site structures, developers would be eligible for a state tax credit. More from the Free Times:
City officials say developers have asked to delay demolition of the stadium. Instead, developers would purchase the property with the stadium intact, then have it demolished. That would allow them to take advantage of the state’s abandoned building tax credit.
“The availability of the tax credit would go away if the structure is not in place at the time of the purchase,” [Assistant City Manager Missy] Gentry says. “So, they are asking that we delay the demolition.”
Gentry stressed that the city is working with developers on a security plan for the stadium if demolition is delayed.
Officials say the abandoned building tax credit could be worth several million dollars for the South Assembly Street site, depending on how many separate structures are on the property. There would be a certification process to determine how many individual buildings are there.
Several steps would need to be completed before the project can move forward, including an extension of the city’s existing agreement with Bright-Myers. In addition, the redevelopment proposal is considered preliminary and would have to go through various approvals before being finalized.
Plenty of notable players passed through Capital City Stadium over its history. Frank Robinson suited up for the Columbia Reds in 1954 and 1955, while Hank Aaron appeared at Capital City Stadium in 1953 as a member of the Jacksonville Braves in what would be in his final minor league game. In the ballpark’s later years of hosting affiliated baseball, Jose Reyes and David Wright were among the future stars that suited up for the Bombers. Capital City Stadium is currently on our Endangered Ballparks list.
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