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Report: D-Backs Have Wish List for New Ballpark

Arizona Diamondbacks

If the Arizona Diamondbacks leave Chase Field for a new Phoenix-area facility, team owners will likely seek a more intimate retractable-roof ballpark built at the center of a mixed-use development.

D-Backs ownership has been evaluating the organization’s future since reaching an agreement with Maricopa County to seek a new home in May 2018, a deal that came amidst dissatisfaction with how Chase Field was being run and maintained. This agreement lets the D-Backs look for a new home either in the Valley of the Sun or elsewhere after the end of the 2022 season, effectively shaving five years off the Chase Field lease.

Since then, the D-Backs have not announced long-term facility plans, though there is an idea emerging of what a new ballpark for the team could look like. According to a newly uncovered wish list that was shared with Henderson, NV officials last year and reported first by the Arizona Republic, the team would want a new ballpark to seat 36,000-42,000–a range that yields a smaller figure than Chase Field’s 48,519. The ballpark would feature a retractable-roof and be built over at least 20 acres, putting it the center of a larger development concept that includes 45-70 acres of mixed-use amenities (retail, dining, offices, and residential units) and a 5,000-seat concert venue. Ideally, the D-Backs would also want connectivity to public transportation, along with cost-sharing on ballpark repairs, full control over naming-rights revenue, control over booking and revenues from the ballpark and concert venue, and possible control over development and operation of the retail area–splitting revenues there with a public partner.

Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas, pitched the D-Backs on a new ballpark that would anchor surrounding development. All indications are that discussions with Henderson stalled earlier this year, and the team is reportedly not considering offers from outside Arizona, but the wish list contained in a Expression of Interest (read here) at least provide some insight on what the organization is seeking. More from the Arizona Republic:

A team official said the Diamondbacks are not currently considering proposals from Henderson or other non-Arizona groups. Several groups within Maricopa County remain in the running, the official said.

The Republic obtained the team wish list, stadium proposal and email correspondence between the team and Henderson through a public records request to the city. The Las Vegas Review-Journal first reported Henderson’s stadium proposal but did not fully reveal what the Diamondbacks were looking for.

The list is not a commitment from the D-Backs to build a new ballpark, and in theory could serve as the starting point in discussions that ultimately yield a project planned to a different scale. There have, however, been signs that the D-Backs are seeking ancillary development as part of any long-term ballpark plan, a strategy that would reflect the current trend of tying professional sports facilities to larger economic development initiatives. SunTrust Park and the adjacent Battery Atlanta have been cited as a model for future ballpark planning since opening for the Atlanta Braves in 2017, and the Texas Rangers’ upcoming Globe Life Field will be served by the adjacent Texas Live! development. That same model is also having implications in several ongoing discussions around Major League Baseball, including the Oakland A’s pitch for a new Howard Terminal ballpark and planning by the Los Angeles Angels and Anaheim officials over the future of Angel Stadium and the surrounding land.

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