Big League Utah, the group seeking to bring MLB to Salt Lake City, provided more information on their vision for an entertainment district at a proposed ballpark site while announcing new advisory boards and a charity designed to enhance the ballpark area.
Big League Utah has targeted a shovel-ready site for a new MLB ballpark at the 100-acre Rocky Mountain Power District on Salt Lake City’s west side that would also include an entertainment district as well as other development. Sitting between the Salt Lake City airport and downtown Salt Lake City, the ballpark site would be part of a changing area that’s already seeing some investment–and gentrification.
Indeed, attracting additional investment at the 100-acre Power District site is part of the financial plan–but doing so in a way that doesn’t totally displace existing residents and businesses. Despite the location out of downtown, this is not a remote site; Big League Utah sees the entertainment district and development as an urban development, served by light rail and an important new amenities for a city that may be mid-sized but offering plenty of interesting diversions and attractions for an educated populace. From the Deseret News:
The area west of downtown Salt Lake City has struggled to remain viable amid growing gentrification. Some residents in the area say new apartment developments are ruining the community and displacing families of color and family-owned businesses, while others see the residential projects as tackling the city’s housing shortage.
“I think the area right now is full of potential but lacking strategy. When you have potential but no strategy it leads to the kind of speculative development which is kind of what you see,” said Salt Lake City Councilmember Victoria Petro, who serves on the Big League Utah advisory board.
“It’s kind of this weird hybrid of like we could do so many good things but nothing is quite what we need it to be for it to be the thriving, robust boulevard entrance to the city that it should be.”
Any new MLB ballpark would share the marketplace with the Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A; Pacific Coast League), moving to the Daybreak development in South Jordan in 2025. A new MLB team would not displace the Bees, as Big League Utah officials point out: there are five MLB teams successfully affiliated with Triple-A teams within 45 miles of the ballpark (Minnesota, Seattle, Atlanta, Boston and Houston), so the model is proven.
MLB expansion, of course, is a crapshoot, and things are not nearly as settled as many outside the industry think.