SBD/April 8, 2014/Facilities

MiLB Ballpark Notes: Winston-Salem Approves New Financing For BB&T Ballpark

In Winston-Salem, John Hinton reports the City Council last night "unanimously approved a new financial deal" for BB&T Ballpark that "will not include any taxpayer money." The White Sox under the deal's provisions will pay $8M to "buy into" the Single-A Carolina League Winston-Salem Dash. The new money will "be used to pay off outstanding team loans as well as paying down" part of a short-term $15M construction loan that the team secured in '09. The team will use $2M to "reduce that debt" to $13M, and the city "will then pay off the short-term loan with new long-term financing." The team will pay the city $1.8M annually, with the amount "gradually increasing over 25 years" to pay off that $13M loan, plus $18M in loans provided earlier (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 4/8).

BUFF IT UP: Triple-A Int'l League Buffalo Bisons officials said that it is "time to make major stadium upgrades to create a 'next-generation ballpark.'" In Buffalo, Brian Meyer noted the team is working with Populous, and the proposed improvements are "likely to cost millions of dollars." Rich Baseball Operations President Jonathan Dandes said that it would "take about six months before the Bisons submit a formal plan for stadium improvements to city officials" (BUFFALO NEWS, 4/5).

OUTSIDE HELP: In Richmond, Graham Moomaw reports the City Council is in the process of "selecting a consultant to review the plan for a Shockoe Bottom baseball stadium." City Attorney Allen Jackson said that the council is "considering spending up to $50,000 on consulting, a limit chosen because anything higher would trigger a longer, in-depth procurement process." Officials said that the council under a request for quotations process would "gather at least three price quotes," and the truncated process "means the council must select the lowest responsible bidder without a more nuanced evaluation of bidders’ strengths" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 4/8).

KNIGHT GAME: In Charlotte, Mark Washburn wrote the Triple-A Int'l League Charlotte Knights' new BB&T Ballpark is "a small thing on a grand scale" and "offers entertainment inside and promise outside." About $250M of development, "including luxury apartments, is rising just beyond its ramparts, and more is expected." For anyone "who loves the game, the ballpark is a thing of intimate beauty." Washburn: "When the night lights go on, BB&T Ballpark will shine with a luminescence visible for miles. That’s the other view the stadium offers, and it is a spectacular thing -- a beacon signaling that, at long last, Charlotte’s back in the game" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/6).
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