We have some more details for a new Lookouts ballpark in Chattanooga, as the Southern League team unveiled a new rendering and facility site at the old U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry site.
The Lookouts and a group of developers had previously announced plans to build at the U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry site. The financial plan would create a 470-acre special tax district surrounding the eight-acre ballpark location, in a new South Broad District development. Increased tax revenues–state/local sales and property–generated by the development would be used to partially pay for the $79.4 million ballpark; the Lookouts would also pay $1 million annually in rent. A new entity, the Chattanooga Sports Authority, will own the ballpark and issue bonds for the project, with the Lookouts also committed to $45 million in future maintenance and other operational costs as well as booking events beyond the MiLB season.
The new ballpark would replace AT&T Field, a landlocked ballpark with limited development opportunities and a challenging path to meeting MiLB’s new facilities standards in 2025.
The new site plan calls for the ballpark to incorporate old, abandoned buildings at the foundry site. From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:
Jason Freier, managing owner of the minor league baseball club, said at the meeting that the ballpark will have a 360 degree concourse around the field for spectators, unlike AT&T Field.
“New ballparks have more social seating,” he said, permitting up to 9,000 or so patrons into the stadium for events.
Additionally, the playing field itself will be lowered from between 14 feet to 20 feet below grade so the concourse is on ground level. That way, Freier said, people on the first floor or two of buildings that go up around the facility can look into the field and not into steel superstructure.
As noted, the Lookouts need to have a new ballpark in place by 2025 or run the risk of losing the MiLB license. The current plan calls for an architect on the project (RFPs are due by May 1), a groundbreaking this year and completion in time to make the MiLB deadline.
RELATED STORIES: Development announced for new Lookouts ballpark area; Lookouts determining layout of new Chattanooga ballpark at foundry site; New Chattanooga Lookouts ballpark approved, funded by county; More specifics emerge on new Chattanooga Lookouts ballpark plan; Details emerging on proposed new Chattanooga ballpark; Lookouts: Small AT&T Field Site Limits Potential Upgrades; Details on Chattanooga Lookouts Ballpark Plan Unveiled; Freier: New Foundry-Area Ballpark Could Be Chattanooga “Game Changer”; New Lookouts Ballpark Could be an Option for Foundry Site; Freier: New Lookouts Ballpark Could Be “Win, Win, Win”