The deadline for financing a new Hillsboro Hops ballpark has been extended by MLB, as the High-A Northwest League team has been given until March 15, 2024 to finalize a funding plan.
When faced with meeting MiLB’s new facility specs, the Hops owners decided that building a new ballpark would be at least 15 percent more cost-effective than renovating existing home Ron Tonkin Field. Needed to bring Ron Tonkin Field up to the new MiLB facilities specs: a women’s locker room, visiting clubhouse, weight room and other requirements.
The new Hillsboro Hops ballpark will be located on the northwest side of the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex. The ballpark will be designed as a year-round outdoor entertainment venue potentially hosting up to 300 events per year, including Hops home baseball games, concerts, festivals, community events and amateur baseball games. The new ballpark will be designed to accommodate 6,000 people for baseball and up to 7,000 for concerts and other events.
The Hops have secured a significant portion of the total $120 million needed for the new ballpark, including $82 million–68 percent of the total project cost–in private funds. A key part of the remaining budget needs is a potential $15 million commitment from the Oregon Legislature, expected to be considered during the state’s February 2024 legislative session, scheduled to conclude just days prior to the March 15 deadline. A $15 million investment is projected to yield a payback in five to six years within a 40-year lease period.
That potential legislative action was enough to sway MLB, albeit with some warnings: In the extension letter, a MLB representative wrote that “if the Club is unable to confirm that the ballpark project is fully funded by March 15, 2024, the Club will need to explore other possible options including potential relocation.” The letter goes on to state that “… the inability of the Club to bring the stadium into compliance” will subject the Hops to “… possible termination of the Club’s PDL License Agreement.”
“We’re grateful to Major League Baseball for granting us more time to secure these essential remaining funds,” said Hillsboro Hops President and General Manager K.L. Wombacher via press release. “The Hops are integral to Hillsboro, bringing people together in celebration of so much more than baseball. With Oregon’s help, we can preserve the Hops’ future in Hillsboro and ensure many more lifelong memories are made at the ballpark for decades to come.”
Rendering courtesy Hillsboro Hops.
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