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Bronfman to Present Development That Could Include Montreal Ballpark

Montreal Expos

Stephen Bronfman, who has been leading efforts to bring Major League Baseball back to Montreal, will present plans for a development at Peel Basin that could include a new ballpark to city officials on Thursday evening.

Bronfman has been leading the Montreal Group, a contingent of investors that has been mapping out plans for a proposed new ballpark that would anchor mixed-use development at the city’s Peel Basin. Montreal’s prospects for obtaining an MLB franchise have come a bit more into focus in recent months, particularly since the league opted this summer to grant the Tampa Bay Rays permission to explore a split-season arrangement that would include new ballparks in the Montreal and Tampa Bay markets.

Exactly what Thursday’s presentation before the Montreal Public Advisory Board will entail remains to be seen, but Bronfman has not slowed down his efforts to lobby for a new ballpark since word of the potential split-season arrangement surfaced during the summer. More from the Canadian Press:

The executive chairman of Claridge, who wishes to bring a Major League Baseball team back to Montreal, will present his vision for the neighbourhood, which would include a 32,000-seat baseball stadium.

[Pierre] Boivin, president and CEO of Claridge, is leading the neighbourhood’s residential and commercial development, which will be done in partnership with developer Devimco, which will be heard in the afternoon.

Bronfman could present the first sketches of this future stadium. La Presse reported earlier this week that Bronfman wants to build a “green” stadium.

Bronfman and Devimco are trying to acquire some one million square feet in Griffintown in the last undeveloped neighbourhood near downtown Montreal. Some community groups are opposed to the arrival of a baseball club in the neighborhood and want more social housing.

There are plenty of obstacles that would have to be overcome to make the proposed split-season arrangement a reality, something that Bronfman acknowledged earlier this year while describing the proposal as an important step to bring MLB back to Montreal. Still, there is a clear desire among his group to continue the effort to bring MLB back to Montreal. If ballpark plans in Montreal would start to gain momentum, they could have implications in the long run for the league, regardless of whether that involves the Rays’ future or another avenue (such as potential expansion, if MLB does eventually launch a process to add two more teams). Notably, Bronfman’s appearance before the city will come after Rays owner Stuart Sternberg arranged for him and a contingent from Montreal to attend the team’s Wild Card Game in Oakland on Wednesday.

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