We have more details about the Progressive Field upgrades first unveiled over a year ago, as the Cleveland Guardians provided a road map to the previously announced renovation plan.
Opening in 1994 as Jacobs Field, Progressive Field was state of the art upon its debut, and it’s actually aged fairly well since. But between changes to what fans expect from a modern ballpark and the chance to address some of the ballpark’s deficiencies, the Guardians are using the occasion of a new lease agreement to implement changes first mapped out in 2021. The Progressive Field upgrades will touch every part of the ballpark. Ever been annoyed by the steep pitch of the upper deck? Part of the upper deck–in the corners–will be removed in favor of an open party deck. Ever felt claustrophobic meandering the grandstand behind home plate? The grandstand will be opened up. Just looking for a place to have out with your friends to casually take in a game? The new configuration will yield new social spaces.
Progressive Field Reimagined–yes, the improvements are branded–are designed to improve and extend the life of Progressive Field, which is the 11th-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, and will include renovations to the Upper Deck, Terrace Club, Dugout Club, home and visiting Clubhouses & Service Level, and the Guardians Administrative Offices. The total cost of the renovations is now estimated at $202.5 million, with the Guardians responsible for all overages. As part of the new lease the team is committed to Progressive Field through 2036, with potential options to extend the lease to 2046.
“Progressive Field has been a fantastic home to Cleveland Baseball since it opened in 1994,” said Cleveland Guardians Owner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Paul Dolan via press release. “We are excited to continue to call Progressive Field home for decades to come, and we look forward to providing new experiences and updated enhancements to our fans, players and staff through renovation projects that will continue to keep our ballpark competitive as one of the best venues in Major League Baseball.”
“The new fan-facing renovation projects have a heavy emphasis on social experiences at the ballpark,” said President of Business Operations Brian Barren via press release. “As we surveyed our fans, we continuously heard feedback that aligned with the success we saw with the Corner Bar–a focus on more social spaces and compelling fan experiences in the ballpark offering unique ways to enjoy a game. We believe our renovation projects which include a revamped Upper Deck, a reimagined Terrace Club space (which will be renamed the Terrace Hub), and a new Dugout Club will deliver new unique experiences for fans at Progressive Field.”
The scheduled renovation projects will focus on the following areas:
Revamped Upper Deck
The revamped Upper Deck will feature multiple social spaces for fans to enjoy the game. The new-look Upper Deck will feature a Beer Garden down the left field line, a new group outing space in right field, and new concession spaces, including two new View Box bars flanking home plate and allow for more open sightlines from the Upper Deck concourse.
The current Terrace Club will be reimagined as an open-air hub with terraced-ticketed seating on the 200 and 300-levels (shown above), and a new expansive authentic-to-Cleveland Beer Hall food and beverage experience on the 400-level that will be open to all ticketed patrons at Progressive Field. The ticketed seating sections will have their own private club space on the 300-level. Large upper-level clubs, by the way, seem to be on their way out in MLB ballparks, with both the Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers removing theirs in recent years.
The new Dugout Club will combine the best of both worlds when it comes to premium seating, allowing for the same great field-level seats that currently exist while creating a new exclusive lounge behind home plate. The Club will also feature seven private lounges to allow for groups to enjoy an exclusive experience.
Clubhouses & Service Level
Both clubhouses, as well as the ballpark Service Level, will be updated for the first time since the ballpark opened in 1994. The new home clubhouse will be completely reimagined with a focus on player amenities in performance, training and recovery. That includes enhanced strength and conditioning and athletic training areas, improved kitchen facilities, more robust technological support for players, coaches and staff members, among other improvements.
E. 9th Street Building
To allow for the clubhouse expansion, a new four-level E. 9th street building will be erected in right field to allow for a new kitchen and commissary for the Guardians concessionaire, as well as additional storage facilities for the ballpark. The rooftop of the new E. 9th street building will connect to the Upper Concourse and serve as a new group space at Progressive Field.
Cleveland Guardians Front Office
The Guardians Front Office will also be fully renovated for the first time since 1994. As part of the renovation, the Guardians will add a fifth floor to the current four-level structure.
The funding for the projects will be supported by the new lease agreement which extends the current lease to) and was agreed upon between the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, State of Ohio, the Gateway Economic Development Corporation of Greater Cleveland and the Cleveland Guardians. The estimated total of the projects will be $202.5 million with $67.5 million coming from the Cleveland Guardians. The Guardians are also responsible to provide additional funds to cover cost overages, if any, that may result from the projects.
Despite the announcement the Guardians will be partnering with a sports-gambling firm, bet365, beginning with this season, there will be no sportsbook or within the ballpark or attached to it. MLB prohibits a book within the ballpark; some teams, such as the Cubs and the Nationals, have located a sports book right outside the ballpark.
The Guardians expect all renovations to be completed by the 2025 season. The majority of the 2023 season will focus on design development with the hope of starting construction at the end of the 2023 season.
2024 Opening Day Project Completion:
- Upper Deck Experience
- E. 9th Street Building
2025 Opening Day Project Completion:
- Terrace Hub
- Dugout Club
- Clubhouses & Service Level
- Administrative Offices
Manica is serving as the lead design architect on the finalized projects, while Ohio-based Moody Nolan–the largest African American Architecture firm in the United States–is serving as the architect of record. Mortenson is the national construction manager while Northeast Ohio’s Independence Construction will work with Mortenson in providing construction management services.
Renderings courtesy Cleveland Guardians.
RELATED STORIES: Guardians finalize Progressive Field renovations; More glimpses at Progressive Field renovations; Cleveland unveils ambitious Progressive Field renovations; Ohio explores Progressive Field funding if Indians commit to long-term lease; Indians Explore Progressive Field Upgrades, Area Improvements