Another ballpark-centric downtown development is now underway, as the first concrete has been poured at the future location of a new downtown Gastonia (NC) multipurpose events complex, which will feature pro baseball.
The Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment (FUSE) District in downtown Gastonia, considered part of the greater Charlotte area, is a 16-acre redevelopment project. A new multipurpose events space—the ballpark–is designed to host multiple types of events in addition to independent Atlantic League games, including concerts, soccer, lacrosse, and football. It will also come with amenities such as a 360-degree concourse, cabana suites, banquet/lounge space, a covered two-floor beer garden, and more, with a total capacity of 5,000. It’s slated to open for the 2021 season. The current cost of the FUSE redevelopment effort is now at $26.2 million, with the ballpark costing $21.5 million. From the Gaston Gazette:
The benchmark occurred a little less than a week before Thanksgiving, as the binding material was poured from a large hose and spread among steel reinforcing bars within the ground. It was a noteworthy step in the construction of the stadium that will serve as the centerpiece of the city’s Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment District.
“At the intersection of Hill Street and Franklin Boulevard, that’s kind of ‘home plate corner,’ if you will,” said Gastonia Development Services Director Rusty Bost. “That’s where all the fixed seats and the seating bowl will be, along with the concession area, ticket office and all that stuff.
“That will be our main entrance into the facility, and the concrete that was poured was for some of the footings in those buildings.”
The FUSE effort is not an unusual one. Gastonia officials have been seeking a vehicle for downtown redevelopment for years, and in North Carolina, it’s not surprising a local municipality would seek to use pro baseball as a vehicle to guide those investments. We saw development following the construction of new downtown ballparks in Greensboro and Charlotte, and we’ve seen Kannapolis officials launch a similar downtown redevelopment plan for a new Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (Low A; Sally League) ballpark, slated to open for the 2020 season.
Rendering courtesy Pendulum Studio.
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