The Cleveland Indians outlined a potential series of ambitious Progressive Field renovations as part of a lease extension running through 2036, with options for 10 additional years.
There’s plenty of change for the MLB team, which will transition to Cleveland Guardians branding next season. Though the Progressive Field renovations currently are in a conceptual phase, team officials say they’ll focus on an overhaul of the upper deck and changes to premium spaces on the main concourse level. Overall, $202.5 million will be spent on the renovations after the lease agreement between the team, city, county and state generates $435 million overall, including funds for maintenance. The timeline for renovations: within the next five years.
“Our organization is proud to continue our long-term commitment to Cleveland by ensuring we keep our ballpark competitive,” Indians owner Paul Dolan said in a statement. “We want to give our fans, our community, and our players the best ballpark experience possible. We are excited and appreciate the collaborative effort displayed by leadership from the county, city, and state to help make this first step possible and look forward to the next stages in the legislative process to finalize the agreement.”
“We have world-class cities in Ohio who have the arts, the theater, who have all kinds of amenities, all kinds of great, great things,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said at a press conference announcing a new lease. “It’s not just the cities. You look at how many people consider themselves Indians fans. How many people consider themselves Reds fans. They go way out well beyond the cities themselves. It’s just important for all of us for these teams to stay here, and it’s important for these teams to do well.”
If you’ve been to Progressive Field and sat on the upper deck, you realize there are some issues with the intensely vertical space. It’s not the most inviting area of the ballpark. So the goal is to improve the space to attract more fans there, while opening up the walkway and improve views both of the playing field and the Cuyahoga River from the left-field side. That may mean creating a walkway around the entire second level, opening that space dramatically.
On the main concourse level, it sounds like the high-end restaurant in the left-field corner, the Terrace Club, will be going away, replaced by a egalitarian sports bar open to all. This is the same approach the Minnesota Twins took in 2018 when the high-end Metropolitan Club in right field was replaced by the flashy Bat & Barrel sports bar, turning one of the staid locations in the ballpark to one of the busiest spots at Target Field. As we all know, social spaces are the hottest trend in MLB ballpark design, and one of the overarching goals of the Progressive Field renovation is to add more to a ballpark that opened in 1994.
Speaking of social spaces: there is talk of adding more space for high-end ticket holders behind home plate, tucked underneath the stands.
Finally, some areas outside the ballpark could be upgraded, including an overhaul of the Gateway Plaza entrance and an expansion of the team offices.
Renderings courtesy NBBJ and Cleveland Indians.