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New ballpark plan from San Antonio Missions expected soon

With hopes for a downtown sports district featuring new facilities for both the San Antonio Missions (Double-A; Texas League) and the San Antonio Spurs (NBA) seemingly dashed, Missions ownership is eying a new location for a ballpark.

Last time we reported on the future of the Missions, the team was looking at a plan to build a new ballpark at the Alamodome site in downtown San Antonio, as part of a larger sports development that would also include a new Spurs arena. But that plan apparently fell out of favor with city officials, leaving both teams to chart their futures separately.

The Missions are in desperate need of a replacement for Wolff Stadium, which doesn’t come close to meeting MiLB’s new facility specs. And with the clock ticking on a deadline to file plans with MiLB in 2024 on how the team will meet the new facility specs in 2025, the Missions are under a little stress to come up with a game plan.

One solution was to return to the Hemisfair site at the Institute of Texan Cultures. Not a new plan: the University of Texas at San Antonio was seeking a developer for that 13-acre site as far back as 2016, and at the time the Missions were rumored to be looking at the site.

Those potential plans, however, are said to be thwarted by the San Antonio Spurs in their quest for a new arena. Local officials see a new Spurs arena as being a better platform for development than a Double-A–though most likely Triple-A in the future–ballpark. That’s forcing the Missions to seek an alternative to the Hemisfair site. From the San Antonio Express-News:

According to sources familiar with the matter, a city official discouraged the Missions’ owners from pursuing the 13-acre property as a location for a new baseball stadium, most likely because City Hall is eyeing the site for a new home for the Spurs….

The team is expected to seek public financing for a new ballpark, which would require permits, construction, utilities, police and fire protection, possible zoning changes and numerous other land use issues. City Manager Erik Walsh and Mayor Ron Nirenberg have had “preliminary conversation with the Missions group, but they have not submitted a plan to the City,” Laura Mayes, a spokeswoman for the city, told the San Antonio Express-News via email. The Missions’ owners are expected to submit a plan to the city in a matter of days.

But it likely won’t include the Institute of Texan Cultures property as a potential location, even though it’s one of only a handful of sites in the city center that could accommodate such a project. Other downtown sites that have been discussed as possible locations for sports facilities include the parking lot south of the Alamodome, land near San Pedro Creek Culture Park, the former Lone Star Brewery complex and property along San Pedro Avenue where VIA Metropolitan Transit has its Metro Center and bus maintenance facility.

The Missions are owned by local developers Graham Weston and Randy Smith of Weston Urban, as well as Ryan Sanders Baseball.

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