The $120-million budget and public contribution to a new Lookouts ballpark was finalized by the team, the project developer, Chattanooga and Hamilton County officials, with the public money less than originally contemplated.
The new ballpark is the core of the first phase of the South Broad District costing $350 million, covering Class A office space, residential buildings and parkland. A new entity, the Chattanooga Sports Authority, will own the ballpark, but the Lookouts ownership already committed to $45 million in future maintenance and other operational costs as well as booking events beyond the MiLB season. The ballpark financial plan creates 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 ballpark; the Lookouts would also pay $1 million annually in rent. No general funds are involved.
The original price tag for the Southern League ballpark, part of a larger billion-dollar development plan, was $79.5 million. Rising labor and construction costs pushed that price tag to $120 million. In the end, the public cost is now lower than previously anticipated. The new facility is seen as more than just a baseball facility, capable of hosting concerts, weddings, conferences, comedy shows, local high school baseball games and numerous community events.
“We are thrilled to have come to an agreement that cements the Lookouts future in Chattanooga,” said Lookouts President Rich Mozingo via press release. “This deal ushers in a new era of Lookouts baseball and historic development on the Southside. We are grateful to our fans and our community for the overwhelming support we have received and cannot wait to get this project underway.”
“We are excited for what this project will mean for the Lookouts, South Chattanooga and the entire region,” said Lookouts Managing Owner Jason Freier via press release. “The ballpark will be a valuable community asset and the development it brings will generate hundreds of millions of tax dollars for schools and other community needs. We are thankful for the leadership shown by Mayor Kelly, Chairman Eversole and Chairwoman Dotley in supporting this project and helping to achieve a deal that will benefit all parties.”
The votes to approve the final deal will take place at City Council on February 6, 2024 and at the County Commission on February 7, 2024. The Lookouts expect to break ground on the project soon thereafter, with an opening likely in the middle of the 2025 MiN season.
Rendering courtesy Chattanooga Lookouts.
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