The Salt Lake City Council sees potential in revitalizing the city’s Ballpark neighborhood with Smith’s Ballpark upgrades fueling growth, but for that plan to work they also see a lease extension with the Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A; Pacific Coast League) as key.
The City Council has been mapping out a neighborhood revival plan for several months now–we last reported on it last September—and recently the city released a master plan for the development. That plan relies on the use of the ballpark more than just for Bees games; hence the Smith’s Ballpark upgrades. To work, however, the city will need a commitment from the Bees in the form of a new lease, accompanied by ballpark upgrades, including some mandated by Major League Baseball. The team’s current lease expires in 2024, with the license with Major League Baseball ending at the end of the decade. Losing that license shouldn’t be a huge concern–even if there’s another MiLB reorg and contraction, Salt Lake should fare well for many reasons (good location, good air service, etc.). From KSL.com:
The lease offered Tuesday would keep the Bees in the area for the remaining six seasons of the Angels partnership plus many years beyond that….
It states that a new lease will provide “a vital foundational framework” that seeks to combine the long-term needs of the team and the community through facility management, renovation opportunities and continued operations….
Some ideas include a mixed-use housing and commercial development at the parking lot to the north of the stadium, and more mixed-use commercial development to the east. The east side would be smaller to avoid ruining Smith’s Ballpark’s reputation as the “best view in baseball” because the home plate faces the Wasatch Mountains.
The plans also include something that planners refer to as the “Beehive,” an extension of the stadium’s right field that could be used as an event space on game days and nongame days.
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