Waco is not a large market–the city’s population is 139,594 as of 2021–but any talk of development and a new ballpark will surely attract some attention in professional circles. We know of one partner league that’s been involved in talks in the past, but now there’s talk of MiLB interest as well. There’s really only one MiLB league that fits the bill–the Double-A Texas League–but with a few existing teams possibly looking at relocation in coming years, it’s not a bad time for Waco to begin planning.
Chicago-based Hunden Partners is performing a study, based off a downtown master plan developed by Gensler. From the Waco Tribune:
The market study will build on a foundation laid out by global architecture firm Gensler’s master plan for downtown. The plan includes a baseball stadium near the former Indian Spring Middle School campus, razing the Waco Convention Center and building a new one nearby, a performing arts center and new amenities along the riverfront….
City Manager Bradley Ford said in an email the baseball stadium idea and team criteria will ultimately rely on the findings of the Hunden study and the master developer the city chooses for the project. Ford said he suspects city council will select a developer in the next few weeks.
Ford said a potential team would need to bring previous operation experience and ability, as well as a long-term financial commitment to construction, a long-term lease of the facility or both.
We’ve heard some serious baseball folks are very interested in a new downtown Waco ballpark, both on the development side and the baseball side.